This is what Hansel and Gretel felt like, I thought. All around me gleaming, pristine counters of the choicest desserts, prettiest cakes, and exquisite macarons stare back at me, inviting me into their world. I was at Star Anise patisserie in Bandra, one weekday afternoon, making a lunch out of sugary desserts. Calories be damned!
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
If Star Anise Patisserie is your chocolate factory, and you are Charlie, then Chef Anees Khan has got to be a real life Willy Wonka. With a lot of culinary experience under his belt, Chef decided to go down the dessert route to give us Star Anise – a classic French patisserie with exquisite desserts. (No, Star Anise is not named after him, but is a tribute to the humble spice that he loves cooking with.)
There are tons of options to pick from – if you love chocolate and even if you don’t. The star desserts stand out among the display counter – these are ones you haven’t seen before nor will you find them elsewhere. Aimee is one such star. Dedicated to Chef’s classmate from culinary school, this dome shaped raspberry cremeux is light, and refreshing. Not overtly sweet, this is the perfect dessert to be had over a leisure coffee session with your girlfriend(s)!
Another showstopper is the Flourless Chocolate Cake. The base is a conventional flourless chocolate cake, but one spoon in and you realize this one’s different. A molten lava of chocolate and raspberry jam oozes out making this dessert a perfect blend of chocolate with fruit. Best of both worlds! The Opera – a traditional French pastry characterized by its layers of sponge that come soaked in coffee syrup – was another example of a beautifully executed dessert. What I liked about all three desserts was that they were not cloyingly sweet or overbearingly heavy like many plated desserts can get. The desserts are also very well priced (roughly between Rs. 150-200) considering the quality of ingredients that go into each of them.
My Marie Antoinette Moment
‘If you can’t eat bread, eat cake’, exclaimed the infamous, former French queen. At Star Anise you can eat both. They do a lot of savoury items as well, inspite of being a patisserie. Croissants, quiches, and freshly baked loaves of bread to be paired with fresh brews of coffee. The French influence extends to the dessert counter with traditional French desserts like the Mille Feulle, the Paris Brest, eclairs, and macarons making appearances.
Though I am not much of a macaron fan and find them to be a tad bit overhyped, the strawberry-wasabi macaron at Star Anise had me singing a different tune altogether. An unusual pairing that sounds so wrong, but tasted so right – a crackling outer strawberry shell, with a wasabi filled cream center. Other noteworthy mentions include the array of jams available at the patisserie – original Strawberry, Orange and Apricot Marmalade, and the stellar Spiced Mango and Kaffir Lime Jam.
Will I return to Star Anise Patisserie? Yes. For a cup of coffee along with one of those gorgeous plated desserts. And some of that Strawberry Wasabi macaron. (I only wish they had a larger seating area.) Hopefully I’ll bump into the man behind the magic – Chef Anees Khan – then.
Address: Star Anise Patisserie, Shop 2A, 264 Geeta Niketan, Next to Shoppers Stop, Linking Road, Bandra West, Mumbai 400050.