Mexican coffee buns at Antari



Antari is a café that occupies one end of the Soul Garden Bistro complex in Kilpauk. What took us all the way there was the promise of fresh and hot Mexican coffee buns.



Breads and bakes

Jignesh Pujara

The café is quite tiny and rather quaint. There's a shelf along one wall that holds yeasted delights. The menu is prominently displayed on the wall above the counter and a large oven occupies pride of place in one corner. I'm quite convinced that Antari is a Spanish word but the genial owner, Jignesh Pujara tells me that it's an acronym - a combination of the names of his children!

Everything on the menu is vegetarian, egg-free, mostly organic, some gluten-free and keto friendly; the breads and buns have no preservatives and are baked fresh every day.

There's cutting chai on the menu... and flavoured teas

While waiting for the other bloggers to show up, Jignesh took me across to 196 Degrees Below, the dessert restaurant where I got to watch ice cream being made with liquid nitrogen. There are plenty of flavours and some unusual ones like chawanprash! I stuck to the classic chocolate orange and marvelled at the smoothness of the ice cream.

Chocolate orange ice cream

Peanut butter & hazelnut toppings. The darker bun is coffee, the other, cinnamon

Caramel and white chocolate toppings

Back at Antari, we learnt that the dough for the coffee buns is kneaded, shaped, filled with a cube of cold butter and left to prove. When an order comes in, the patissier pipes a spiral of the coffee cream or cinnamon cream over the top and pops it into the oven. As it bakes, the topping starts to melt and covers the entire top of the bun. The aroma is irresistible. 15 minutes later, it is pulled out and transferred onto a plate. From here onwards, Antari does it a little different from Papparoti or Rotiboy - the buns get one more topping before being served. Our buns had white chocolate with red velvet crumbs, caramel, peanut butter and hazelnut biscuit.
   
What's inside the bun ...oooh...butter!

Organic tea
The coffee buns have a molten buttery centre with a sprinkle of sea salt. Not as soft in texture as the original but considering this is made without egg, it's definitely good. The coffee flavour is not as strong as in the original but hey, who's complaining! The cinnamon crusted bun has a mild cinnamon-y flavour and if you're wondering if it tastes like a cinnamon bun or even cinnabon, then no. The piped crusts tend to soften the longer they sit around and that could also be due to the toppings so for sure they are best eaten hot. As for the toppings (are they really necessary), I liked the hazelnut the best. The peanut butter topping is homemade, the nuts could have done with a little more roasting. Each of the buns was served with a beverage - our choices were cappuccino, spiced chocolate and a moreish hot chocolate that has just 2 ingredients - a chocolate bar and milk. We had 2 flavoured teas as well - mint and mango. Nice mild flavour but it was the cup with the built in strainer and lid that fascinated us.

Each one of these is a combo

Churro

We also had churros with chocolate sauce. It was light but not as airy as the version with egg. The sauce came in a small bowl, perhaps a small jar would have been easier to dip into.

If just a bun is not enough, Café Antari has a combo offer where you can get a bun and a beverage at 249/-

Peri peri idlies; buffalo potatoes

To offset all that sugar, we had peri peri idlies. It's so very crisp, just a bit oily but absolutely delicious. Buffalo potatoes - baby potatoes, skin on and coated with buffalo sauce was devilishly tangy and springy - as in poke them and they spring back.

Butterbeer!

Fans of Harry Potter might be interested to know that Jignesh has concocted his version of butterbeer. It's golden yellow and served with cream on top. You need to mix both together and then drink it. It's sweet, a bit fizzy and a hit with the young ones.

Café Antari is at 86/87 New Avadi Road, Kilpauk, Chennai.
044 48510161.


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