I always wanted to write about this place, a bakery, I visited in Mumbai and it has taken me over an year to do the needful. The address of this bakery is as below - Paris Bakery, 278, Dr.C.H. Street, Our Lady of Dolours Church Lane, Dhobi Talao, Mumbai - 400 002. Phone 2208 6619, 6423 3678 (Time: 9 am to 8 pm with lunch break from 2 to 5 pm, Mon - Sat). I visited this bakery in June 2011 and I must admit, though it is a small outlet with no facilities to sit and dine, the shopkeeper exhibited some of the top notch marketing strategies and impressed me.
The shopkeeper at the bakery had a smiling face, was willing to answer our questions with just the right details, there were no curt replies like Indane/Bharat Gas agencies and no over mollycoddling like McDonalds and Pizza Hut, some examples that starkly hit my head. Paris bakery is famous for its Butter Khari (many layers of maida, thin and wafery, baked to precision, basically a mini puff sans filling) and when I browsed about Mumbai before my visit, I learnt people traveled far and wide to fetch a stock of their kharis.
At the shop, my husband and I would casually ask the shop keeper, pointing to a bottle of bread sticks - What is this? He would reply - Garlic Sticks, draw few of them out and make us taste them. He would then show more varieties of these garlic sticks, the ones that use less butter, ones with a lavish dose of butter, ones that go well with tea, ones prepared with a liberal dose of cheese. He would not only stop at that but ensure we tasted a small sample of each variety. We were little embarrassed by this shower of affection and decided not to ask any more questions in the fear we would finish quite a substantial portion of his shop in the name of tasting. But he would not relent.
If we quizzed mutely over the biscuits in trays, he would politely point out the facts behind them all, again provide a small sample of each to taste. This treatment was not only meted out to us given that he figured we came from outside Mumbai but to every customer who visited his shop, regular or irregular or a first timer. There were superbly delicious shrewsberry biscuits, buttery and divine short bread biscuits, nutty and sugary kaju macroons, jam biscuits and fan biscuits.
We were lucky for two reasons -
1) We visited the shop before they closed for lunch. We went to this bakery on our last day of Mumbai visit to take back some goodies to Bangalore. We would have missed out some excellent tasting baked goodies and such refreshing hospitality had we hit the place a little late in the afternoon.
2) We reached the bakery at 1 pm and were planning to break for lunch thereafter, but our meal plan was almost taken care of by the shower of affection from the shop keeper.
We left the shop with a sizable purchase - 3 packets of garlic sticks, 2 packets of cheese sticks, 1 each of shrewsberry and short Bread biscuits, 3 of kaju macroons. The supreme friendliness of the shopkeeper and his excellent marketing strategies of answering our questions patiently, providing us with required information of his bakery's products and more than enough goodies to taste and make a decision, bowled us over completely. Prima facie, it may appear the shop keeper will turn a pauper if he exhausted his supplies in name of providing the right to taste to his customer. But the warmth in his business dealings and the fine quality and taste of his products will sure win anyone's heart. None in my opinion will leave the shop without his/her share of bounty. A customer from Thane, alongside us, was in tears when he came to know that the shop exhausted its morning stock of kharis. He promised to return at 5 pm and get fresh evening stock before he headed back home that day.
Other products that Paris bakery offers are - butter batasha, cheese batasha, cheese papri, nankhatai, mawa cake, fruit cake, sponge cake, buns, milk toast, melba toast, garlic toast and soya toast. I will always pay a visit to this bakery every time I am in Mumbai.
Some more information:
We stayed in Goregaon (West) and traveled by the Western Line of Mumbai sub urban railway. We got down at Marine Lines station and from here any one can guide you to Paris Bakery or Lady of Dolours church.
Paris Bakery is barely 10 minutes walk from the station. On the way to Paris bakery, there is a likelihood that you hit the Parsi Dairy branch in Dhobi Talao. Do not miss out the Malai Khaja and Mawa Khaja sweets here, they are truly out of the world. On all days of our stay in Mumbai, we commuted by the Mumbai western line trains which serve innumerable commuters at an unparalleled frequency. As a tourist, if you resort to road travel, then you will only kill time and all your energy; hissing and sighing in traffic.
Get down at Mahalakshmi station and take a taxi if you wish to visit the Mahalakshmi temple and Haji Ali dargah.
Get down at Charni Road station if you wish to spend the evening at Girgaum Chowpathy. This beach is a well-kept short strip with many food stalls; definitely much better than heavily polluted, plastic stricken and congested Juhu beach.
Get down at Marine Lines station if you wish to spend time at Marine Drive, catch a view of the Queens' necklace by sunset time, take a stroll by the Arabian sea on wide and well laid out pavements.
Get down at Churchgate (terminus of western line trains) to take a tour of all buildings and monuments of British colonial times located in South Mumbai - the Taj hotel, Gateway of India, Victoria Terminus (this is the last station of the central line route), Kala Ghoda circle, Mantralaya, Mumbai police headquaters, Prince of Wales Museum (now known as Chattrapathi Shivaji museum), Art galleries. You can take a taxi to save time but a walk would definitely be more interesting. The roads are wide, pavements well laid out with small road side eateries at intervals; milling around the buildings of British colonial times and gazing at their exemplary architecture would provide many cherishable memories.