Mumbai Food: Try pocket-friendly burgers and puffs at this bakery on Yari Road
A hole-in-the-wall bakery on Yari Road is the perfect escape into a world of mouth-watering and pocket-friendly burgers and puffs, in the middle of the night
You are what you eat. If this is true, then we are a quaint little deli by the sea. We are also a patio adorned with fairy lights, dotted with pastel-colour chairs or a well-lit rooftop that says panache. But at times, we are just a bench rotting away under a leaking tarpaulin shade with a cutting chai. Or a crowd huddling around a pani puri wala and sometimes, all we really are is someone with loose change, reaching out to a wrinkled hand with spindly fingers poking out of the grills of a collapsible gate.
And today we are telling you a story about what keeps us going — food.
Deep within the sea-lining neighbourhood called Versova, beyond Yari Road, is a conspicuous hole in the wall in the shape of a bakery. Sometimes, when the months were tough and we were too ashamed to call home for help, the thought of yet another bowl of tasteless instant noodles made us barf. Then, we would step out in the middle of the night and make our way through the winding and deserted lanes of the village to “that patties place”. We found out yesterday it has a name —Manuel Enterprises, Bakers and Confectioners.
We knock on the door left slightly ajar around 2 am, till a groggy little man appears rubbing his eyes. We are always hungry and end up taking home a haul because of the affordable prices. We order two of each — chicken burger (Rs 50), cream chicken puff (Rs 20) and chicken patties (Rs 20) — and one each of a veggie patties (Rs 15), a chocolate pastry (Rs 20) and a strawberry flavoured one (Rs 20).
We believe in breaking the bad news first, so let us establish at the outset that the pastries aren’t great. They are grainy and leave that typical aftertaste in the roof of your mouth that low-quality pastries do. The icing is too sugary and the sponge is hard and brittle. But that doesn’t matter to us because we are here for the good stuff.
The chicken burger consists of soft buns enclosing a patty made out of minced chicken and mashed potato, which surprisingly works. It’s a fresh change from the meat-heavy and unmanageable burgers we’re used to. The patty is donned with homemade mayonnaise (that is slightly sweeter than normal) and slices of cucumber and tomato. It’s light, filling and humble. The chicken and veggie patties are baked to a golden perfection. They are crispy, light and crumbly in a way that you are sure to have morsels all over you, and that’s good news when it comes to filo pastry.
Chicken patties. Pics/Datta Kumbhar
Our favourite from this haunt is the easy-to-eat and cutesy little cream chicken puffs. The tart-y crusts are crisp on the top and chewy all around, as it blends almost invisibly with the minced chicken, mashed potato and cheese filling which has bits of julienned onions and finely chopped capsicum. The faint yet awakening aftertaste of the pepper is such that one can almost picture somebody taking their own sweet time, carefully sprinkling it all over.
The food here is akin to comfort not in the way a tub of expensive gelato is, but rather in its ability to make you appreciate no-frills and home-style baking. If we are to wrap up our experience of visiting the place late at night with grumbling tummies and never returning empty-handed in a word, we’ll call it endearing.
Manuel Enterprise Bakery. Pic /Atul Kamble
AT: Almeida House, Versova Village, Andheri West.
TIP: Knock twice and wait patiently. Carry change if you’re going too late into the night. No debit or credit cards accepted.
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