Pondicherry's famous Bread & Chocolate comes to Chennai
Just a bite into the hot-pressed Mad About Mustard sandwich and we are transported to Bread & Chocolate, the quaint five-year-old bakery in Puducherry. However, we didn’t have to drive across to the French quarters for a go at that signature dish. Instead, thanks to the Pricol Gourmet team — now we have the famous bakery right in the heart of Chennai — in Teynampet, where previously we had the Bharat Bistro. High ceilings, flooded with natural light, the roomy 80-seater space has seamlessly embraced the bakery and café vibe, with a kitschy outdoorsy space at the back.
Knead of the hour
Meanwhile, the sandwich was toasted to crunchy perfection with smears of pure ghee, and the flavour of the filling stayed true to the simple but delectable combination of sweet, pickled onions, molten cheddar cheese and the fresh homemade mustard sauce. The mustard is ground in a grinder (the one we use for idli batter otherwise) for hours to get the right texture for the sauce, we were told. With fillets of roasted pumpkin and crisp lettuce for sides, Auroville-based Chef Daniel Trulson, the man behind the brand, promises that his menu will balance it all. “We hope to cater to a wide range of preferences, including vegan, low carb and indulgent. There are decadent dishes with chocolate and lighter, healthier options like the Spinach Shakshuka.” The latter is a delicately seasoned dish where the sautéed spinach feels like the homely keerai. The eggs are perfectly poached and accompanied with a buttered sourdough slice that has a crackling crust and a gorgeously airy, bubbled centre. Loyalists can find the Summer Time Tartine and their Tropical Smoothie Bowl among other favourites from the Pondy menu that is primarily vegetarian with an exception to eggs.
Full of beans!
We sip on a tall, dark and iced, barrelaged cold brew and delight in the distinct aftertaste that we happily imagine to be the flavour of the whiskey vat that the beans sat in. “I want to take the beautiful indigenous flavours and m a r r y t h e m t o European dishes to savour the best of both the worlds,” says the chef, who loves adventure and has experimented with some fusion offerings with the artisnal menu here. The palak-paneer quiche is surprisingly easy on the palate — but it is the flaky, crispy pastry that has us sighing with contentment. The savoury curry-leaf stuffed sourdough bread and the kulfi-stuffed croissant are other success stories from this endeavour.
“One can play with recipes and interpretations of dishes — but you cannot compromise on quality of ingredients. High quality ingredients are half the secret of a goodtasting dish,” says the chef, who ensures that his kitchen has no refined oil, no fryer and the coconut milk is made fresh everyday. The hydroponic lettuce is from Gourmet Gardens and organic eggs from Happy Hens, we learn. From the all-day breakfast we pick the quinoa chia pudding, that has the nutty flavour of roasted sesame along with other seeds and fruit topping. On a mindful day we could have called that bowl of goodness our dessert — however, we chose indulgence and ended with a chocolate tart that is timid in sweetness and wins us over with hints of coffee and the exquisitely slowroasted walnut garnish.
Meal for two at INR 600.
Pic credit: White Plate Stories
On the brand wagon
■ Daniel Trulson’s tryst with Mason & Co, the artisanal chocolate brand, began way back in the beginning when Bread & Chocolate was founded in 2013. While we relished the bean-to-bar organic chocolate in the croissant and Bon Bon, the chennai outlet also boasts exclusive availability of the entire range of products.
■ The Mumbai-based Subko Coffee Roasters — that has a ‘Bloom’ counter here — offers irresistible pourovers and currently has three different roasted beans to pick from.