Apart from establishing a mini empire of sorts in the world of apparel, designer Anita Dongre has now launched her first café, Schokolaade. “When I opened my store in Khar, I had kept space for a café,” she mentions, adding, “I’m a dessert freak, so we decided to focus on desserts and sweet offerings.”
Given her involvement with promoting an organic lifestyle — her label, Grassroots, works with cotton farmers in Maharashtra — Dongre wanted the café to imbibe the same philosophy. “I even vetoed a couple of people who were interested in tying up with us because I didn’t want a non-vegetarian café. Plus, we serve organic teas at the moment, which I have paid special attention to because I am a tea drinker myself,” says Dongre.
The dieticians at the designer’s spa, Clay Wellness centre, are also working with the staff at Schokolaade to introduce a low-calorie menu to attract the health junkies.
Mehul Bhuta, CEO, explains that the café hopes to familiarise Mumbai with the concept of petit fours — miniature desserts that offer all the goodness of a full-sized cake without the guilt or sugar rush.
“People were asking if we were doing sugar-free cakes, which are an oxymoron where I’m concerned,” he says, adding, “So we decreased the size of the offerings. The petit fours have completely different flavours from the cakes.”
The team presents innovations from the apricot orange cakes to leprechaun log, featuring a marriage of raspberry, yoghurt and chocolate. But the designer offerings won’t blow a couture-sized hole in your pocket. The petit fours cost Rs 50 on average and the cakes cost Rs 550 to Rs 900. He offers a final sweetener, saying, “We’ve got a special offer, where you can buy a one kg cake for Rs 600 because we want people to try the new flavours.”