Oh Dough smells of everything it should smell of: chocolate, cream, flour, butter, coffee, sugar. Outside, its small black and white sign is lit up bright enough to glow over a sea of umbrellas outside on a grey, very wet day. Inside, these aromas are complemented by warm incandescent light, grey patterned encaustic tiles, pretty whitewashed wood, a mirrored arched faux window, marble-topped tables with whimsical wooden chairs in varying heights, and Mumbai-themed cookie tins we want to collect.
On a soggy day, few things beat Oh Dough’s pistachio truffle ice cream. You would think something cold and wet wouldn’t work when you’re cold and wet, but it’s the truffle that changes things – the fungus’ head-suffusing toasty, buttery, wet earth smell (even if it comes from a bottle ) is a close cousin of the petrichor outside. Pair it with any warm crumbly cookie from the display case right up front – we chose intensely chocolatey triple chocolate, made with dark, milk, and white – and the staff quarters and arranges it around the scoop. Add a mug of hot caffeine, and you may want to linger, ignoring the large wall clock radiating egg beaters.
Except this, Oh Dough is small. On one weekday afternoon it was crowded with exactly the sort of crowd found in grown-up pastry shops in hip neighbourhoods anywhere – lots and lots of excitable college girls, a couple of them who may have arm-twisted a sweet boy along.
Good thing then that their cookies and loaves travel well. Owner Pawan Chawla, who was manning the till, kindly suggested we warm our baked goods in a microwave oven for a few seconds before we consume them. The sweet shop’s cookies are delicious; they aren’t the best in the city, but some are certainly unique. We tried chipzel with salty chips, savoury pretzels, and chocolate chunks; and vivid, deep pistachio – we’d be hard pressed to find their equivalents elsewhere. They’re crumbly, softly chewy inside and gently crisp outside, but it also takes only one to ensure a sugar rush. Ice creams here are as wild, but thankfully more measured in their sweetness: black sesame is the colour of an overcast sky, redolent and speckled with the toasted nutty seeds; salted caramel is intently salty; smoky vanilla, almost sorbet-like in its lightness, has a measure of pleasant char.
Anyone can put cookies on their ice cream at Oh Dough, but lovers of red velvet can OD – red velvet on red velvet. Garnet scoops contain knobs of slightly tart, fudgy cream cheese frosting, so a matching cookie contrasts with crumb. If you have to wait, as we did, for a fresh batch of lemon loaf cake, do. The cake is exceptional, it has a fine balance of tart and sweet, and calls to you after the first bite until you have wiped up the last crumb.
While you wait, ask to taste as many ice creams as you can. If there is one thing sweeter than Oh Dough’s cookies, it’s their service.
What: Oh Dough
Where: Hind Rajasthan Chambers, 6 Allana Marg, opposite Burma Burma, Fort
When: Daily 11am to 11.30pm
Cost: Cookies Rs 85 to Rs 135 each; ice cream Rs 125 to Rs 140 for a scoop; loaves Rs 350 each; drinks Rs 90 to Rs 190
The author tweets @RoshniBajaj