I love the American Express Bakery, I’ve been going there for as long as I can remember, and even a few times I can’t remember. I love everything about it, the smell of cinnamon in the air, the old wooden cabinets, the line up of breads whose names I can’t pronounce; everything. But even I have to admit, the American Express Bakery is probably the most boring place in the world. I love it. But it’s still boring, it’s like a sweet old lady or the Simpsons, there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s great, it’s just that every time I have to spend more than five minutes there I want to shoot myself or get hit by a speeding Landcruiser.
Of course there are two American Express Bakeries, one in Byculla so people from South Bombay don’t have to come to the suburbs and the other in Bandra so people from Bandra don’t turn South Bombay into an art gallery for hipsters. Both are amazing, but we decided to go to the one on Hill Road because I didn’t want to go to Byculla. Nobody wants to go to Byculla, and after years of gouging down on their food to the point of type 2 diabetes, I know exactly what you need to order.
1) Lemon Tart
The American Express Bakery Lemon Tart is one of those things that look a lot more expensive than it really is, it’s the anti-Crocs. And even though they call it a lemon tart there’s nothing tart about it all, it’s just pure unadulterated sugar dipped in yellow food colour. I assume. Still, it’s definitely worth picking up one. Or twelve.
2) Hungarian Coffee Cake
The Hungarian Coffee cake doesn’t taste like coffee or cake. It tastes like Christmas. That’s the only way I can put it. If the joyful season of Christmas (or Good Governance Day) had a tangible form, it would be the Hungarian Coffee Cake.
3) Almond & Apricot Cookie
The Almond and Apricot Cookie tasted like every generic cookie but a million times better thanks to the sugar frosting. At first we thought we detected a hint of rum but it turns out that’s also what gram flour tastes like. So that made us introspect a little.
I do think American Express Bakery is the best of the Hill Road bakery triad. It’s the cleanest, quietest and best looking. I’d probably spend a lot more time there if it wasn’t so annoyingly dull. I mean they could at least crank open a window or something; I could literally hear the blood vessels in my ear even though it’s on the main road on a Tuesday afternoon. But when it comes to incredible food at prices they’ve barley updated since they started 50 years ago, there’s no doubt that it’s a national treasure everyone needs to visit.