When someone tells me that there is a vegetarian version of a non veg dish that I must try, I look up. When it comes from a hard core foodie who is a pure non vegetarian, then my brain is deciding when, how and who to go with. When the guy says he is going back there two days in a row and is willing to drive me, I'm sold!
And that is how I was introduced to Nicky's Fine Baking and Cafe. The dish in question here was the Pao, which I think they call Bao. Or maybe there are two ways to pronounce and spell it, I don't know. When in Hong Kong, my friend told me that I must absolutely taste the Pao/Bao and I took a trek to try it out from what he said was a great place for Pao! I had the veg version there because they ran out of chicken and the other option was pork, which I don't eat, and OH MY GOD, it was awesome.
So after my friend placed order for the Pao, my eyes wandered to the counters which had delicious looking food. The one thing that wasn't delicious looking was the sandwich. The chef/owner who was besides the place then walked over and suggested we try the sandwich the next time. My friend and me looked at each other and thought, why come back, let's do it now! And so the sandwich landed on our table.
So, here is something that needs to be told. Nicky's, at least now, is a cafe that is very Swiss, but vegetarian. Dishes are not completely tweaked to suit our South Indian palate yet, but on the flip side gives a glimpse into how simple street side cafes in small town Swiss towns are. The perfect example was the size of the sandwich which immediately brought back memories from Switzerland. Quarter size breads, simple, but tasty fillings! The pao arrived and it was simply awesome. Baked to perfection, the flour was soft, just right with the sweet (yes, it is slightly sweet and that is how it is supposed to be) and the filling was fabulous.
For dessert, we were debating between two desserts and a very French (I think) dessert, called St. Llorine (I think), which had a nice shortbread crust, some mango, some choux pastry and caramel, won the debate. The chef was quick to say that this is not the original version and that the original version has something else instead of the short pastry and the caramel is dipped..........well, it doesn't matter. The dessert was nice. The bill for the above and a nice macron was Rs. 425.
I plan to go back and try the rest of the stuff and also learn a little more about the chef who has trained in Switzerland. Wonder if he can make a fondue! Wink Wink. The menu is very interesting as they do stuff on order and they make profiterole and macaroon towers like the ones we see in Masterchef Australia! Wooooo.....
Vegetarian cuisine is not been getting justice in Chennai and places like this show us the there is so much more to veg cuisine and I am very glad! OK, this is not pure veg as they have egg based stuff, but still........