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    We head to the heart of Indiska Magic’s production unit, to find out why nearly 50 restaurants in the city are sourcing cottage cheese from them

    The anticipation is just too much. I feel like a 10-year-old waiting to step into Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. Are the walls going to be made of kaju katli? Will the floor be a flaky spread of baklava? Will it suddenly rain sugar syrup and hail jamuns? You can imagine my disappointment when I discover that the walls and floor of this 4,000 sq ft dessert factory are made of brick and motar — inedible ones at that! If you’ve tasted Indiska Magic’s Osh el Bulbul Pista (or any of their other Arabian and Indian desserts) and loved it, be informed that this factory in Guindy is where chef El Sayed labours over the nest-like treat.
    With the city taking a huge liking towards his many Arabian desserts of late (during Eid, they sold three tonnes in 15 days and are preparing to produce 10 times these figures for Diwali), we just had to see how Sayed’s team copes with the numbers. Besides, this is also the place where the paneer that is served to you in restaurants like Cream Centre and Bombay Brasserie is made, and that too with equipment designed by their own team of chefs. “We started making 50 kilos a day and now do 600 kilos that we supply to around 50 restaurants in the city,” says Bharat Bhandari, one of the partners, putting things in perspective as we watch men sifting the curd from whey after coagulation. Paneer production starts as early as 5.30 am, while the dessert chefs start chopping, rolling, shaping and baking around two hours later, taking shifts to ensure this kitchen keeps running till 6 pm. This is also where the chefs are constantly working on new products and variations, like the herbed paneer (think rosemary paneer) that is under development.
    “We make around 70-75 sweets (100 kilos) in a day of which 40-50 kilos are Arabian sweets,” says Sayed, as we watch a batch of flower baklava in the making. “Baklava takes three hours to make. That’s why it is the first thing we start with,” he says, adding that they make seven types of the sweet. And among the Indian sweets, it’s the motichur and rose petal delight that get the day started, with the chefs using about 100 kilos of ghee (made on site) in a week. And all of this currently goes to their lone, six-month-old outlet on Harrington Road. “We are looking at another outlet, but that will be post Diwali,” Bhandari says. Meanwhile, be sure to try their banquet package where they set up live counters for a minimum of 500 people.
    Arabian sweets from Rs 600 a kilo onwards. Details: 9176610605

    Ryan Peppin

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