When Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) discussed her situationship with Miranda over a cupcake – little did the cupcake know, it was set to travel the world. This sequence from ‘Sex and the City’, an American comedy-drama – is all it took for Magnolia Bakery to switch from a quaint corner in New York into a zealot cult stormed by global patrons.
Come tomorrow, i.e., November 1 – the bakery throws its floors open to pastry lovers in Bandra, Mumbai. As someone who devours cakes with uber loyalty, this writer was drawn to test the batters at the bakery (pun intended!).
The moment you walk in, you`re cocooned in an aromatic hug of freshly baked buns. Cinnamon laces the air with its spicy, earthy notes, adding depth to the olfactory experience. With sun-soaked air, a hypnotic dessert display and ample space to breathe in – the bakery is a one-off, putting an end to the perpetual queues encountered at popular Bandra bakeries.
New York`s aesthetics meet Bandra’s charm
Khaiber Siddiqui, the designer of the bakery, tells Midday, “With convenient seating options across two floors, the ground floor, and mezzanine, we`ve expanded the seating area to accommodate more guests.” Frankly, an 80-seater spread over 2300 sq. ft. offers more than enough room to frolic around and bask in the warmth of cocoa effortlessly.
Soon as you have absorbed the palatial glory, the sight of tin metal ceilings and touches of Aberdeen green on the walls, catch your attention. Siddiqui informs how the interiors of Magnolia derive inspiration from Bandra’s neighbourhood. “We`ve predominantly employed a white and green colour scheme with a custom-made floral pattern ceiling in white.”
The muted shades come together creating an ambience that is fresh and welcoming, much like the bylanes of Bandra. By incorporating these elements, the design seamlessly blends the allure of New York with the lively spirit of Mumbai, fashioning a space where you can while away leisurely with friends or immerse yourself in that podcast you intended to finish.
The bakery maintains its signature charm with white beadboard counters, quartz countertops, and white brick tiles that not only create an illusion of endless symmetry but also complement their monochrome floor tiles. To top that, one cannot help but notice the sophisticated use of glass and vertical slats which control the influx of sunlight: just about enough to illuminate the cupcake frostings and multi-coloured sprinkles.
From Banana puddings to Blueberry Jamborees
The dominant note in the air is an irresistible sweetness that seems to be baked into the very walls of the bakery. It`s the fragrance of sugar, caramelised and alluring, drifting from Strawberry Shortcakes to Cream Cheese Brownies to perfectly glazed Doughnuts. The air is also dense with hints of toasted nuts, vanilla and butter, each contributing its unique charm to the bouquet of bakery aroma.
As we sat down for the tastings, Erick Larios – Vice President for the Magnolia Bakery franchise, warned us to hold our horses and eat mindful portions (as this could be one gluttonous session). The menu offers an enticing array of treats that tempt you to order each item on the listing. As we skimmed through it, the mind wandered off to the idea: If only we could eat endlessly with no repercussions.
Classic Tres Leches and Mini Chocolate Cake
First on the offing was the Classic Tres Leches, a dessert that exemplified moist and creamy perfection. This sponge cake, drenched in a trio of milk, was a delectable combination of textures that left us with an immediate craving for more.
Next up was their much-awaited, world-renowned Banana Pudding. This dessert was a symphony of fresh bananas, vanilla wafers, and velvety vanilla pudding. Upon delving into the first bite, a delightful blend of creaminess, sweetness, and a touch of nostalgia hit our senses as we relished the flavours. It was no wonder, the dessert had earned its “world-famous” title.
Chocolate Banana Pudding
For those with an unquenchable chocolate craving, the Double Fudge Brownie is a must-try. The dense, rich cocoa goodness is sure to beguile your senses with a mouthful of chocolate. Each bite offers a deep indulgence for those who like to call themselves a chocolate connoisseur. And then came the Blueberry Jamboree, which was a refreshing twist amidst the rich and decadent offerings. The blueberries added a tangy sweetness that balanced the other desserts perfectly.
The cake and cupcake lineup offered an appetizing selection of flavours that we could devour only so much: As Larios had warned! However, in the limited yet wholesome tasting session, each item screamed quality ingredients without compromises. The attention to detail in the frosting made each bite a harmonious blend of cake and buttercream, truly satisfying the sweet tooth.
In its past ventures in India, the bakery has unveiled special seasonal menus that showcased delectable mango and lychee desserts. Additionally, they have prepared a diverse selection of eggless ice creams to cater to the vegetarian population in India.
Tracing the roots of Magnolia Bakery
Magnolia Bakery echoes a symbol of indulgence in the backdrop of the city that never sleeps – New York. Established in 1996 by Allysa Torey and Jennifer Appel in Manhattan`s West Village, the bakery`s mission was to offer classic American baked goods with a nostalgic touch. It quickly gained a reputation for its old-fashioned charm, high-quality ingredients, and most notably, its delectable desserts.
Magnolia Bakery is known for its charming and cosy interior. The West Village location, in particular, features a classic American bakery aesthetic with pastel-coloured walls, vintage-style furnishings, and a welcoming atmosphere that harks back to the nostalgia of traditional bakeries. The display cases are adorned with an array of freshly baked goods, from cupcakes with swirls of colourful buttercream frosting to rows of cookies and pies.
Marble Cream Cheese Brownie
The bakery enjoys a dedicated fan base. Its desserts are celebrated for their delicious, homemade taste, and its appearance in ‘Sex and the City’ catapulted it into pop culture stardom. Fans of the show, as well as dessert enthusiasts, often flock to the bakery to savour its iconic cupcakes and other confections. The bakery`s popularity has extended well beyond the borders of New York City.
In addition to its original West Village location, Magnolia Bakery has expanded its presence both in the United States and globally. One can find it in various cities across the U.S., such as Los Angeles, Chicago, and Boston. Internationally, the bakery has made its mark in locations like Tokyo, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Amman, Doha, Manila, Seoul and Istanbul.
The bakery arrived in India in 2019 when the entrepreneur couple – Zonu Reddy and Nischay Jayeshankar, decided to launch it in Bengaluru. Their second stop was Hyderabad which had a sizeable amount of people wondering – “When will Magnolia arrive in Mumbai?” Well, the gates have opened and mercy has been bestowed upon pastry lovers.
Where: Pali Road, Bandra West
When: Wednesday, 1st November 2023