30 Best Desserts
Unlike other parts of the meal—say appetisers or the main course—desserts are deeply personal affairs. One person’s idea of culinary heaven might be a dark chocolate mousse, for another, it’s an exotic fruit tart. And more often than not, the quality and taste of a dessert are directly proportional to the quality of ingredients used (which is why a lot of picks in our round-up cross the Rs300 price mark). Desserts have also managed to cross the dining divide from post-meal send-off to tea-time snack and even breakfast-on-the-go. Do muffins warrant the genus? What about cupcakes, waffles and ice-cream (worthy perhaps of a list unto itself)? In our quest to whittle down what we felt were outstanding desserts across every price range, we thus imposed only two real limitations: is it sweet, and if yes, can it be eaten at the end of a meal? In no particular order, our picks for the 30 desserts (plus five honourable mentions that have made it to lists past) you should break your diet for:
1. Tiramisu at Two One Two Bar and Grill
Tiramisu translates literally into “pick me up”, which is exactly the effect Two One Two’s near perfect take on the Italian dessert will have on you. Unlike other establishments in the city, this Italian restaurant uses mascarpone cheese (as opposed to whipped cream), to provide the creamy counterpoint to the slightly bitter, coffee-soaked ladyfingers.Rs395.
12-A, Hornby Vellard Estate, opposite Nehru Centre, next to the BMW showroom, Worli. Tel: 2490 1994.
2. Chocolate Tart at The Table
Crack open this dessert-plate sized tart with a spoon, and the dark chocolate oozes out in a little puddle, creating a yummy smudge with the accompanying scoop of vanilla bean ice-cream and raspberry coulis. Rs350.
Hotel Suba Palace, C. S. M. Marg, opposite Dhanraj Mahal, Apollo Bunder, Colaba. Tel: 2282 5000.
3. Chocolate Mousse at Suzette
Suzette’s dark Belgian chocolate mousse, served in a cutting chai glass, is dense, smooth and slightly crumbly. Don’t ask for the recipe—the owners say it’s their mothers’ (naturally secret) concoction. Rs99.
Shop 1A, Ground Floor, Atlanta Building, Nariman Point. Tel: 2288 0055.
4. Apple Shortbread at Indigo
Like an open-faced pie, this dessert is constructed with layers of sliced apple placed on a crumbly shortbread base, and topped with salty streaks of gruyere cream. Tiny discs of ice-cold mascarpone semifreddo provide a nice mash-up of texture and temperature. Rs545.
4 Mandalik Road, off Colaba Causeway, Colaba. Tel: 6636 8981.
5. Galloway at Debailleul
This tiny baby pink mound of loveliness resembles a cheesecake in taste, with layers of sponge-like cake, blueberries and creamy cheese. Rs500.
Emca Sadan, Ground Floor, Appasaheb Marathe Road, Prabhadevi. Tel: 96194 87395.
6. Gianduja Souffle at Fenix
Order this dessert as soon as you sit for your meal—it takes nearly 25 minutes to create this warm, quivering soufflé of hazelnut and chocolate and a side of vanilla-scented crème Anglaise (which you should use generously). Rs425.
The Oberoi, Lobby Level, Nariman Point. Tel: 6632 5757.
7. Dark Chocolate Cake at Kala Ghoda Cafe
Owner Farhad Bomanjee says the recipe for this cake was an amalgamation of his mother’s recipe with that of KGC’s cook. Either way, a slice of this dark Belgian chocolate cake is more parts thick, gooey fudge than an airy cake. Don’t be temped to share based on appearance of its thick size—one bite and you’ll find yourself wanting to devour it entirely by yourself. Rs120.
10 Ropewalk Lane, opposite Trishna, Kala Ghoda. Tel: 2263 3866.
8. Tab Tim Krob at India Jones
By themselves, the pinkish jellied water chestnuts can be sickeningly sweet; scoop them up with a spoonful of coconut milk (chilled with ice-cubes), and you’ll find the peculiar sensations of the gelatinous sago, cold milk and crunchy water chestnuts strangely addictive. Rs450.
Trident, Nariman Point. Tel: 6632 4343.
9. Banoffee Pie at Busaba
With a sightly savoury and crumbly crust, a creamy caramel topping, whipped cream and prettily overlapping slices of elaichi banana, Busaba gets the the ratios for this dessert just right. Rs383.
Todi & Co., Mathuradas Mill Compound, N. M. Joshi Marg, Lower Parel. Tel: 67478972. Also at Mandlik Road, near Indigo, Colaba. Tel: 2204 3769.
10. Nolin Gur Ice Cream at Oh! Calcutta
This date palm jaggery ice cream is never made in-house, but rather shipped in from a secret supplier in Kolkata. Its slightly grainy creaminess, and mild jaggery flavour wins you over even if you don’t belong to the land of jhal muri and Rabindrasangeet. Rs151.
Hotel Rosewood, Tulsiwadi Lane, Mahindra Heights, Tardeo. Tel: 6580 6216.
11. Apple Crumble at Le Pain Quotidien
This sugar-dusted, cinnamon flavoured coaster-sized pie comes packed with the goodness–and sweetness–of apples, prunes and raisins, and a side serving of vanilla ice cream for that perfect combination of a hot and cold dessert. Rs195.
Dhanraj Mahal, C.S.M. Road, Apollo Bunder, near the Gateway of India, Colaba. Tel: 6615 0202.
12. Royal Falooda at Badshah
Before Badshah had sandwiches, pizza and pav bhaji, it had “Royal” falooda. The 105-year-old eatery is the granddaddy of this layered drink. While they have added nine more varieties such as blackcurrant and chocolate, we suggest you stay with classic rose-flavoured Royal. Rs44.
152/156, L. T. Marg, opposite Crawford Market. Tel: 2344 9316.
13. Baked Philly Cheesecake at The Tasting Room
Just one spoonful of this is enough to see why it won our cheesecake taste test earlier this year. The soft and crumbly cake is neither too sweet nor egg-y, and tastes best when served warm. Rs200.
First Floor, Good Earth, Raghuvanshi Mills, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel. Tel: 6528 5284.
14. Banana and Caramel Pie at Indigo Deli
Possibly the booziest—and perhaps even the most indulgent—cake on our list, this triple layer treat comprises a thick wedge of cream that’s sandwiched between a topping of chopped bananas in a caramel and brandy sauce, and a base of rum-soaked chocolate mousse. Rs285.
First Floor, Palladium, Phoenix Mills, Lower Parel. Tel: 4366 6666. Also at 5, Ground Floor, Pheroze Building, Apollo Bunder, near Gateway of India. Tel: 6655 1010.
15. Honey Noodles at Royal China
Ribbons of sesame-dotted crispy fried noodles glisten with honey in this rather generous serving of the Chinese restaurant favourite. It comes with three scoops of vanilla ice cream, which is fitting because one portion is good enough for three. Rs295.
Behind Sterling Cinema, Hazarimal Somani Marg, Fort. Tel: 6635 5310. Also at 192 Turner Road, Bandra (West). Tel: 2642 5533.
16. Lemon Dot at Celebrations Fine Confections
When is a muffin more than just a muffin? When it comes filled with the citrus-y surprise of lemon curd, as with Celebrations’ best-selling lemon dot. Rs40.
No.27 Tirupati Apartments, opposite the Mahalaxmi Temple, Bhulabhai Desai Road. Tel: 2353 2713.
17. Dense Loaf at Theobroma
Is it brownie? Is it a cake? Is it chocolate bread? No matter the category, Theobroma’s dense loaf is a moist chunk of chocolate heaven that pairs just as well with a cup of tea as with ice cream. Rs185.
29/30 Link Square Mall, Linking Road, near KFC, Bandra (West). Tel: 2646 9010. Also at Shop No.24, Cusrow Baug, Colaba Causeway. Tel: 2283 0101.
18. Strawberries and Cream at Bachelorr’s
Also known in certain circles as the diet breaker, Bachelorr’s strawberries and cream is a near-legendary after-party/late-night-drive indulgence where there’s no skimping on the fruit or the in-house cream. Rs145.
45, Sattar Sea Biew, Chowpatty Sea Face, near Charni Road Station. Tel: 2368 2211.
19. Mocha Bliss at Sleight of Hand
The modest brownie is given a caffeine kick in this star offering on Sleight of Hand’s impressive menu of freshly made, preservative-free chocolate treats. Rs55.
Trafford House, 6 Ghanshyam Talwalkar Road, Fort. Tel: 2209 1445. Also at Everest Building, Tenth Floor, Tardeo. Tel: 2351 3450.
20. Red Velvet Cupcake at Toujours
The butter-brushed surface of this soft and crumbly cupcake is the colour of mahogany but at its centre, it’s more rich red than reddish brown. Its real achievement however is the airy dollop of smooth and tangy cream cheese frosting. Rs85.
Opposite Breach Candy Hospital, Warden Road. Tel: 2369 3254.
21. Liu Tears at Don Giovanni
The Juhu Italian restaurant’s signature dessert is quite plain in appearance, but don’t let that deter you from ordering the delicious combination of frozen cream and nougat. Crunchy nougat forms the garnish and the base of the “liu tears”, which is ice-cream like in consistency, and is surprisingly light. Rs250.
Hotel King’s International, opposite Juhu Church, near Alfredo’s, Juhu Tara Road, Juhu. Tel: 6742 6770.
22. Matcha Macaroon at Yauatcha
Dim sums and desserts are the mainstay of this London-based Michelin-starred restaurant, which opened in the Bandra Kurla Complex on Saturday, December 3. Of all of Yauatcha’s excellent beverage flavoured macaroons such as Earl Grey and coffee, we took a shine to the matcha, which has a crisp cookie base, a soft, creamy centre, and the deep, unmistakable flavour of the Japanese tea. Rs50.
Raheja Tower, Bandra Kurla Complex, near the ILFS Building, Bandra (East). Tel: 2644 8888.
23. Chocolate Mousse with Masala Chai Granita at Hakkasan
Chances are that after you’ve spent a few minutes admiring this artfully composed dessert for its visual appeal, you will aim for the chocolate mousse first. However, we recommend that you combine the masala chai-flavoured granita with the rich and smooth mousse, to experience the unusual and explosive flavour that can be best described as chocolate masala chai. Rs400.
Krystal, Waterfield Road, ICICI Bank Building, Bandra (West). Tel: 2644 4444.
24. Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownie at Le15 Patisserie
Le15’s bite-sized confection is an ingenious combination of two of our favourite desserts, cheesecake and red velvet cupcake. Rs65.
Shama Hair and Skin Boutique, Krishna Building, near Podar Hospital, J. N. Palkar Road, Worli. Also at Ground Floor, Good Earth, Raghuvanshi Mills, Lower Parel. Tel: 97692 86544.
25. Hungarian Coffee Cake at American Express Bakery
A slice of this thick and crumbly, raisins- and walnuts-studded cake makes for a great takeaway breakfast option and also the perfect tea-time snack. Rs40 for a slice.
Shop No.87, Sushma Building, near Holy Family Hospital, Hill Road, Bandra (West). Tel: 2642 2857.
26. Churros at San Churro
We seldom find fault with food that is fried and dipped in chocolate. The calorific, sugar-dusted churros at this Bandra-based café are so crisp that they break with an audible snap. They come served with a pot of either dark, milk or white molten chocolate (though we’d recommend the dark). Rs192.
Shop No.11, Silver Pearl, opposite Red Box Café, Waterfield Road, Bandra (West). Tel: 2640 0044.
27. Panna Cotta at Pali Village Café
Quite a few Mumbai restaurants serve a less-than-perfect panna cotta, one that is heavy and clumpy rather than smooth and light enough to quiver at the slightest touch. Pali Village Café’s panna cotta, on the other hand, is exemplary, for it gets the balance of cream, sugar and vanilla essence spot on. Rs235.
Next to Janata Lunch Home, Pali Naka, Bandra (West). Tel: 2605 0401.
28. Parde Mein Khubani at Neel at Tote on the Turf
Like the rest of the food served at this fine dining Indian restaurant, their apricot halwa is unapologetically rich. To get to the subtly sweet apricot mush, you have to first eat through the guilt-inducing buttery pastry that covers the halwa. The dessert tastes better still when the flaky paste mixes with the warm fruity centre. Rs285.
Mahalaxmi Racecourse, opposite Gates No.5 & No.6, Keshvrao Khadye Marg, Mahalaxmi. Tel: 6157 7777.
29. Strawberry Yoghurt at Yogurtbay
The secret to Yogurtbay’s success is that their fruit-flavoured offerings taste like the real deal and not like synthetic fruit essence, which is the case at most other frozen yoghurt stores in the city. While you could also opt for their excellent blueberry cheesecake and tiramisu yoghurts, we recommend the strawberry flavour with a topping of diced fresh strawberries. Rs90 for a small cup.
11 Gagangiri, off Carter Road, near Café Coffee Day, Khar. Tel: 3062 9191. Also at 1A, Sagar Vilas Co-operative Housing Society, opposite Navroze Apartments, near Organic Fresh, Warden Road, Breach Candy. Tel: 98333 60235.
30. Amaretto Crème Brûlée at Botticino
Botticino’s sculpted crème brûlée is large enough to share with at least three people. But one spoon of the sinfully creamy dessert spiked with amaretto, the bitter sweet almond-flavoured Italian liqueur, is likely to quash your spirit of generosity. The vanilla-rich pudding comes with a bonus in the form of the crumbly amaretto biscuits placed atop the wafer-crisp sheet of caramelised sugar that blankets the dessert. Rs495.
Trident, C-56, G-Block, Bandra Kurla Complex. Tel: 6672 7777.
• Bailey’s Cream Cake at Cafe Churchill. Rs80. 103-8, East West Court Building, opposite Cusrow Baug, Shahid Bhagat Singh Road/Colaba Causeway. Tel: 2284 4689.
• Caramel Custard at Britannia. Rs80. 11 Sprott Road, Ballard Estate. Tel: 2261 5264/3022 5264.
• Chocolate Mousse at Ideal Corner. Rs45. 12 F/G, Hornby View, Gunbow Street, Fort. Tel: 2262 1930.
• Malai Kulfi at New Kulfi Centre. Rs25. Next to Sukh Sagar, Girgaon Chowpatty. Tel: 2368 4291.
• Chocolate Fondant at Pali Village Cafe. Rs225. Next to Janata Lunch Home, Pali Naka, Bandra (West). Tel: 2605 0401.