<Sailesh Ghelani>

Ever eaten at a chain coffee shop? The food’s not always great there. Stuck in a fridge and then heated up for you, it usually tastes like cardboard. And there’s not much choice either. But, Starbucks, which makes about 23% of their sales in India from food (the highest in the world), has realised this and in an effort to spice up their menu and please your taste buds, they’ve introduced a whole new menu at their Mumbai and Pune outlets to start off with.

Let the tasting begin

I, along with some other popular food bloggers and restauranteurs were invited to the Starbucks at Fort, Mumbai for a special tasting.

I posed a question that was on everyone’s mind but they were too polite to comment: “We were being served food that was freshly prepared and heated up for us. But when the prepared foods are stored in the fridge and then heated up in the oven, they don’t always taste as good. And they don’t always look great in the fridge display either.”


The Director of Supply Chain answering my query

Apparently, the good chefs who prepare the tasty treats have taken all this into account. The breads for the sandwiches and other foods has been specially baked to be moist so they don’t lose that precious quality when they’re sitting in the fridge. Also, the food is reheated in an oven, and not in a microwave. Some assembly of the dishes happens at the store as well to minimise loss of quality in storage.

What’s unique about the new menu is that they have something for breakfast, lunch and a quick dinner and dessert as well. I especially liked the breakfast sandwiches – egg and a veg option – that were delicious and filling. If you’d prefer some brioche with hazelnut chocolate or an option with ricotta and jam (my favourite) then they have those too. Not much to look at, but pleasing on the palate, if only the ricotta’s consistency was a tad better. I wouldn’t recommend the double chocolate chip cookie to anyone who is a cookie lover though.

Ah those breakfast sandwiches were tasty

For lunch they have some savoury empanadas in a mutton and a veg version, which are quite nice. There’s also a chicken ham and cheese brioche sandwich that has that homely feel about it, though it’s a tad too blah. And for those who prefer their snacks Indian, Starbucks now has a Chole Masala Wrap that’s served with mint chutney and mango chundo.

Savoury Empanada


Chole Masala Wrap


Some breakfast treats


New York Cheesecake is an all-time classic, which even though I didn’t think they got quite right, it’s still a nice option with the mixed-berry coulis. The Spanish Tres Milk Cake was sickly sweet and the whipped cream tasted artificial. The kids will like the Fudgy Brownie Pie that’s more like a Lava cake.

Of course, coffee (Pike Place) was served black, I prefer mine with milk and sugar. The Hibiscus and Passion Lemonade Tea refreshed the taste buds sufficiently, but the Iced Vanilla Latte lacked sufficient vanilla flavour. Perhaps it’s all that watering down that happens when they top cold beverages up with way too much ice at chain cafes.

The Fudge Brownie

The New York Cheesecake

All the feedback was given, and taken in good spirit since they are serious about their mission to provide relatively good snacking options to pair with their wonderful beverages.


The customary selfie with the gang

I’m glad at least one of the chain cafes are taking food seriously and have realised what needs to be done to make the experience a bit better. As someone who stays away from those fridge unit, reheated foods, I may now have an option to grab a snack with my coffee and a reason to walk into a Starbucks instead of a pizza joint for a casual date or meetup. Cheers to that and bon appetite.


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