Anna Nagar finally gets a cafe worth more than a cuppa, courtesy Pantry d’or
Situated at a busy crossroad but removed from the frenzy, is Anna Nagar’s newest bakery-cum-cafe, Pantry d’or (Golden Pantry). Just two weeks old, the spacious 50-cover cafe has all the promise of becoming the new local hangout—with a well-shaded outdoor area leading into comfy interiors with lounge seating, a pizza bar and shelves full of tempting pastries. The menu is simple yet full of flavour. “Our signature is fresh, healthy, tasty food. You won’t find hydrogenated fat or artificial colours here,” says M S Khaleel Ahamed, who partnered with chef Antonio Maximilian to open the cafe’s doors. “The cuisine is global, with influences of Greek, Spanish, Turkish, American and French,” he adds.
Chef Maximilian comes with over 30 years of experience. Having plied his craft on several cruise liners, including the QE2, the cafe is the realisation of his dreams of retiring his sea legs. “My globetrotting tastes have been condensed here. We wanted to give the kind of experience you’d normally get at posh hotels right here in a neighbourhood cafe,” says Maximilian, as he serves up a hot-from-the-oven Turkish lahmacun or spicy Turkish pizza. Made from hand-stretched dough, we love the crisp crust that is a perfect complement to its succulent lamb, cherry tomatoes and smoked cheese topping.
And then it was on to some of the other unique offerings: like the juicy chicken schnitzel sandwiched between whole wheat bread, the tall glass of cafe frappe made from Puratos coffee paste (an expensive variety from Germany) and our current favourite, crispy golden churros with a delightfully soft and airy centre, sprinkled generously with cinnamon sugar and served with a dark chocolate sauce.
Pantry d’or is the culmination of a 10-year-old dream. “Ever since my aunt started a bakery in Kerala, we’ve been talking about starting something,” says Ahamed’s daughter, Sulthana Khaleel, a designer and avid baker. “And when we met Antonio through common friends, we knew it was time.” Her favourite section is, of course, the bakery. She recommends we try out the Piedmont (a rich hazelnut mousse with a creme brûlée centre) and the handmade chocolates with passion fruit centres (more varieties to be added soon). “Our fruit tarts and chocolate fantasy pastries are popular, too,” she adds. The only letdown: the macaroons—a hard shell that needs immediate attention. While there, pick up breads—from pullmans and brioches to multigrain and whole wheat. “We offer freshly-baked baguettes throughout the day, and focaccia on order,” she concludes.
Pantry d’or is open from 7.30 am to 11 pm. Pastries start from Rs. 60, coffees from Rs. 100 and pizzas from Rs. 110. Details: pantrydor.com
—Surya Praphulla Kumar