Who moved my choux? Tukaway Café in Chennai serves French pastry and inspired sourdough loaves
True to its name, this charming spot is quite literally ‘tucked away’ with signage that is easy to miss behind a veil of trees in the residential neighbourhood of Thirumurthy Nagar, Nungambakkam
Turmeric sourdough toast with a generous dollop of butter is a simple but skilled plate to turn around. And the baking clan at recently opened Tukaway Café deliver on counts of bright (yellow we mean), spice and oh so nice. Pair with a towering glass of Hot Chocolate, whipped up thick, with pure Belgian Callebaut on a rainy afternoon — and we are having one of those postcard-perfect moments. And to think we almost drove right past it! True to its name, this charming spot is quite literally ‘tucked away’ with signage that is easy to miss behind a veil of trees in the residential neighbourhood of Thirumurthy Nagar, Nungambakkam.
All in the name
We note the elegant Tamil lettering for ‘tuck’ at the entrance; fun fact, this is also the name of their starter which goes into all the breads. This, we find out from a soft-spoken Shruthi Sivabalan, the pastry chef and owner who dreams up fiery flavours like their Mango Chilli macaroon. “We’ve been working on this space for the past eight months,” says the 27-year-old who trained at Le Cordon Bleu Melbourne and also owns a separate home baker operation that goes by the name Cakeoholic Chennai. At her first brick and mortar space, the kitchen we discover, is considerably larger than the dining space which can accommodate about 10 people. This is a good sign, our eating companion points out: you know flavour is a priority right from the get-go. And it is...
The next hour is an ambrosial spree of sweet and savoury. First comes a choux pastry, twice the size of a tennis ball. It’s filled with a vanilla ganache and a stone-ground hazelnut paste, crisp and light on the outside, creamy and indulgent on the inside. We shift gears with a garlicky Korean Cream Cheese Bun next, but it doesn’t quite hit that sweet spot for us so we move on to something that almost guarantees it: a chocolate chip cookie! Crunchy at the edges and fudgey in the centre — we are smitten. That is, until we lay our eyes on a Coconut sponge cupcake with a swirl of buttercream on top; later we discover a jammy surprise of mango compote in the middle. Swipe right: this might be love.
At Brakathambal Street, Nungambakkam. INR 80 to 250.
Look out for a mini range of sandwiches which were introduced just a few days ago. We have our eye on the Urulai Roast and Pesto Chilli Cheese. Cool off with a scoop of their Hazelnut ice cream (there are three flavours on rotation) or sip on a warm brew of Cappuccino made with coffee beans sourced from Coorg. Also, not to miss is their croissant with a crunch straight out of an ASMR video!