Taste Test: Hot Chocolate
The hot chocolate, that most sinful of drinks, is the only beverage that we turn to for solace on a despair-filled day (apart from the occasional rum and Coke that is). We sampled hot chocolates at six establishments across the city to find the one that makes the most soothing mug in Mumbai.
A CHOCOLATE AFFAIR
16, Chinoy Mansion, opposite St. Stephen’s Church, Warden Road, Kemps Corner. Tel: 2369 6574.
This chocolate cafe may have lost much of its charm after it shifted base from Bandra to Kemps Corner but fortunately, it has retained the ability to make a great hot chocolate. They offer a number of variations of the drink, including a chocolate chai, but we recommend ordering the Classic Affair, which comes in two options: milk, made with chocolate containing 34 per cent cocoa, or dark, made with chocolate containing 70 per cent cocoa. Our server tried to dissuade us from ordering the latter by saying it might be too bitter for our tastes, but we’re glad we didn’t listen to him because the dark Classic, served (as all their hot chocolates are) in a handle-less “hug mug”, turned out to be a warm and creamy treat that has just the right amount of sweetness. ★★★1/2
First Floor, Palladium, Phoenix Mills, Lower Parel. Tel: 2498 6262. Also at 5, Pheroze Building, Ground Floor, Apollo Bunder, near the Gateway of India. Tel: 6655 1010.
There are a number of stellar offerings on the Indigo Deli menu, but alas, their hot chocolate is not one of them. The murky brown drink has a high milk to chocolate ratio, and as a result, it tastes more like chocolate-flavoured milk (think Bournvita). It doesn’t help that their self-described thick chocolate sauce quickly settles at the bottom of the cup and requires constant stirring in order to mix evenly with the milk. While we made a fuss about its shortcomings, the eight year old in our company slurped the milky beverage down to its chocolate-y dregs. ★☆☆☆☆
133 Hill Road , above Nature’s Basket, Bandra (West). Tel: 2642 5555. Also at Ground Floor, Palladium Mall, Phoenix Mills, Lower Parel. Tel: 2491 2210. See here for other locations.
We’re usually vehemently dismissive of hot chocolate that has been made using chocolate powder, which is a poor substitute for real chocolate. The only exception, however, is Moshe’s hot chocolate. We tried the beverage at the casual dining chain’s Bandra outlet and found that their hot chocolate is made with a good amount of what tastes like Cadbury’s drinking chocolate powder. Unlike at Indigo Deli, here the drink is prepared with just the right quantity of milk, which makes it equally appealing to kids and grown-ups. ★★★☆☆
Emca Sadan, Ground Floor, Appasaheb Marathe Road, Prabhadevi. Tel: 96194 87395.
In a recipe for a classic hot chocolate, Nigel Slater, the celebrated British food columnist for UK newspaper The Observer, provides a critical tip: “If you want to take the drink seriously, use the most bitter chocolate you can find (70-100 per cent cocoa solids), then sweeten it yourself.” If Slater had to pick a winner in this taste test, it would be Debailleul’s intensely dark and silky hot chocolate. Made using Belgian chocolate, it has an almost earthy flavour provided by the high percentage of cocoa, and barely any trace of sweetness. ★★★★☆
First Floor, Akruti Skybay Building, Bhulabhai Desai Road. Tel: 2354 1712. Also at Shop No.11, Silver Pearl, opposite China Gate, Waterfield Road, Bandra (West). Tel: 2640 0044.
San Churro’s “Classic Spanish” hot chocolate is a mouth-coatingly rich mix of melted dark couverture chocolate and milk that has a thin consistency that belies its intense flavour. Heavier than the other contenders, it was the hardest to finish on account of its richness. ★★★☆☆
St. John Street , opposite Gold’s Gym , Pali Hill, Bandra (West). Tel: 2641 1431. Also at Shop 1A, Ground Floor, Atlanta Building , Nariman Point. Tel: 2288 0055.
We first sampled Suzette’s hot chocolate while reviewing their new breakfast fare earlier this month, and have recommended it to over a dozen people ever since. It’s made using Callebaut dark chocolate and milk, a delicious blend that has prompted us to describe the soothing beverage to fellow hot chocolate enthusiasts in a series of hyperboles. For instance, we’ve likened it to “heaven in a cup” and even said that we wanted to swim in a large pot of melted Callebaut. Suzette’s winning edge over Debailleul is that Callebaut has a welcome hint of sweetness. ★★★★★