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Pet-friendly Willow Bake Shop in Hyderabad serves some very interesting food

For a chat and a cake: The Willow Bake Shop is pet-friendly, loves humans and serves some very interesting food

What happens when a veterinary doctor, an auditor and taxation consultant and a clinical psychologist meet at a culinary school to pursue their passion for baking? The outcome is a beautiful cafe, informal and a lot of interesting things to bite on as one listens or attends to the events they conduct in their cafe. Sujit Seshadri, Chaitali Pednekar and Md Imad’s ‘The Willow Bake Shop’ on Banjara Hills Road Number 3 is a cafe where you will lose track of time as you sit with your book or a pal chatting over coffee and the home-baked goodies. It is a quaint place with music not interrupting your conversation or the silence you want to enjoy.

Pet-friendly Willow Bake Shop in Hyderabad serves some very interesting food

Interestingly, it was a cat-lover who recommended the place to me saying, “it is a pet-friendly cafe and they have cats.” I promptly reached the cafe with the hope of getting to cuddle a cat or two... or maybe more. Right at the entrance, I saw some rescued kittens basking in the afternoon sun after they successfully overturned their bowls following their meal.

I met Sujit at the counter with the warmest hello ever. I enquired about the kittens while continuously getting distracted with the dessert display. Sucker for tea cakes that I am, I couldn’t take the conversation ahead without ordering a slice for myself. But then I also noticed ‘potato and leek soup’ as today’s special. So, I asked the carrot cake to wait and instead sat patiently for my soup to arrive. In the meantime, Sujit and I settled for a chat and he shared that he met his partners at culinary school. “We hit it off instantly. Surprisingly all three of us were looking to start a cafe and were on the same page as what sort of a cafe it should be,” he recalls.

‘Happy vibe’

The cafe’s happy vibe comes from a lot of factors, one of them is the decor and the warmth from the team. In order to keep their patrons engaged, they do theme lunches and dinner even if it means going all out on a Halloween or a GoT theme. “I don’t know about the rest, but I have a lot of fun doing these theme dinners. The planning, reading and the preparation is just amazing,” adds Chaitali.

Just then my soup arrived and each spoon of the creamy soup thereafter made me a little more happier. Sujeet recommended I try the kimchi sandwich. Everything — including the sourdough bread and kimchi — except eggs, is made in-house. When ordering this sandwich let the yolk be runny. Along with the sandwich I ordered two different pizzas (before my appetite is judged, let me tell you, the pizzas at the cafe are small). Here again, apart from the universal sourdough pizza base, the different cheeses to be used on the pizza are made in-house.

Pet-friendly Willow Bake Shop in Hyderabad serves some very interesting food

Apart from the food, Imad also conducts regular talks on mental health. “The topics of discussion range from depression to anxiety to even extending a patient ear to those who need to be heard to make them feel assured. I conduct talks for small groups and keep it very informal,” informed Imad.

Since the cafe conducts fun events, are they planning anything special for Valentine’s Day? The trio laughed and said “we are doing anti-Valentine’s dinner for those who don’t like the love-is-in-the-air vibe. It is a ten-course-meal. Then we also have ‘dinner for two’ option. There is something for each of us.”

On other days when you need a little sweet-fix drop in for the coconut financier and the pecan tarts.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 7:39:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/the-willow-bake-shop-pet-friendly-cafe-sourdough-bread-sujit-seshadri-md-imad-chaitali-pednekar/article30810733.ece

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