Wenger’s in Delhi, for all time

The writer plays back melt-in-mouth memories and thinks ahead to a time he can order again from Delhi’s Wenger’s, the bakery that was once a restaurant

August 03, 2020 06:47 pm | Updated August 05, 2020 03:02 pm IST

The ham and pineapple pizza from Wenger’s

The ham and pineapple pizza from Wenger’s

I felt like a part of Picasso’s Blue Period — except that I was green — when a friend told me how he’d been spending his time. One day, he informed me with some glee, he’d visited Wenger’s in Connaught Place, and had eaten all kinds of goodies from there. I was instantly green with envy and quickly checked to see if they would deliver in East Delhi. In the next moment I was my golden sunny self when I learnt that they did indeed.

This has to be said out aloud from rooftops: Wenger’s is the best. I have had delicious patties and pastries from elsewhere, but few can outdo the magic that this old bakery wields. I also have nostalgic links with Wenger’s. In the early ‘60s, when I was a wee lad, my mother would occasionally take me there. Sometimes we sat in its restaurant that was right above and where they served Chinese and Continental fare (it later became the American Express office). Those days there were three places that we used to go to: Wenger’s, Tea House and Nanking (I remember its cutlets and even the face of a server). The last two downed their shutters long years ago. Thankfully, Wenger’s carries on.

So, the moment I found that I could get some of my favourite snacks delivered from there, I placed an order online (Wengers.in/store). Two of our all-time favourites had to be there, of course. So I asked for chicken patties (₹80) and mutton shammi kebabs (₹80). Then we thought we’d have a chicken quiche, a ham and pineapple pizza, and a mushroom and cheese pizza. I also asked for a loaf of sundried tomato bread (₹70). With a stiff upper lip, I didn’t look at the dessert section. One must keep a stern eye on one’s health. All told, the bill, including shipping and processing fees, came to ₹1,006, and served as three happy meals.

The food arrived on the designated day, at the designated time. The pizzas, kebabs and quiche were our dinner; the bread (with a chicken paste from Licious) was our breakfast the next day, and we had the patties with tea. Wenger’s pizzas are special: They are not thick or flour-laden, like some of the mass produced ones. A little smaller than the MNC fare, they are also a lot cheaper. The ham-and-pineapple pizza costs ₹150, and the mushroom one is at ₹130. The crust is thin yet substantial, and the toppings are superb.

I couldn’t get to taste the ham in the ham and pineapple pizza (if they were there, they were camouflaged well), but the pineapple had melted into the cheese, and the sweet and salty flavours together did a glorious act. The mushroom pizza was oozing with toppings, and two pizzas and a kebab each were enough for the three of us. The kebabs were the way I remembered them: thick and juicy.

The quiche was a pleasant surprise. I had thought it would be large enough for three, but it was just right for one. It was outstanding though, with juicy bits of chicken embedded in the creamy bed and a crunchy crust. The bread was fresh and pitted with sundried tomatoes and olives. And the patties were buttery and flaky, as they are meant to be. The shredded chicken stuffing had all the right flavours, too.

I am going back to the site. This time, there will be a quiche for each one of us. And, maybe, if the stiff upper lip uncurls a bit, even an éclair or two.

The writer is a seasoned food critic

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