There is a certain kind of charm to nondescript-looking bakeries in Mumbai. The limestone-chuna-coated walls are usually crumbling, the floors are either solid uneven stone or have chipped mosaic tiles, and the overall appearance is shabby. But the moment you catch the wafting smell of mawa cakes and buttery biscuits, the spartan ambience is a nonissue. Nazneen Bakery is one such spot; tucked into the ground level of 113 year-old Shanti Niwas in Mumbai’s Seven Bungalows area, the bakery is a landmark location for most local residents.
The bakery gets its name from Nazneen Irani, who is the bungalow’s now septuagenarian owner Perin Irani’s daughter. As old as the bungalow itself, the bakery was owned by the Irani family and then sublet to Srichand Peswani, a Sindhi businessman in 1974. Peswani’s sons Manoj and Gansham now run the bakery that distributes its products to over 40 other stores across the city. The roughly 500 sq feet space is divided into a small square cash counter, a display room lined with colourful tutti frutti biscuits and golden cakes, and a spacious room where all the products are packaged by hand. The smell of freshly baked goods was even more intense when it was all made in this small space, but as demand increased, the making had to be shifted to a proper kitchen space elsewhere.
Most patrons make their way to the bakery post their morning and evening walks at the Nana-Nani Park, which is right opposite to Shanti Niwas. Owners Ghansham and Manoj have fond memories of seeing the original seven bungalows which once flanked the bakery on all sides. “There was a dead end here and no buildings, only bungalows, the original seven bungalows of the time,” says Gansham.
The bakery has stood the test of time as Shanti Niwas is one of the last original bungalows to have survived the onslaught of real estate greed. Although the bungalow is in a state of disrepair and abandon as Irani doesn’t live there anymore, Nazneen bakery continues to thrive.
Exact Location: Nazneen Bakery, 7 Bugalows Road, Versova, Opposite Nana-Nani Park
Must Try: The crumbling goodness of their Coconut Baath Cake.
Other Bestsellers: Nankhatai and Eggless Cakes
Pet Friendly: Yes! Happy doggy Oreo is usually curled up behind the cash counter.