Anyone who has had a bite of a flattened round patty or what we call the cutlet knows exactly how it ought to be – crispy and warm. For those who reminisce the time when India Coffee House had the best cutlets in town, worry not. There’s Panavila Bake House, which at first glance, save for a catchy signage, looks like your average bakery with the regular assortment of puffs, rolls, vada and the like.
But since its opening in September last year, the small store has managed to win hearts for its cutlets and cakes. Those who frequent the store ought to know by now that they’d have to be in luck to see anything but crumbs left on the racks by tea time. That being the speed at which they disappear.
Run by friends Williams J.C. and Ganesh Kumar K.C. the cutlets were initially procured from elsewhere but they were unimpressive. Williams’s wife, Sindhu, decided to fill in with her recipe and they were sold out in no time. The chicken and vegetable cutlets, priced at Rs. 18 and Rs. 12 a piece, are unfailingly crunchy and warm every time. This is so because Sindhu lives close by, allowing her a window to time to fry fresh, small batches. “The mix is not stored away in a freezer and fried when there is a demand. It is made from scratch and brought over a few times every day,” she says.
The bakery’s red velvet cake is another item which, thanks to Williams’s niece Hema Edwin, an amateur baker, has ecstatic customer reviews. She began sales at the bakery with Christmas cakes, following her mother-in-law’s recipe. When Hema gave into pressure from a friend to try baking a batch red velvet cakes, demand grew to the point where orders rose to at least 13 kg a day.
“The option of cake slices came later. I was not baking more than 4 kg a day at the time. But it was a sight where groups of people were buying half-kilo boxes and digging into them at the bakery itself. It was both heart-warming and surprising at the same time.”
The dense and rich texture of Hema’s red velvet cake was bringing in more curious buyers and she upped her supply to 10 kg a day. An architect by profession, Hema learnt to bake from her mother-in-law Prasanna Peter and soon started experimenting with recipes.
Hema knows what sets her recipe apart. “I use only cream cheese for topping the Red Velvet cakes. I have had customers advising me to use cheaper options like butter cream or whipping cream to keep my costs low but I refuse to compromise. The cream cheese on Red Velvet combination is to die for. I wouldn’t want my customers to have it any other way,” she says. A slice is priced at Rs. 60. Increased demand led to making different quantities available to customers.
A family of four need only buy our economy pack of 300gm available for Rs.195 which will give them six slices. A kilo of the same is priced at Rs. 700.
Adding more flavours
Hema now bakes with help from her mother, Selma, and has since introduced more flavours – chocolate cheese, white chocolate truffle – demand for which has taken Hema by surprise, coffee cashew, Death By Chocolate and another family addition, Dates Delight.
The cakes are made available for sale only after they have been tasted and approved by Hema’s family. She assures that the cakes are free of preservatives and enhancers. Hema admits her cake decorations could do with some improvement, adding that it is her model-making classes in architecture that have held her in good stead so far.
The bakery also has a fresh juice counter and limited seating for those popping in for a quick bite. Kesari and carrot halwa, also made in-house, are the other popular buys. Homemade fish, chicken and prawn pickles have also been added to the range recently. But for those who love their cutlet the way it used to be, if you are passing by Panavila Bake House, a perfect bite of nostalgia awaits every single time.
~Content & Images Courtesy: “The Hindu”