This 113 years old Kolkata’s iconic Swiss-style Jewish bakery was set up by Nahoum Israel, an emigrant from Baghdad. For more than a century this place still remains a holy spot for all the foodies craving for brownies, muffins, pastries, tarts, Christmas plum cake or fudge. After Nahoum Israel opened up this shop in the year 1902 it became an instant hit with the then British population and the Anglo-Indian community of old Calcutta. Then the local Bengali foodies also started warming up to these delicacies!
After Israel, his son Elias took over and then David Nahoum took the reins. Recently David also passed away at the ripe age of 86 in March, 2013. But Nahoum’s confectionery still remains the same, it is still synonymous to the old Calcutta. This Swiss patisserie inspired bakery never compromised with their quality and that is why it is still going strong after so many decades and through so many generations. The shop has got several famous customers in recent past as well, like Suchitra Sen, Manna De, Pearson Surita, Bob Wright, Aparna Sen, Usha Uthup, filmmaker Anjan Dutt, Geoffrey Fisher, etc. The place is one of the most visited spots of New Market, it is basically the place to do some ‘tucking in’ after or in-between shopping sessions at New Market area.
LOCATION —– The legendary bakery is located inside Hogg Market, while entering the Hogg Market just ask anyone about Nahoum’s and you will definitely get the directions from him/her 🙂
AMBIANCE —– Today also the place maintains that same vintage look and feel like it was then in 1902. The interiors and the overall ambiance have never changed and till today it is all the same. When you enter this place you are in a time warp and for me this enigmatic sense of time travelling is extremely thrilling apart from the fact that this place in itself is a gastronomical wonderland.
The place still has got all those age old teak wood furnitures and structures, high ceilings and old ceiling fans. The place is not just an over the counter kind-of shop. It has got huge area inside and is quite spacious. The food products are placed at several locations inside the shop and you can walk upto them and pick them according to your preference. It has got one old-fashioned glass showcase where various delicacies are displayed that will attract the passerby. All these old world charms put together this place turns out to be an absolute gem of a bakery.
FOOD —– The food is definitely the strongest point of this place, the reason why it is still going strong and why people come back to this place even today when so many new-age bakeries and fancy cake shops are mushrooming in every part of the city. Even today old loyalists of Nahoum’s swear by their brownies, fruit cakes, tarts, plum cakes, macaroons, fudge, etc. Last week when I was again here at this place I tried out several products like:
a) Brownies — The brownie available at Nahoum’s is very typical of this place, sort of a trademark product. It tastes amazing but it is bit dry and brittle in nature, prices are extremely reasonable and one should try this out for sure.
b) Chocolate Fudge & Vanilla Fudge — On my special request a separate assorted packet of chocolate and vanilla fudge was prepared for me which I carried back home. It is small in size, one packet has got numerous fudges. I personally love the chocolate fudge over the vanilla fudge. Both are soft, smooth textured, extremely sweet and surely they do exude happiness and innocence. Loved by the kids.
c) Heart Cake — One simple muffin that is shaped like a heart symbol. It is so unadulterated and heavenly that you just can’t have one! It is super soft and fluffy and with every bite you will feel like you are on cloud-nine. And it costs just INR 20/- per piece.
d) Choc-o-Nut Biscuits — Yes, you will get various kinds of hand made biscuits here at this bakery that will surely entice your tastebuds. I decided to carry back home one packet of Choc-o-Nut biscuits which are actually very different to taste than regular chocolate biscuits available elsewhere today. It tastes subtle, not overtly sweet, a bit dry but has a lasting sense of chocolaty bliss once you take a bite. It has got desiccated coconut powder, maybe that causes the dryness. The shapes are in general square but shape and size varies since they are cut manually. One packet of these biscuits will just cost you INR 35/-.
SERVICE —– I was really impressed by the enthusiasm of the people serving at this place, such legendary places rarely can boast of great service but this place is an exception. The person handling our order was patient, polite, helpful, well-informed and friendly. He seemed very dedicated to his job as well. The products were billed pretty swiftly and cash was accepted at the counter.
OVERALL —– Here are my granular ratings:
Food quantity: 4/5
Food quality: 4/5
Value for money: 4.3/5
I seriously had an amazing experience each time I visited Nahoum’s. Apart from all these well known items, they have also got buns, breads, cookies, etc which taste way better than packaged buns, breads or cookies available at normal shops. Today after all these years the bakery is running in a much better way, it has been made more streamlined and efficient. So this vibrant place will spread more happiness and give us their signature bakery products for years to come. If you haven’t visited this place then please do pay a visit. And for tourists, a trip to Kolkata is still incomplete even today without one visit to Nahoum’s. Let the legend live long!