Au Bon Pain (pronounced O-Bo-Pa) literally means ‘the place of good bread’. So when you walk into the ‘international bakey café (as they call it) that’s what they expect you to expect. I like that they call it a bakery café – sets them apart from the gazillion coffee shops around. Not that they don’t serve a mean coffee… but you get the drift! The outlet at Kormangala is located at the Sony world junction. The said junction becoming a kind of a food fest, what with ten to twelve restaurants within a 500 meter radius! Au Bon Pain is quite easy to locate considering the trademark cheery yellow colour of the café. (I have the same colour painted on my walls, so excuse me for thinking it’s a great colour!). That said – where do you park once you reach that junction?? Street parking in this area is like a game of musical chairs and most often than not, you are left without one! We parked next to Sapphire and gingerly crossed the mammoth signal.
Stepped in to a buzz of activity, considering it was lunch time. I guess people would consider this the ‘healthier’ option compared to the fried chicken and cheesy taco across the street. The décor is basic and functional, albeit cheery, which is what we’ve grown accustomed to in a café. Besides, it’s self service, so you shouldn’t expect a fine dining atmosphere! They have different ‘areas’ from where you choose your food and plonk it onto your tray and then go get the whole mish mash billed at the counter. I say mish mash cause that’s how my tray looked. Choices choices! It’s basically a pay for what you eat buffet and thank the lord for that, otherwise I would have more muffins and glazed rolls than the tummy can handle!
They have fresh juices that you can pull out of a dispenser, Salads, a dessert and beverage bar, a soup section, the main course counter and finally the freshly baked goods section (my fav!). So I hobbled across with hubby and we picked up a veritable (questionable) combination of eateries! The Litchi iced tea for me and the apple juice for him. The apple juice was good and seemed au naturale, though I know the litchi ice tea had enough sugar in it to give you a nice afternoon buzz. I also picked up a soup – Tuscan Chicken and veggie. I only did this cause I am a sucker for what they serve it in – a bread bowl! Thankfully someone told me to take the soup in a sensible paper cup and just before eating, to fill up the bread bowl. Excellent advice, considering the amount of time I took in making the rest of my selections, the soup would have definitely either a. got absorbed in the bread or b. breached the bowl wall and made its way down my shirt! I would advise you to try it once. Just for fun!
For the mains I ordered a Jalepeno and Corn crostini and hubby ordered a Turkey, Ham and Cheese sandwich. The crostini was nice and crusty with a hit of garlic. I like my bread to have a bit of character and be crusty and chewy, but I doubt the rest of the population would agree. The sandwich on the other hand was quite insipid for the price. Slice of turkey and ham on a bed of wilted lettuce and tomato soaking the bread is not what I would pay good money for. I’ve had the Mediterranean Humus and Olive sandwich on a different occasion and that was actually decent. There’s other ‘Indian’ stuff on the menu like biryani’s and paneer etc., but I fail to understand why someone would come here and order that. Go to Richies or an Andhra mess! In a bakery – head to the baked goods, and that’s exactly where my heart lies!
At the freshly baked goods counter, my hand was making these strange uncontrollable movements and at the end I had four things on the tray. (Note to self: All their breads are trans fat free.. Yeah!). Chocolate muffin was good and hubby said he would definitely grab this for brekkie. I loved the Blueberry Danish, it was all jammy and buttery and crisp in the right places. The Cinnamon Roll however was to die for! It had the right hit of cinnamon and sprinkling of raisins and topped with a sugar glaze….heaven! I headed to the beverage section to get some water… needed to cleanse the palate you see. All these varied flavors were playing tic tac toe on my tongue. Hubby picked up a Chocolate mousse on the way back (yes, I know its gluttony!). Now, I’m not generally a mousse person but this was great. Dark chocolate glaze, raisins embedded in the mousse, sinfully rich. Yes sir, that hit the spot!
Will I go back to Au Bon Pain? (19 outlets in Bangalore, apparently). Yes, for the baked goods and desserts. (Their Bagels are insane by the way, divine with the cream cheese. Tried this on a different occasion). The sandwiches however left me wanting. Not because of the taste, but because of the quantity and associated price. Maybe I should try the Indian next time… Actually Na! The service needs a special mention – helpful without being intrusive and as cheery as the yellow walls 🙂 That said, for the convenience of a quick bite in a happy setting, I would definitely pick this one over the other café options!
AU BON PAIN
No. 650, 6th Block, Koramangala,
Ward No. 67, Bengaluru – 560095.
Landmark: Sony Center Crossing
Bakery Café, Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. No Alcohol. Accept Credit Card.
Parking: Street, actually bylanes.
Other Outlets I know: Cunningham Rd, Indiranagar 12th Main, Old Madras Road (RMZ Infinity)
Price Point – Beverages – Rs.35-75. Sandwiches – Everything is less than Rs.150/- (Except for the turkey and Ham Sandwich), Desserts – Rs.55-75/-. Baked Goods – I don’t care, they were so good! Ok, they were all less than Rs.60/-.