There goes around a story in Kolkata gastronomic circuit that the best traditional anglo-Indian cakes are found not in fancy hotels, but in few homes, and over the period of time, they’ve become legends. Many have heard of the name, but few have actually been there, the name’s Saldanha Bakery and Confectionery
One should reach Rafi Ahmed Kidwai road (the tram road) and find out the B C Sen Jewellery shop on it. While in the afternoon, the traffic moves towards north, it comes on the right hand side. Take the adjacent lane and after 50-100 mtrs, you can find a yellow house on your left with Saldanha written on the outside wall. Parking is a big big problem. Hence, either take your driver or take your two-wheeler. The house, at any point of time, smells of vanilla essence, and once you enter, you feel like magically you’ve been transported in the old laid back,colonial Calcutta. There’s a big queue whirling up the staircase, but not shoving or cursing each other. Mostly because, the clients here are mainly regular ones and the owners know them by name….. Welcome to Saldanha- arguably the BEST traditional bakery and confectionery in Calcutta.
They’ll be slightly surprised if you ask them for the menu card. Normally people go there and ask them what’s the pick of the day and happily take it away. Items are damn reasonably priced, so nothing to worry about. Take their crossed buns to start with. The cherry stuffed crossed buns are a treat to the sore eyes and love for the morning tea. They’re extremely heavy and at 19/- a piece, a steal. Next, if you’re lucky enough, Ms Debra Saldanha would have made those heavenly Macroons and you’d may like to collect a few at 20/- a piece. They say, its like making love to someone, if you take your first bite on a good Macroon and you may find the relevance here.
The next item has to be their Walnut cake. I was told that their chocolate Almond cake is also great, but that day, only Walnut Cake was done and it was the softest, creamiest cake I’ve ever tasted in Calcutta. The standard size is at 160/- and its a steal. You may trust me and take 2 pieces of the same without thinking. Stuffed with lots of chopped almond, its pure heaven. On request, they slice the cake, which I feel is a good option.
During Easter (this time of the year), they also make some Easter Eggs at 350/- and 650/- depending upon the size (cashew-marzipan eggs stuffed with home made chololate). Also, smaller eggs (100 & 150/- a piece) are made with solid chocolate and for a choco-lover, they are seriously sinful.
All said and done, while coming down, you’d may like to have a peek inside their drawing room and trust me you’ll find a mess with food items thrown on everything, which personally I liked. The wood-fired bakery is in the ground floor and is worth a glance.
Enjoy the cakes, the true old fashioned soft tea cakes and dry fruit cakes. I was told they make seriously good non-veg sandwich and cheese puffs, but that’s another story.
Bon apetit !!!
Comments and critics welcome.
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