If the word baklava sets your cravings on red alert, then you simply can’t miss Hurrem’s Turkish Baklava Confectionery at Jio World Drive.
With its flagship store at Fort, Mumbai, launching mere months before the pandemic, things have only taken a sweeter turn for Hurrem’s. India’s first-ever authentic Turkish baklava brand is making good on its promise to bring handcrafted delicacies to different pockets of the city, the latest home of which is now at Jio World Drive.
The location offers the brand’s familiar Turkish decor coupled with a delightfully arresting menu of sweets and savouries from Levantine cuisine. You may momentarily miss the nut bar and a few entrees the main location offers, however, there’s a whole lot more to look forward to.
A tempting sight behind the glass case, the baklavas, Turkish delights, Meyveli Beyoglu are instantly irresistible. The store’s crowning jewel, however, remains the Havuc Dilimi, a large triangular sliced baklava filled with dry fruits and optionally served with ice cream.
Given an opportunity to slowly and steadily expand in the pandemic, Hurrem’s is now spread across five different locations in Mumbai. According to Ahmed Farid, Promoter and Co-Founder at Hurrem’s, the pandemic offered the brand a chance to establish itself. They managed to develop categories, expand, and use the time to consolidate. The result? As the lockdowns ease, they can still keep up with the times and stay relevant.
One might have thought the menu was perfect as is, but a recent overhaul managed to enhance it nonetheless. The 30 delectable, new additions include the heavenly Kunefe, a Mediterranean delicacy made with cheese and shredded filo pastry. Gunning for the top spot is the newly introduced Trilece, a traditional, rich milk cake.
For those who hit that sweet ceiling too quick, there’s plenty of mouthwatering savouries to balance it out. The range of fine Turkish teas and coffee acts as a wonderful palette cleanser amid the indulgence. As perfect accompaniments, you will find plenty of choices among Kurabiye (a type of shortbread cookies), Turkish tarts, Pide (a traditional flatbread), and Borek (bread stuffed with cheese and spinach).
What sets the confectionary apart isn’t the meticulously curated menu, or even the Turkish influenced furniture and decor. It’s the fact that everything going into the final product has been specially flown in from Turkey. Even the hands preparing the same have been carefully selected, and the chefs have all previously trained in Gaziantep and Istanbul.
While the taste of the extravagant Turkish baklava and assorted fare is unquestionable, the prices are a little steep. As Farid reiterates, there is a literal price to pay for authenticity, and it’s quite a heavy one. And the founders intend to either take a full step towards building their brand, or none at all. So it might be a long time before authentic baklava reaches the suburbs.
Building a brand in the India of today, especially with traditional Middle-Eastern sweets isn’t an easy fare. While customers have travelled and tastebuds have evolved, Farid recalls how people have mentioned an inability to try certain sweets during international visits. The reason? Egg.
Identifying a 70% vegetarian consumer base, Hurrem’s displays commitment to being 100% vegetarian without altering the taste of the final product. As meat finds lesser takers every day in the country, coupled with the recent introduction of the Sattvik Food Certification scheme, this may have been a strenuous but extremely necessary step.
Hurrem’s prides itself on not just the taste, but also the freshness of its products. The baklava is made in-house at the flagship store every day, and nothing is stored beyond a day or two at most.
As restaurants continue to bring exotic cuisines and authentic international cuisines to Mumbai, there is no dearth of exciting food to experiment with. However, the cost and carbon footprint involved might be worth considering as well.