It was a usual Tuesday. I was contemplating the end of the week even though it was aeons away; at the same time desperately searching for a solace to survive the weekday blues.
My friends had been telling me about this little bakery they had recently visited. It was not too far away from where I lived and easy to get to, too. Apparently, the bakery was a proud member of Thane for more than a few decades and had been embedded within its history since the very beginning. Given my immense appetency for food and a curiousness for all things left unscathed by the test of time; I decided to visit the place myself and gain a first hand experience of its ambiance and its aroma.
I took a Rickshah to my destination and directed it to the nearest land mark that I was told to look for. The Rickshah ride though strenuous, did eventually lead me to a junction of sorts where innumerable shops were lined up in neat rows. Some sold pipes and aluminium whereas some sold everyday stationery. But tried as hard I could, I could not find the little bakery that was notorious for being easily missed by its visitors. I stopped the Rickshah near a familiar spot and paid him Rs 56 ($1) for the ride. I decided to ask around the shops as I went, because surely, somebody would know where the infamous bakery was situated. I asked a shopkeeper about the bakery and as recognition struck his face; hope struck my heart. He waved his hands around – a few times to the left and a few times to the right- and told me that the bakery was not too far from here and was within walking distance. Now here’s the thing about me – I suck with directions. My brain confuses and mixes up places and directions; guiding me to unknown places where no man has ever ventured. Whenever I travel outside, I almost always issue a disclaimer to my companions to not expect any sort of help from me geographically, because the chances of me leading them to the wrong destination are far more possible than the probability of it raining in June in Mumbai. Anyways, I followed the shopkeeper’s direction till the best I could but then suddenly I realised that I had come far off from where I should have ideally been. The area had become a little secluded and a little too male habited for my liking. Dismayed, I decided to take a rick home and come back here with a friend who knew where the bakery was located.
As I sat in the rick, I kept looking outside. The scores of people and shops kept passing me by. Lost in my observations, it took me a moment to realize that the bakery that I had come for; braving the laziness and the sun, had just passed me by! It was actually within a street that was so small that it was fairly easy to miss. I stopped the rick midway and paid him the fare and got down. The bakery was really less like a cafe and more like a shop that would sell you your everyday use items. It had a small porch which had a few chairs lined up and a little board above it that read – St Anthony’s Bakery. As quotidian the bakery looked from outside, it looked contrastingly refulgent from the inside. A luminous yellow surrounded its walls and the scores of cupcakes, rolls, breads, pastries, cakes and pizzas greeted my eyes as I entered. I was torn between the display before me. My eyes kept bouncing from each corner and I wished that I had the magical power to eat as much as I wanted to, without the fear of ever getting fat. But reality is a sorry thing. And it hits you almost every time you try to forget about it.
After some drumming and humming, I decided on
It would seem like too much to you. And frankly it even was. But had you seen the bill, you would have never come to that conclusion. The whole meal cost me around rupees 250 or $3 approx. Me and my pocket were happy and satisfied, as we made our way to the table.
I was first served the cupcakes which seemed like they held all of the world’s happiness inside their small little forms. The orange frosting tasted delicious and the cake base beneath was the sort that would melt in your mouth without any further ado. The Oreo cupcake on the other hand, was a coffee and chocolate lovers delight. The coffee frosting was freckled with frequent bits of the biscuit and the chocolate base beneath was just as delicate as I had hoped it would be. My only complain if any, would be with the size of the cupcakes. But considering the price charged, it seemed like a fair deal. The cupcakes were moist and delicate. They had a good base as well as a good upper layer which made them perfect. The store offered a few more variants in that category including but not limited to; a Red Velvet Cupcake. Gotta try that!
The next thing I tried was the custard. The custard though velvety and smooth in texture- lacked a certain distinguishing feature in taste. It tasted like it was store bought, with the sweet content a little out of proportion. It would have tasted better had it been poured with a little more caramel sauce. It did leave something to be desired.
Ever since my tongue had a taste of St Anthony’s Pizza, Ihave become a changed woman. Growing up in a neighbourhood that was stuffed with outlets after outlets of Dominos and Pizza Hut, St Anthony’s Pizza came as a change of direction. It was nothing less than a revolution. You know, how you become used to a certain kind of taste and you think to yourself – ‘Nothing I will ever taste, will come close to this piece of perfection’ ? Well St Anthony proved me wrong. Their Pizza was not like Domino’s or Pizza Hut, rather it was in a league of its own. It’s crust was soft and delectable but the real winner was the sauce. It tasted like a barbeque sauce infused with scores of tomato, with an intention to disguise the barbeque flavour. The paneer was soft and chewy and delicious and though I couldn’t quite put my finger on it; it seemed to be bathed into seasonings of its own and grilled and cooked to perfection. If I ever had to rank all the Pizza in the world my scale would probably look like 1 _________________ St Anthony’s Pizza.
Needless to say, I have been dreaming of that Pizza since I left the place and I am desperately waiting for an opportunity to return back to it.
St Anthony’s bakery was a first of many things. It was my first experience of travelling for food; first realisation that Pizza can mean more than the outlets you see in your neighbourhoods; first epiphany that the best kind of food is available all around us. We only have to go and look for it.
Food is magical and it is food really, that can stand the test of time. Thank you St Anthony, for being an example of that.
If you are ever in Thane and want to visit the monumental place yourself; here are some details that could help you.
Name: St Anthony’s Bakery
Address: Shop No. 171, Kolbat Road, near Bharat Petrol Pump, Thane, Maharashtra 400601
Phone Number: 022 2547 6526
Opening times: 11:00 am – 10:30 pm
St Anthony’s Bakery
Until next time!