This Kilpauk cafe serves Mexican coffee buns, and we can't stop saying yum!
Now you don’t have to wait for Papparoti to open shop to taste the world famous Mexican coffee bun. Jignesh Pujara, a city-based restaurateur, promises the same light-as-air consistency with a buttery centre as the focal point of his new café-style menu at Antari.
Taking advantage of the anticipation that comes with the opening of an international food chain, Jignesh has paced his launch in Kilpauk today, almost a month ahead of Papparoti, which is expected to kick off operations at Palladium mall in Velachery at the end of April.
“I fell in love with the Mexican bun when I tasted one in Dubai a year ago,” recalls the steel merchant-turned-restaurateur who has fast made a name for himself in the industry by bringing a franchise of Menchies to Chennai (now closed) back in 2014, with his vegan ice cream at 196 Degrees Below and the Soul Garden Bistro.
Incidentally, Antari, which opens today functions out of the same space as the second outlet of Soul Garden Bistro in Kilpauk (the first is in Alwarpet) which opened four months ago. The owner invites us to have a look behind-the-scenes to watch our bun being prepared. “It takes about 10 minutes,” he gives us a heads up, as a member of his patisserie team pipes on swirls of coffee icing that goes on to form the crunchy crust on top. Before this is done, the dough is kneaded around a cube of solid butter that when served — makes for a goey, golden centre.
To ensure the same bakery fresh experience every time, nothing is pre-baked, we are assured. As we dig in, using a fork and knife at first, and then casting cutlery aside for unabashed finger licking later — we begin to understand what all the hype is about. Upping the ante on what is shortly to be available in the market, the 40-year-old shares that further innovation is in order, specifically to do with the crust. “Currently, we have two options for flavoured crusts — coffee and cinnamon,” he says. But after a little more testing, Jignesh hints at flavours like “matcha and charcoal-infused crusts” in the weeks to come.
The buns can be dressed up further with a list of nine toppings like Caramel and Crunchy Biscuit or Condensed Milk and Pistachio, and going by our preview tasting, are best enjoyed with a brew of your choice. These include a selection of Cutting Chais, and green teas, as well warm comfort in the form of a Milo or even Kesar Badam Milk. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you could opt for the Sunshine Turmeric Latte — inspired by the rage that our humble spice has become abroad, working its way on to Starbucks menus to homemade concoctions of what the West has termed ‘golden milk’.
Pepper in our chocolate
We instead go for a classic Cappucino, followed by a sampling of deep-fried churros that as expected, are downright addictive. What we don’t see coming is that the Mexican chocolate sauce accompaniment is made with Indian origin cacao from plantations in Coorg along with not one, but four types of pepper! Fortunately, this is fairly mild and not in the least a shock for the Indian palate. “To heighten the flavours and aroma, we keep the pepper (pink, white, black and green) coarsely ground and so is the cacao, before it’s all melted into a silky sauce,” says chocolatier Nitin Chordia who has been roped in, especially for the chocolate offerings on the menu. We’re saving the much talked about Mexican Hot Chocolate for our next visit.
A single Mexican Coffee Bun is priced at Rs 119, while a combo of bun and a hot beverage is
priced at Rs 249.