Review: Relish sinful desserts and sourdough pizzas at The Willow Bake Shop in Banjara Hills
Opera made of berries, themed dinners (we’re talking Harry Potter and Game of Thrones) and Pinterest-worthy corners — add The Willow Bake Shop to your must-try list of dessert parlours already! Located in the backstreets of Road no 3, this quaint little café is the latest outlet in the city and has become quite the crowd-puller within a few weeks of its opening.
As we walk through the pretty glass doors with fossil grey frames, we spot dragonfly handles and paintings of various animals and birds. The aesthetically pleasing flower pot arrangements and wall art are some of the other highlights that add to the ambience, which evoke a sense of an urban oasis in the middle of the bustling Banjara Hills road. We’re ushered in by owners and bakers Sujit Seshadri and Chaitali Pednekar. “The interiors were decided by the both of us and our third partner, Md Imad,” says Chaitali, who studied baking with Sujith at Lavonne Academy, Bengaluru.
The two-storey bakeshop has an outdoor section with a colourful painting of a ‘flying frog’ and a branch of a tree with miniature animals hanging from it. There’s also a quaint bookshelf stacked with classics and fan fiction. The seating is comfortable with bar stools on one end and café-style tables covering the rest of the space for about 40 patrons.
A piece of my tart
After a brief tour of the pretty place, we settle down right beside the counter with a view of the desserts on display. We also spot some croissants, buns and cookies in glass jars. A board beside that reads — ask for vegan and gluten-free cakes. We also learn that the menu for desserts changes often with a couple of classics available all the time. “This bakeshop is our pet project and we want to give it our best. It’s about baking delicious cakes and watching people enjoy eating them. So we decided to keep the menu seasonal and fresh. If I see anything interesting in a supermarket, I pick it up and we try something new with it. That’s also how the Jackfruit Tart was made,” shares Chaitali, as we’re served a bright yellow tart. Served with toppings of jackfruit discs and cream, the tart is subtly sweet without the flavour of the fruit being altered. Complimenting the rest of the décor that is based on nature — with green-painted walls, we learn that the cutlery is eco-friendly too. “They have been specially done by Akila Chungi from cultural space Kalaachakra, Hyderabad. We serve in ceramic plates and glasses, and bottles made through pottery,” says Chaitali.
Meanwhile, Farm Fresh Veggies Pizza is served to us. Made in-house from scratch, the six-inch sourdough pizza has a thin crust with a generous amount of olive oil, cheese and veggies. The brief menu also has ‘soup of the day’ (served with homebaked bread, five pizzas (including meat servings) and an array of drinks — coffee, tea and shakes. The dessert tasting session didn’t end with the tart, of course. We tried their signature Berry Opera — a fruity take on the classic French cake. Although the berry flavours can get slightly overpowering, the opera is delicious, thanks to the soft texture and layers of buttercream. If you have a sweet tooth, don’t miss out on this!
What takes us by surprise was the Yuzu Merveilleux. Made from the Japanese citrus fruit, this tangy dessert is in the shape of a small ball and has a cloudy consistency that gives it a melt-in-the-mouth quality. We give the soup and drinks a skip, and stick to the sinful desserts — what’s better than a meal full of sweet indulgence?
Price for two: Rs.600.
Pics: Sathya Keerthi.