Bandra's bakery culture and why we absolutely love it!

In today's fast-paced world, we often forget the little things in life that bring us joy. These things take us to a time when life was simpler. One such thing is the bakery culture of Mumbai's Bandra area.

 

Ever since baked goodies became easier to obtain online or at local stores, the number of people going out of the way to get food from a local bakery drastically went down. While this is the case in most parts of Mumbai, Bandraites stuck to their age-old traditions of going to bakeries. A warm baked treat is soul satisfying and you wouldn't know what the feeling is until you've had a warm, aromatic Mawa cake straight out of an oven at one of these bakeries. While the number of bakeries in Bandra has gone down, there are still a few that have been serving the people of Bandra for decades.

As a kid who has grown up in the suburbs of Mumbai, I had been a regular at some of these bakeries as a kid. I was always excited to go to Bandra because my parents often stopped at places where we could have pastries, chicken puffs and rolls. But as I grew up, I had almost stopped visiting bakeries and Bandra. Once in a blue moon, I would end up at Hearsch bakery with my friends to eat their famous chicken burgers but that's about it.

Times have changed for these bakeries. there was a time when these bakeries would be fully packed with people waiting in line to get a cream puff or some warm cookies. But times have changed and so has the demographic of people who come to these bakeries. We recently decided to go on a nostalgia trip and visit some of these Bandra bakeries. 

We visited the Nation Bakery which is known for its lip-smacking sandwiches, A1 bakery where you get some of softest Pav and Dcosta Bakery where Bandra locals line up for their speciality Christmas cakes. We noticed that most of the crown that came to these bakeries were seniors and people around the age of 35. Any youngsters who would come to these bakeries would pick up some of the fast food options that the place offered, mostly rolls and puffs. The seniors, however, took their time at the bakery conversing with the attendants about bread, cakes and cookies. 

These bakeries really come alive during Christmas and almost completely change the items they display at their storefront. Plum Cakes, Bibinca, Rose cookies and marzipans make it to the top shelves of the display. And locals are loyal to their bakeries. Christian families are very particular about their plum cake and once they are hooked on to a brand, they stick to it! I have moved further north into the suburbs of Bombay and Venus bakery in Malad has become my go-to destination for all my Christmas snacks. 

While we were at the bakery, we noticed how some regulars had formed a bond with the shops attendant and engaged in friendly banter about vegetable prices and discounts on cakes. While we stood there looking at people come and go, we felt like people seriously need to take the time to enjoy the little things in life. Since I work around Bandra, I am going to try and visit one of these bakeries at least once a month, just to remember the good old days and all the memories I associate with fresh bakes.

WRITTEN BY  - Atharva lobo atharvalobo@gmail.com

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