The end of a sweet landmark.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
It’s shutting down. The German Bakery at Appetite German Bakery in Delhi’s backpackers’ district of Paharganj will soon be history.
“The bakery is not giving us good business,” says Muhammed Farid Alam, the café’s manager. “Frankly, we are not good at it.”
The Delhi Walla doesn’t agree. I have been coming to the German Bakery for years and the visit here is never truly complete without having a glass of honey-ginger-lemon tea with a slice of their crumbly almond cake (I have written about the tea at Appetite here). I have also often seen others customers at the Appetite happily treating themselves to cakes, croissants and cinnamon rolls.
Waving his arm towards the bakery counter, the manager, however, says, “We don’t offer many choices there. The customers, taken in by our café’s name, enter imagining a variety of bakery items, which they don’t find inside, and then they promptly leave feeling disappointed.” While many other customers, the manage adds, don’t enter because they imagine that a bakery would not be serving major meals.
Appetite offers a wide range of curries and pastas, while the bakery counter is almost always stocked with trays of almond cake, lemon iced cake, banana cake, chocolate banana cake, chocolate cake, and cheesecake.
“The cakes at Appetite were one of my top reasons for braving rush hour Metro crowds to reach Paharganj,” says writer Sanchita Guha who lives near Nehru Place in South Delhi. “I always had a slice of cake to finish off my small, predictable, but highly enjoyable meal of parathas, curd and honey-ginger-lemon tea. Now these cakes won’t be there—I’m feeling seriously sad about this.”
Appetite had opened in 1990. The manager talks of a German tourist called Mister Norman who gave bakery lessons to the cooks at Appetite, which culminated in the opening of German Bakery in 2001.
The cakes are to be discontinued as soon as the café’s new hoarding is ready (for now it is still Appetite German Bakery). The bakery will give way to a shawarma kebab counter. The manager says, “Our new name will be Appetite Restaurant.”
Last days of the cakes
2. (Muhammed Farid Alam)