A Kashmiri baker who has captured the heart of Srinagar with his French confections. An international love story with a sweet ending. The trendy side of this ancient city. We checked out Le Delice to see for ourselves what’s so special about the boulangerie on Boulevard and find out what owner Saqib Mir plans to do next…
Srinagar has been singing praises of Le Delice, the fabulous French boulangerie, patisserie, chocolaterie, and more, ever since it opened seven years ago. Owner Saqib Mir, a Paris-trained baker has brought his talent and techniques to a family-owned space the busiest part of Boulevard, the picturesque road that follows the curves of the Dal Lake.
The bake story
Mir, who was in France for 14 years, first completing a three-year diploma at L’Académie de Versailles, shares how he was dazzled by the amazing culture of baking he encountered there. Although Kashmir has its own deep-rooted baking traditions, he was excited by the incredibly creative work by French bakers. After he completed his studies, Mir’s stints at Le Petit Duc in Saint-Rémy de Provence and with Parisian pastry chefs Sébastien Gaudard, Emmanuel Hamon, etc, gave him the grounding he needed to truly understand the art and science of working with chocolate and pastry to create exquisite desserts.
Returning to India with his wife Melanie in 2015, they realised their long-held dream of their own dainty patisserie with Le Delice, which soon took off and was the toasted of the town for its authentic French desserts. His success story has now expanded to include a stylish new set up inside City Mall on MA Road.
The dark side of chocolate
This beautiful bakery is not just for visiting French envoys and tourists though. Mir, who wanted to come back to Kashmir so that his kids could imbibe its culture, tells us how he experimented with different flavours to suit the local tastebuds in the early days. His biggest challenge was to get Srinagar residents to accept the intense and somewhat bitter Belgian dark chocolate, which is what he considers ‘real chocolate’, in the early days. While he initially had to tone it down and use other options, today, his Belgian Chocolate Truffle cakes and pastries are bestsellers.
The ‘Srinagar Paris’ you’ll see on the menu at Le Delice, a choux pastry filled with milk chocolate and caramel mousse, is probably a result of the physical as well as psychological journey that took Mir from the tastes of India to France and back.
Doughing it right
The way to gauge the quality of a bakery in Paris is by the way their baguettes crackle and their buttery croissants flake. Mir’s croissants pass our texture and taste test, as do all his other creations, both sweet and savoury, with flying colours. Apart from a vast variety of excellent pastries, cupcakes, cheesecakes, Danishes, doughnuts, tarts, cookies, chocolate, and savoury pasties, Mir does very French confections such as millefeuille (multiple layers of phyllo pastry with cream, nuts, etc) and gleaming chocolate eclairs too. And his designer cakes have become really popular, with locals and even those planning destination celebrations ordering specialty ones from Le Delice.
‘Loaf’ing around in the lab
Now that Mir has a space where he can experiment even more, there’s constant innovation at Le Delice (which he fondly calls ‘the lab’), with custard-filled Portuguese pastel de natas popping out of the oven one day and the most elaborate and elegant Lemon Charlotte cake the next. His already-rich repertoire of recipes keeps increasing and orders are flying off the shelves, many of them fuelled by the bakery’s prolific Instagram page as well as the most old-fashioned way to reach new customers — word of mouth via satisfied clientele who’ve already stuffed their faces at Le Delice.
TravelDine’s top picks at Le Delice Srinagar
- Caramel & Nut Tart
- Coffee Religeuse
- Cherry Cheesecake
- Charlotte au Citron (Lemon Charlotte)
- Banana Caramel Tea Cake
At a glance
Address: Opposite Ghat Number 9, Boulevard Road, Srinagar & Second floor, City Mall, MA Road, Srinagar | Contact: +918899256432/+919906806896 | Instagram: Le Delice the French Bakery | Prices: Start from Rs 80 for a tart.
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