The busy Ethiraj Salai is bustling with traffic and chaos, as we look around for a place to grab a bite. As you enter the Fagun Mansion complex, that also houses the VFS office, you can’t help but get intrigued by a purple board that reads ‘Nicky’s Cafe And Fine Pastries’. As we enter the warmly lit place, we feel like we have transcended to a European café. The music and the vibe of the place instills instant happiness and the range of goodies displayed at the counter add to that. But do not mistake the place to be just a patisserie. It has a lovely menu curated by the owner, Nicky Mahboobani. They also have a slew of hot and cold beverages to boot. The place opens as early as 8 am in the morning and is perfect stop for a hearty breakfast.
Nicky is there to personally guide us to a table and inform us about the house specialties. We can’t help but notice that they have expressive walls with buyable art and culinary witticisms strewn all across the place. The smell of coffee also made us reel with hedonistic pleasure.
Talking about his café, Nicky shares he always wanted to start a European-style café where one can relax, unwind over food and music. “After a degree in management in London, I took a break from the family business to go to a Swiss culinary school. I also did a course in European pastry and chocolate making, before working for six months at Bachmann in Lucerne, one of Switzerland’s leading confectioners. “After returning to India, I wanted to create a place that was both a café and patisserie with good music and great food,” shares Nicky as we eagerly sip on to our Peached Iced Tea and take a bite of the cheese-stuffed Mushroom Skewers. The latter is smoky and delightfully mild flavored. This is followed by mock meat (prepared using soya) prepared in barbeque sauce. It has the perfect texture and comes quite close to the real deal! We also absolutely loved the mushroom cream pepper pasta, paneer crumbed burger and hummus salad wrap.
The café is vegetarian, except for the use of eggs in a few baked goodies. Infact, they are on a mission to prove that meatless menus can be varied and interesting. The menu is revamped every few months with new dishes based on feedback from customers and need to offer something different.
Coming to the dessert section – they have it all macaroons, brownies, lava cakes, rainbow pastries, cheesecakes and chocolate truffle. But what we opted for is almost impossible to find in Chennai. They serve churros! It comes with dark chocolate sauce and ice-cream. The churros are giant-sized but light and airy. Once you pour over the sauce and have it along with a spoonful of ice-cream, you will be in seventh heaven. End the meal with a cup of their divine coffee. You surely will not regret it!
Location: Fagun Mansion, Ethiraj Salai, Egmore
Timings: 8 am to 9.30 pm