Artisanal bakery French Toast continues to disrupt Kochi's food and beverage industry
Flour, water, and salt. That’s all it takes to create bread that’s crispy-on-the-outside and supple-on-the-inside. It goes without saying that this process requires an expert baker—one who has an in-depth understanding of mother dough, wild yeast, the Glycemic Index, etc. Thankfully, Kochi-based French Toast artisanal bakery, has Nayaz Lamik—sourdough baker extraordinaire.
“It’s the ancient way of baking bread,” explains restaurateur Ayaz Salim, adding, “From start-to-finish, the process behind preparing a loaf of sourdough bread takes almost 24 hours. Whereas, commercial bread takes barely three hours to go from flour to packaged product.”
Over a cup of filter coffee brewed with Sidapur-roasted whole bean Arabica and a perfectly runny French omelette prepared with organic, free-range eggs sourced from Happy Hens Farm, we talk about their sprawling new outlet in Kacheripady. Currently, their focus is on responsibly-sourced ingredients and enhanced artisanal baked treats. “Yes, it’s a bakery-kitchen-studio. But, it’s also slowly morphing into a community centre of sorts,” Ayaz declares.
After hearing about their pet-friendly dining space, composting programme, veggie garden, Wednesday night movie screenings, association with a cooking workshop for children, we decided to drop by the 75 cent space on Chittoor Road for lunch.
Against the grain
The pristine setting and cushy décor of the diner provides much-needed respite from the unrelenting humid weather, while we quickly settle down to eat. Like most satisfying dining experiences, this one begins with a salad. Comprising of brown rice (cooked al dente—which refers to the firmness of the rice when bitten into), tossed with broccoli sprigs, mint leaves, oven-dried tomatoes, and cashews. The delightful serving comes covered in parmesan cheese shavings, lime juice and extra virgin olive oil.
Next, we try the chef’s choice of savoury french toast which comes alongside thin slices of beef salami, hints of sweet chilly jam, and gouda cheese. These in themselves make for a reasonably appetising meal, however, what nudges this from ‘Mmmm’ to ‘Oh wow!’ territory is that it comes doused in hollandaise, mustard seed sauce, and chopped spring onion. Unsurprisingly, despite being drowned in this pungent gravy, the sourdough bread retains its character—a testament to Nayaz’s baking prowess.
“We’re working on two fronts,” explains Ayaz, handing me a slice of their vanilla-speckled strawberry mascarpone. “One is our long-term goal to responsibly-source local ingredients as much as possible and we’re already working on that, having set up an eight-acre farm in Munnar. Then, there’s our attempt at using older, forgotten methods of cooking—which is what we have begun with sourdough bread.”
From 9 am to 10 pm.