Shri Balaji and Co, bakers at Big Bazaar Street, have been attracting devoted customers for five decades

For people thronging the busy Town hall, a pit stop at this bakery is a given. Some relish the salted biscuits with their morning tea. Others prefer slices of bread and buns with their beverage of choice. The vegetable puffs sell out in a few hours.

Fathers bring their children along to get their birthday cakes adorned with photos of their favourite cartoon characters. For others, it is a routine to stop at the bakery and have a chat with the owner.

Shri Balaji and Co, a bakery at the busy Big Bazaar Street has been attracting devoted customers for decades. Founded by S. Balakrishna Lal in 1958, this bakery is a family-run enterprise that attracts customers from the city and the outskirts. Balakrishna, now 86, is still the first to arrive at the bakery and personally samples all items before giving them the green signal for sales.

His commitment has also inspired the next generation to match the same standards. “Most of our customers are regulars. The bakery has grown purely through word-of-mouth. People who visited our bakery as children now bring their own children to sample our cakes, breads and cookies,” says S. Humesh, managing director and Balakrishna’s nephew. Humesh and his brother Somanand are in charge of updating technology and maintaining the quality of the products.

Their Japanese cakes, butter cookies and salted cookies are a popular choice for corporate parties. Come festive season, their plum cakes and biscuits are much in demand.

For infants, it is the omam-flavoured biscuits that are the easiest to digest. But it is not just the children who enjoy it. These biscuits even caught the fancy of former Corporation Commissioner Anshul Mishra who enjoyed them with his cup of tea and ordered them for meetings.

As you walk in to the bakery, a cake with the image of Chota Bheem and his friends catches your eye. Angry Birds, Barbie dolls and other cartoon characters are generated through edible printing, where the image is printed through a thin icing sheet which will bond with the icing on the cake.

An image of actor Suriya on a cake, in fact, won them an order to make his birthday cake. “We baked a cake with Suriya’s ‘Singam 2’ look for members of his fan club. Word spread and the next thing we know, his wife Jyothika placed an order for a cake with his picture for his birthday,” says Humesh with pride.

Call them at 0422-2394507.