New Delhi: A white grand piano takes up an entire wall of Elma’s Bakery, Cakes and Tea Room, a quaint new addition to Hauz Khas Village, named after the owners’ dog. Run by Gautam Arora and Smita Singh, who also own The Living Room Café in the vicinity, Elma’s is set to open officially on 1 September after months of tastings.
The teas—black, green, jasmine and other floral infusions—are sourced from an organic estate in Coonoor, Tamil Nadu; the chocolate, cheese and butter come from Europe.
The décor is fitting: green and white tiles for the open kitchen; carved wooden furniture, gingham drapes, lace doilies and porcelain curios for the parlour. A sideboard displays the best of Elma’s gold-rimmed china. Reserved for special occasions, these are teasets that Singh has foraged over the years from vintage shops in London. There’s even the customary coat hanger to prepare the scene for servings of Raspberry Courting Cake and Yorkshire Curd Pudding.
The ‘propah’ touch: Chef Shelly Sahay at Elma’s cake counter. Priyanka Parashar/Mint
The good stuff
On offer are a commendable variety of breads: walnut and raisin, pumpernickel, chocolate, bacon and sausage loaves. Pastries include traditional preparations with deviant twists. Take, for instance, the palmyras that have a touch of cinnamon and the rich chocolate brownies with their subtle orange notes (yes!). It’s also one of the few places in the city you’ll get madeleines—made famous by Proust: a simple small cake that serves as a good test for a pastry chef.
There are plenty of options for vegans and the gluten-allergic too—soy milk desserts and flourless zucchini cakes.
We recommend the walnut and raisin bread with some of chef Shelly Sahay’s home-made mixed-berry jam. Try the chorizo puffs and the mushroom and corn quiche with the heavenly coarse mustard that she serves.
What is a let-down is the limited range of teas (eight) for a place that calls itself a “tea room”. While the kali zoolph and kali moti organic black teas were fabulous, the jasmine and rose infusion was not well brewed, with too much jasmine and too little rose (Rs125 per cup). With the plan to introduce scones, waffles, home-made ice cream, fondue and macarons (this is a British bakery with a French twist), we fear the boutique outfit might be on the verge of a manic expansion.
High tea for two, which includes a pot of tea and a three-tiered serving of an assortment of sandwiches, puff pastries, quiches, brownies and biscotti, costs Rs800. Other pastries are priced at Rs120-250; breads, Rs100-250.
Private high-tea spreads can be arranged for up to 30 people for Rs1,500-2,000 each (you’ll also be paying for the pianist).
Elma’s Bakery, Cakes and Tea Room, 24/1, Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi. Opening 1 September.