For some people, following a passion is inevitable, no matter how hard they try not to. Why else would Sai Babu leave a lucrative career at Accenture in Australia and return to his hometown to get into the gruelling business of running a restaurant? “I spent six years in Australia and made frequent trips to places like New Zealand, Singapore and Thailand, just to visit restaurants,” says Babu, who has no formal education in food, but still takes credit for creating everything on the menu at Chocoholick, in Ispahani Centre. “I started working at Domino’s while I was a student and ended up as sous chef at a restaurant in Melbourne,” he explains.
Babu’s 37-cover restaurant is an ode to all things chocolate. The 26-year-old imports Callebaut from Belgium for his creations that include the humble brownie, exotic chocolate fondue and even a chocolate spaghetti with meatballs. And no, we’re not talking savoury. Babu pipes a spaghetti-like white chocolate on to a plate, on top of which are placed balls of dark chocolate truffle, brownie and cocoa powder. This bitter-sweet partnership is rounded off with a sauce of strawberry and basil creating an altogether unique taste. For more experiments, try their airy chocolate pan pizzas (available in savoury versions too) that come heaped with melted choco chips and a scoop of vanilla that you can get creative with.
Aside from all these experiments, this duplex restaurant also serves plenty of classics. Of these, the dense half baked chocolate cake and light brownie dressed with caramelised hazelnuts deserve mention, while the crisp, eggy Spanish churros, glistening with grains of sugar makes for an addictive nibble with sides of dark, white and milk chocolate dips. Yet all is not peachy at Chocoholick, as Babu could definitely improve the bite, and the meat vs bun ratio of his burger (we do award him points for making the bread in-house) and also look into the recipe of the tad too salty butter cookies. Save for that, he has convinced us to return and try the fish and chips, burrittos, tacos, tarts, sundaes, muffins, waffles, pancakes and plenty more.
Pizzas from Rs.157, pastries from Rs.99. Meal for two at approximately Rs.400. Open from 10.30 am. Details: 43042345
— Ryan Peppin