Science has shown the world time and again just how certain sounds can remedy or even comfort the human mind, right from the sound of rain to the joyous cheering of dolphins. But people are as different as science suggests so if it were up to us, we’d say there’s nothing more therapeutic than the sound derived from slicing through the crust of warm freshly baked bread, even as we watch each grain playfully fall to the wayside. We’ve all experienced childhood memories of walking past Khan uncle’s bakery witnessing freshly baked buns being lined up in wooden racks or visiting high-end bakeries with our mothers, if we were lucky enough, to stock up on flaky, golden-brown chicken pies and packets upon packets of cheese straws. Yet even with all those delicious options, there was one item that always made the cut—a loaf of healthy, freshly baked bread. Then Wibbs and Brittania and other bread giants came along, monopolized the industry and made sure our local breadwallahs dropped their brands off door to door, effectively ruining our childhood nostalgia forever. Luckily for us though, things always come full circle.
As reports of alarmingly high rates of toxins in commercial bread becomes widespread across the country, more and more people are looking for healthier alternatives. Bakers too have been encouraging customers to switch to these healthier options by selling them at nominal prices or collaborating with restaurants to showcase their breads with meals. At our end, we also duly encourage and admire the craftsmanship involved in creating heavenly breads and wanted our readers to experience that too so we decided to step in and compile a list of our favourites across the city. Bread is a bit of an anomaly in the food world because the healthier and fresher it is, the more delicious it is too so get ‘bready’ for the very best loaves in the city. From some seriously good sourdough to sundried tomato and basil flavoured starch, we’re willing to bet you’ll forgive us for than terrible pun once you’ve ordered up a few.
[Note to readers: All bakeries have been presented in alphabetical order, and in no particular order of preference.]
I. American Express Bakery, Bandra West
‘’I’m gonna make you bread that you can’t refuse’’
We couldn’t help but make a godfather reference. Run by the Carvalho family for nearly 100 years, this bakery got its name due to their speedy and efficient service, which exists even today. Decorated with posters from the 1930s, antique wooden chairs teeming with rich recipes passed down by generations, time seems to have come to a standstill at this historic bakery. Popularly known for their cream rolls and Quiche Lorraine, this place is also especially popular with Bandra locals for their freshly baked breads and also follow the system of ‘Breads of the day.’ That means you have to know their schedule inside out to know your options on any given day.
What you’re getting: Sundried tomato and Basil bread (Available on Wednesdays and Saturdays), Rye bread (Wednesdays)
Cost: Both of these delights cost @ Rs. 45 only. Hop by on a Wednesday morning and you can score both.
II. Bonne Bakery, Oshiwara-Andheri
‘’We’ll always have Paris’’
We certainly will, thanks to Chef Neha Mahendra who bakes like a magician dispensing happiness to all her Mumbai residents. Popular for bringing to us breads from around the world, she specializes in all types of artisanal breads. She has a strict policy of no additives to any of her products and makes most of her specialty breads on an order basis.
What you’re getting: Baguettes, Ciabatta and herbed breadsticks. Her Walnut and Blue cheese Bread also comes highly recommended by the baker itself so you’d do well to give it a chance. (On order only)
Cost: The classic Baguette and Ciabatta @ Rs. 75 and the Walnut and Blue cheese bread @ Rs.120
III. City Bakery, Worli naka
‘On your mark, get set, go!’
If you want to grab a hold of their freshly baked goodies, you may want to compromise on some sleep and go that extra mile because 5am onwards there is a constant influx of hungry customers waiting to gorge on their warm treats. Popular for almost every product due to a remarkable consistency in quality and a delight for your pocket, this place is a must visit.
What you’re getting: The simple Brun with butter, which has a crust that’s hard to beat.
Cost: This beauty comes in 3 sizes.The Small @ Rs. 3,The Jumbo @ Rs. 7,The Shambo @ Rs.12
IV. Danz Foods
‘Sit back, relax and enjoy your loaf!’
Healthy eating is pretty much the mantra for this online bread haven .This website sells not just bread but other interesting essentials for nutritious living with zero compromise on taste. Plus all you need is their very user-friendly android or iOS application and a list ready in your mind. They can also be contacted via telephone.
What you’re getting: The multigrain loaf keeps it simple and satisfying. Grab your loaf now by visiting their site.
Cost: 300 grams @ Rs. 77
V. EnglishVinglish, Juhu
“The best of both worlds”
Plush could be their middle name. Owned by Chef Ranveer Brar, this fusion café makes some truly extraordinary desserts and some equally interesting breads too. Their prices are a little exorbitant but their quality is superior as is their creative outlook so it’s worth a visit and a bite or two every now and then.
What you’re getting: Coriander, corn and flax seeds bread
Cost: This crunchy healthy joy giver is sold for Rs. 110 by the piece
VI. Le Pain Quotidien
‘Baked with love’
Home sick on any day? Make a visit to this beautiful café and you’ll forget all your worries. Adorned with long wooden communal tables and the melody of conversation, this cafe makes you relive a fun family feast where you will be bound to make new connections. Quite popular for their elaborate breakfast specials, they offer a range of freshly baked bread made in their stone-lined hearths. You won’t realize how time flies at this lovely place.
What you’re getting: Rye Bread,The Baguette
Cost:The Rye bread is available @ Rs.225++ and the The Baguette @Rs. 95++
VII. Suzette, Bandra
‘‘Frankly my dear, I don’t give a jam’’
Started by three French professionals turned Chefs; Suzette is a modern French café & crêperie chain in Mumbai and something of a culinary hotspot for all fans of authentic French crepes, sandwiches and the best hot chocolate in town.
This is technically not categorized as bread, but we couldn’t exclude it from the list. Jerome, the owner of Suzette tells the writer of the blog ‘Finely Chopped’ that they bake only 10 –12 croissants on weekdays and about 25 on weekends, which means they run out quite soon but they’re absolutely worth the try because nobody in the city does croissants as properly as they do.
What you’re getting: Butter croissants with jam
Cost: These soft, mouthwatering, flaky croissants are priced @ Rs. 110 a piece
VIII. The Bombay Baking Company,Juhu
The BBC that will keep you glued!
Located in the very prestigious J.W.Marriot, this hidden gem is popular for their unique range of homemade bread, sandwiches, cakes, pastries, and a range of exotic options from around the globe.Their key attraction of course would be the live sandwich station which is quite exciting for customers to witness.
What you’re getting: The Classic Ciabatta.BBC takes authenticity very seriously. They make this masterpiece completely with a culture and take close to 13 hours to process the bread. Their blueberry muffins(@Rs 125) are also a must try and so are their bagels. Served with smoked salmon (@Rs 857) this dish is a clear winner and has brought BBC to a prominent position on the food map.
Cost:Grab this beauty @ Rs 400 a piece
IX. Theobroma, Colaba
For the love of god!
Quite aptly named Theobroma also known as ‘Food of the gods” this café and dessert bar has never failed to disappoint .The brand name is now almost synonymous with their world class melt-in-the-mouth brownies and desserts. Alongside that, they also personally bake various breads and a few have caught our attention instantly for their creative flavor combinations.
What you’re getting: The one that we never let get away—the rather distinct Kokum Baguette. What turns out to look like olives at the first glance are actually tiny chunks of Kokum (mangosteen) Known for its tarty nature, this bread makes your taste buds dance each time you bite into it.
Cost: Heaven on your plate @ Rs. 135 per loaf
X. The Baker’s Dozen, Wadala
Cheaper by the dozen?
Aditi Handa, founder of The Baker’s Dozen started this venture with only one motive. To feed people better quality bread, free of chemicals. She has introduced various artisanal breads to the city each with a story of its own. She strongly recommends people to order a day in advance so they can receive their fresh loaf the next day before noon.
What you’re getting: Pain au Levain, which is sour dough bread speckled with walnuts and bursts of raisins.
Cost: Each loaf of this mighty bread comes @ Rs.120
XI. Yazdani Bakery, Fort
Chai, Biskut aur bun
Creaking wooden chairs, print advertisements from the 70s, checkered table cloths, and a temperamental, old man with a fringe of black-and-grey hair sitting below a board that says please tender exact change. This pretty much describes almost every Irani café in the city. An iconic part of Mumbai and its culinary history, these spaces have sadly been diminishing but some are holding on tight to the space they’ve carved for themselves. Once such beauty is the Yazdani Bakery in Fort. City-famous for their mawa cake this bakery serves a range of lip-smacking items such as khari,plum cake, the ordinary golden spongecake, and apple pie to name a few.
What you’re getting: But since you’re here for bread, it’s the freshly made bun maska all the way. Team this with a glass of chai, a companion to have a great conversation with and some old music in the background, and you have yourself the perfect treat.
Cost: This beautiful experience comes @ the price of Rs. 35 only
XII. Café Zoe, Lower Parel
“Breakfast at Zoe’s”
This quaint café is particularly famous for their all day breakfast special. Don’t fret about dining solo because their wide variety of books will keep you good company too. We are particularly big fans of their sourdough bread .The only downside to this is that it only comes with your meal only and isn’t sold separately yet so make sure you visit this side of the city to gorge on the rustic delight and satisfy all your bready cravings.
XIII. Magazine Street, Byculla
‘‘I’m a genie in a bottle, baby’’
The brainchild of Gauri Devidayal, Jay Yousuf and Chef Alex Sanchez of The Table fame, this venture is no ordinary restaurant but serves as an experimental kitchen for various chefs to collaborate and even serves as a bakery for part of the time. They intend to tailor-make products for customers and it’s something they’ve gotten very good at if word on the grapevine is to be believed.
What you’re getting: The Chefs at Magazine Street will make almost anything you wish for. Hence, the Aguilera reference at the start.