Best Hot Chocolate Ever! (Part I: South Bombay)

The holidays are upon us and though I hate to sound all ominous, Ned Stark-style, winter IS coming and; with the temperatures dropping, there is no better comfort drink than the perfect mug of hot chocolate.

I think I make a pretty god cup of hot chocolate myself. The recipe is brilliant, inspired by (though I suppose you could say copied from) Joanne Harris’s book Chocolat. Even if you haven’t read the book or seen the movie (which you must watch because Johnny Depp is starring), the recipe is available on her website.

Anyway, there are many different types of fantastic hot chocolate and I have decided to start writing about all the good ones that don’t come out of my kitchen (or Joanne Harris’s).

Given that I’m writing about hot chocolate because temperatures are dropping, I suppose it is rather ironic that I’m beginning with the three best hot chocolate cups in South Bombay. The place has no winter to speak of, however, these hot chocolate variants are so good that I would want to go back for them all year long.

I have never liked Bombay before this.

3. Le Pain Quotidien 

I’ve loved this cafe for years. Till recently, I had only eaten in the outlets in the U.A.E. and I adore their breakfasts, their orange marmalade and their bitter chocolate spread. Last week, for the first time, I tried their outlet in Colaba (I believe they have some four cafes in Mumbai; nowhere else in India, sadly). I was taken there by my enthusiastic brother who had been delighted to discover it, when he moved to Mumbai six months ago, right down the lane from where he lives.

The Bombay LPQ has a different menu from the ones in the UAE but its just as good. Their set breakfasts are great, as is their green juice (I love green juice) and they have a brilliant chocolate french toast. Just look at it!

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Along with this wonderful wonderful plate of french toast, it is essential that you order their hot chocolate. I’m not saying this simply because this post is dedicated to hot chocolate but because the said hot chocolate is brilliant. It is a bowl of semi sweet, milky and chocolate-y goodness that it perfect for warming your fingers before you gulp it down. The finger warming is pretty essential because all the cafes in Bombay are freezing. I suppose the air conditioners give people an excuse to actually use their winter clothes.

The LPQ hot chocolate is brilliant for those who don’t like their hot chocolate too sweet or overwhelmingly chocolatey.

2. Theobroma’s 

The adult hot chocolate at Theobroma’s, which is my brother’s favourite, is a lot like the LPQ hot chocolate. However, this hot chocolate is made extra special with a rather large splash of rum. Served in a tall glass (or in a styrofoam cup if you’re picking it up on the go), it is absolutely perfect for when the wind is even slightly chilly or when its raining. It does rain rather a lot in Mumbai. I suppose thats probably why they have so many good hot chocolate places.

Anyway, I guess this hot chocolate would probably taste great in the horrid summer too. Its hard to go wrong with a combination of chocolate and rum.

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1. Kitab Khana

This was MY favourite cup of hot chocolate. It isn’t for everyone. More like molten brownie fudge or the inside of a chocolate lava cake than what is more commonly viewed as hot chocolate. I don’t even think there is much milk in it. However, if you are like me and have a chocolate saturation point that is almost impossible to reach, you may be able to finish a cup. I promise that you won’t regret it. This is the most decadent and delicious hot chocolate I have ever had. Ever. I do wish it was a little less sweet though, but I suppose one can’t have everything. If they did a dark chocolate version of this, that would probably be perfection itself.

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On second thoughts, its probably pretty perfect already.

So, if you are in South Bombay and feeling cold or if you are in South Bombay and soaked to the skin (which is far more likely) or if you just feel like getting something comforting to drink, try one (or all) of the above!

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