By ROXANNE BAMBOAT
You can walk into Kayani Bakery on East Street at any time of the day and you will be greeted with the exact same scenario. Hordes of people trying to catch the attention of even one of the servers behind the counter, boxes of biscuits and bread lined up as people buy out half the store leading to almost empty display windows. It is amazing how this Pune-based legendary bakery is practically sold out in the evening every single day!
Famous for their buttery mawa cakes and their shrewsbury biscuits, this five generation old bakery is so much more than just a bakery.
Except for the more modern looking sign board outside, the minute you step inside the bakery looks exactly as it did when it was first opened in 1955, by three Irani brothers. Originally the bakery was part of an Italian restaurant and the beautiful marble flooring that you see inside the bakery today was once part of the restaurant dance floor. The ceiling is from the original plans made from brass and nothing has been re-touched or renovated.
The bakery is operational from 7am till 1pm. Like all original Pune shops, it takes its afternoon siesta and reopens at 3.30pm till 7pm but you will be hard-pressed to get anything post 5 pm. Chances are they're sold out.
The bakery is operational 24 hours a day to be able to cater to the massive volumes its customers demand. The hero on the rather large Kayani biscuit menu (they have over 20 varieties) is their shrewsbury biscuit and believe it or not, they make (and sell) on average 220 - 240 kilos of shrewsbury in a day! Of course there are days when the demand increases and they are inundated with phone calls of customers trying to place an order. Many have been on the receiving end of “aarre par butter ach nathi" (oh but there isn't any butter left). November-December is the only time when the demand for shrewsbury biscuits dips a wee bit due to their tremendously popular Christmas cakes.
Apart from good quality and tasty products, the success of Kayani lies in the fact that it is a very well-oiled machine. Every owner and worker knows his job and strengths and pulls their own weight. It is a team effort and that has made Kayani the household name that it is today. The family is extremely media shy and private and known for not being comfortable with any fanfare or interviews. They are humble folk, happy to feed people. If you happen to visit Pune, make sure to stop by and indulge in some local delights.