I will never forget the first time I had a brownie. In fact it was the classic combination of brownie and vanilla ice cream.
That was way back in 1998 when I'd come to an agency called Trikaya Grey from Calcutta to make a research presentation to the client. The folks from T G ordered food from a restaurant called Soul Curry at Phoenix Mills. At that time, Soul curry was the only restaurant in P M. P M was just a demolished mill with a lot of contruction work going on. And had nothing else other than Soul Curry.
Since then Trikaya Grey has become Grey. Grey is no longer at Phoenix Mills. I left Calcutta. Soul Curry doesn't exist. Phoenix Mills is now a busy mall with perhaps twenty eating joints, a multiplex and a bowling alley.
But I will never forget the taste of the brownie and ice creams that I had that day. I was a trainee and a year into working. The head of my office was there. As was the head of T G and now of G. The client has some bigwigs too. But that didn't stop me from asking for a second helping. And I must say that my hosts were very gracious and I had much better luck than Oliver Twist.
My acquaintance with brownies grew after a chocoholic called Kainaz came into my life.
We started with splitting a delectable, puddingish sliver of a brownie at Leos while we were dating. Unfortunately they still serve the brownies from the same batch at Leos. The brownie was fairly crumbly and stale when we went back to Leos ages after those heady days.
We then tried the wickedly named Brownie Point at Bandra. They have a range of brownies which are not too expensive, big and coarse. K and I have given it our thumbs down and stay clear of it. After all size doesn't matter when it comes to brownies. Their stuff is too primitive and rudimentary for our tastes.
The brownies of Theobroma at Colaba have a strong fan following. For obvious reasons. They have this amazing range of very well flavoured, soft and petite brownies. You just take a bite of their brownie and wait as it melts in your mouth. Chewing is not required here. We always make a pilgrimage to Theos when we are at Colaba. I love their rum and raisin ones the most.
Brownie Cottage would be a strong contender to Theos. This a chain with little outlets at malls and at Carter Road at Bandra. They have a wide variety - chocolate chips, a range of nuts, fancy chocolates such as Lindt, Toblereone, Ferroro Roche, After Eights. Though their basic chocolate brownie is what we, in Mumbai, call 'cheapest and best'. These are pure mushy bites of heaven.
The brownies at Theos and Brownie Cottage are smaller than those at Brownie Point but are leagues ahead. As they say, great brownies come in small packages.
But the winner in my brownie stakes is Candies. They have simple chocolate brownies. They too are in the small family and cost Rs 25 or 30 (0.5 USD). They get over like hot cakes and are difficult to spot as the day progresses. They are soft. They are sweet. They are sticky. They are chocolatey. They are full of walnuts. They are yummy. They make me happy. I try to make each bite last a lifetime.
And, I am going to have one after dinner tonight.