Breaking bread at Apupa

From breads, pastries, and macarons, to coffee, smoothies and hot chocolate, this new cafe has a wide range of offerings

Published - May 28, 2019 10:34 am IST

Fruit tart with cream

Fruit tart with cream

“I want some coffee,” said my mother-in-law, exhausted after a bout of retail therapy. Since we were on the North Chennai flyover at that point, I suggested the Aavin booth outside Bharathi Park. “I want to sit down and have a good cup,” she wailed.

A cosy and intimate space

A cosy and intimate space

So we turned into Bharathi Park 7th Cross Road as the most likely area for a café. At the corner where it met Bharathi Park Road No 2, a sign caught our eye. “Apupa,” it read. The interior was brightly lit and cheerful, so we trooped in.

“Look at those pastries,” m-i-l looked hopefully at her fitness freak son but settled for coffee and a paneer-spinach puff while I asked for a vegetable cutlet. The coffee, served in brass davara -tumbler, was pronounced superlative. The puff was flaky and light with a tasty filling. For once, I didn't come away with oily fingers from a cutlet. And the vegetable mix was just right: not too spicy, not too bland.

Multi-grain bread

Multi-grain bread

But what really caught our attention was the breads. There was sourdough, multi-grain and regular sandwich, brioche, garlic bread... and we would up with one loaf of each, apart from a bag of rusks, oat-raisin cookies, a cheese cake and a cream tart. That night, we dined off the sourdough with its slightly tangy taste and chewy texture. The garlic bread was soft and the garlicky taste was even and mild. The cheese cake was moist and mildly sweet and the tart was the best. The crunchy crust was filled with fresh cream and topped with berries.

Chef Anil Kumar Shanmugam

Chef Anil Kumar Shanmugam

“I want to bring in the full range that I am used to in the UK,” says Chef Anil Kumar Shanmugam when I meet him later that week. “But I am taking it one step at a time.”

What’s in a name?
  • A lot if it happens to be Apupa, smiles Anil.
  • For one, it’s a palindrome, so it reads the same from right to left as well. Second, appupam in Sanskrit means baking, he explains
  • Finally, it means grandfather in Malayalam and “many people think my father is the apupa of the café” laughs Anil. “Which is fine if it brings them here.”

Anil’s father worked in JM Breads and Cakes and so he’s sort of grown up in the baking and confectionery world. The idea is to have a cosy and affordable hangout space, he says. The berry smoothie I had that day was thick and cold with sweet and sour notes chasing each other, perfect for a hot evening. “No added sugar, Anil assures me. Only what’s in the fruit, which has been imported.

Info you can use
  • Apupa is at 28, Bharathi Park 7th Cross Road, Saibaba Colony and is open from 10.00 am to 10.00 pm.
  • The café offers a variety of pastries, macarons, croissants, cakes, breads, rusks, cookies, smoothies, hot chocolates and puffs and cutlets.
  • They also cater for parties outside and will customise celebration cakes.
  • Contact 0422-4210707 for more details

I ask Anil how he manages to keep the prices so reasonable. “I know I am not going to make a profit on some items,” he says nonchalantly. “My concern is to see that the taste is not compromised.” With a full production unit housed in the same premises, Anil is looking forward to expanding operations and including more snacks and savoury items shortly.

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