The pastries of Pondicheri [NYC}

The Honey Mesquite cake at Pondicheri in Manhattan (15W 27th) was rated by Pete Wells
of the NYT as one of the 10 best things he’d eaten in NY in 2016.

I tried it in January. It was not even among the ten best things I’d eaten in 2017, too sledgehammer-like
with its honey, and its mesquite, and too stiff and coarse with its texture.

Other pastries there are much better, although they all suffer from a somewhat over-enthusiastic
hand with flavoring:

Clockwise, there’s a savory, peppery, cuminy shortbread, an excellent lemon-avocado pastry, a superb
mawa-cardamom cake, and a rather dry pistachio financier.

The mawa cake is, in my book, the winner. Mawa is milk condensed to a near solid (known as
khoya, khawa, etc., depending on where in India you’re from), and rich cakes made with mawa
are a staple of Parsi bakeries in Bombay/Mumbai. This is the only place in the U.S. I’ve seen
these (although the Pondicheri version overdoes the cardamom and underdoes the mawa).
I highly recommend you try them, at least as something that’s (a) quite different from anything
else you’re likely to get at an Indian restaurant in the U.S., and (b) rather good.

(The non-sweet food at Pondicheri is interesting and unusual, too.)


You have piqued my interest on the mawa cake. I am not in NYC but where we live there is a large population of Indian tech workers. There are quite a few places that serve them. I will give them a try some day.

Interesting review. Thanks.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold