Sitting inside a powdered white, rustic Grecian inspired cafe, the shaded broadwalk outside almost resembled a quaint cobbled street of an old town in Europe. The verdant shadow of towering trees that Bangalore was once famous for, and a surprisingly quiet neighbourhood — we’d been transported into an old town setting. This Mediterranean inspired café sits pretty on Ali Askar Road, inviting all with its blue tinged décor, classic. The hustle and bustle of the mad rush of Cunningham Road is a distant memory, here you can rejuvenate your mind, and hungry stomach. Dolci Desserts is not new to its regulars. Yet, it’s newness comes from the simplistic Mediterranean and is a wonderful breather, where one can dive into the most delectable desserts (21 and still counting) and a succinct menu, all vegetarian, of Italian and European servings, with the best coffee this side of town. Don’t ask us, ask the many who amble into this refreshingly cute trattoria that takes you back into an era where life was Le Dolce Vita. The desserts are totally lipsmacking, and even if you are not a sweet tooth, the array of goodies from their ovenerie, which also has whole grain bread, sundried foccacio etc, come resplendent with colour, cream, delicate-hued goodness, we ordered one too many!
The menu is succinct — quick home-cooked Italian and European fare— — pizzas, pastas (homemade), salads, soups, burgers, wraps, health meals (recently introduced) with gluten-free and vegan offerings, for instance a ragi pizza, pumpkin soup, detoxifying smoothies, etc. We ordered Caesar Salad. A brightly coloured highback chair with a few wooded tables feels like a warm welcoming living room, and the cute balcao with tables at the entrance, under chirping birds, hidden by vines, Dolci is a resting place for the weary, hungry and dessert-loving. The owner is the friendly and anecdote-ready Shipra Kumar, whose dream as a child was to open a friendly neighbourhood café that sat confident and easy in its identity, serving delicious morsels. The housewife started Dolci Desserts nine years ago, but the revamped wonderous Mediterranean avatar speaks of calm and contentedness. The fact that she married into a hospitality family (her husband owns Clarke’s Exotica and her older son Udit looks after heritage property Brijrama Palace in Varanasi), it was but a matter of time before Shipra embarked on her own potions, choosing baked delights. Once the decision was made, Shipra packed her bags, and did a short baking course at Le Cordon Bleu London, came back idea brimming… and started serving sinful, eggless, eggfull, delicious desserts with a menu of Italian wholesome fare. “Dolci has been a passion-driven business. I have nurtured it through the years, and now my younger son Arnav adds his managerial and creative expertise. The idea was to have a small café with wholesome food. Since I am a vegetarian (who eats egg), I myself was not comfortable eating in a kitchen where meat is cooked. So we decided on a vegetarian-only café (with egg). We offer fresh food with no preservatives, our doughs are made in-house, breads, bases, sauces too and even our pastas, like lasagne and ravioli are made in our kitchen,” pipes Shipra whose desserts are legendary — be it eggless wonders, meringue, cheese cakes at the counter or customised fondue cakes and fresh flower wedding cakes (a rage), “only on order” for clients. Arnav will also be adding wine to the menu soon. Many a times, good things come in small packages. And Dolci Desserts is of that echelon.
We started our happy meal in a happy space with Caesar Salad, which the cashier-cum-service staff brought a bit harried as five tables awaited their order. Quick to come, but poor fellow. Freshest of fresh, crunchy iceberg, but it had cherry tomatoes and toasty croutons. We would have loved the good ole’ Romaine lettuce that gives Mr Caesar its gobble-worthy texture. Confused, we realised that in the din, we had instead got the Capers Salad, which was perfect, delicious and over in no time. We do hope the Caesar comes Romained in crunch. Next time, for sure.
For mains, it was pizza capricciosa with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, button mushrooms, artichokes and olives. The pizza in thin crust was toasty, a delicious tomato sauce, and a profluence of artichokes and mushrooms. Yummy, moist in filling and perfectly buttery for hungry hogs! With the freshest drizzle of olive oil, scumptious. Pasta came next, we ordered pasta alfredo… with butter, cream, mushrooms in a reggiano-parmigiano exuberance. Phew. It was perfect, al dente, a nice voluptuous serving, enough creaminess, and yummy mushrooms to nibble (more mushrooms would have been yummier)… Delicious with freshly toasted garlic bread. Dolci Desserts, is called so because of Shipra’s prelediction to the sinful trail of yummies thanks to her Cordon Bleu teachings as it means sweet, and sweet it is. People love their coffee, espresso or cappuchino, which is made of two sourced beans. Romantic college couples sit on their balcao ordering sweet somethings to go with their sweet nothings (sic)! We would have loved to taste the avocado wrap, and healthy meals. Shipra and Arnav add, “There are many people going vegan and gluten-free, so we have a ragi pizza, pumpkin soup, detoxifying smoothies and gluten-free desserts.” Arnav swears by his mom’s hummus too.
The New York Cheese Cake was a creamy dollop of goodness, delicious, and so was the popular six layered cake. The nutella fudge, and mudcake slice were gooey, and surprisingly, not oversweet. Moist goodness. The nutella cheese cake was scrumptious, and the raspberry cheese cake was a whole deal of cream and taste. Arnav who studied engineering at Warwick in the UK hopes to offer wines soon, and is looking into the wellness space with a chain of studios with meals, nutrition, doctors, fitness all under one roof… especially for post-pregnancy weight loss. The manager Prabhat, head chef Prakash and the team have an aroma inducing kitchen filled with the best of fare, all handmade in terms of pastas, dough etc. Shipra recommends the ricotta and cheese ravioli in pink sauce and the pumpkin ravioli too. The taste is Italian, and the feel is European. The strains of world music, macarons and more, it’s perfect for a quick lunch or early dinner, though all vegetarian. Given Shipra's been in business for nine years, expect delicious homemade Italian. A refreshing change, made us wish we were in an old town in the middle of Europe! For the time being though, this will do just fine.
Dolci Desserts, 18/3 Ali Askar Road
Meal for two: Rs 1000 onwards
Dessert for two: Rs 600