New in town: Brod Bakery on ECR, Chennai sells out over 100 loaves of sourdough and more every weekend!
With a largely Scandinavian menu, this café is a hub for expats
In the midst of bustling traffic on the ECR, sits Brod Bakery. With minimalist interiors and sunshine streaming in, it looks and feels like a porthole to Europe. Expats seem to step in by the dozen, dropping
in for a quick pick-up of chef and owner Subika Ganesan’s popular sourdough loaf. Everyone seems to know everyone. Which is ironic, given that there is only one table, that can only accommodate a party of six. And customers here actually help out in the beautiful open kitchen — in fact, one Swedish 20-something is serving us French press coffee, while a friend of his, has gone to find us some salt to season our eggs. Inside this café, time seems to slow down, waiters don’t exist and everyone knows your name.
Over a simple but satisfying breakfast of ham and cheese, butter on sourdough toast and runny yolks, we find out the story behind this homebaker (you might remember her brownies from Biscous Gourmet) who recently opened her dream café. Reflecting her love for a well-baked loaf of bread, it is fitting that ‘brod’ translates to bread in Danish. “My partner is from Denmark,” she explains the connection, as we spot a tiny Danish flag on our table. The 30-year-old reveals, “We met at Kovalam while surfing, our first venture was actually a stall with pork buns (which people are still raving about) at the Covelong Point Surf Festival, both in 2018 and 2019.”
So, expect pork buns on the menu soon, Subika promises — as we scan her Scandinavian-inspired menu. This is basically a blackboard with 12 items penned in chalk that stands tall at the entrance. We spot seeded loaves, baguettes and chocolate chip cookies. We opt for a delicately flavoured Cinnamon Gifler and warm Chocolate Babka that you can pull apart to reveal layer upon layer of decadent chocolate swirl. “We use only Belgian Callebaut chocolate,” she tells us. This baker (with hospitality stints in Thailand and Bengaluru) has a low tolerance for poor quality ingredients, and pooh-poohs all the South Indian croissants she has encountered so far. “Rye is difficult to source, so I am looking for alternatives,” she reveals, when we ask why croissants aren’t on her own menu yet. Meanwhile, the ham, we discover is brought in from Spain and the Gouda, from Holland.
By this point, it’s close to noon and we look behind us to find that her wooden shelf of baked goodies is almost completely sold out.
“We do about a hundred loaves on weekends alone,” Subika tells us. This is impressive, considering at the moment, she’s flying solo, unless you count the seven ovens built in, which are warmed up and ready to rock ’n’ roll, as early as 4 am.
We’re coming back for:
• Cardamom buns
• Tosca cake
• Ham and cheese sandwich in Ciabetta or baguette!
Sourdough loaf INR 250. Other buns & loaves INR 150 to INR 250. Breakfast INR 500. 8 am to 6 pm. Closed on Sunday & Monday.