This cosy bakery on the ground floor of one of Pune's premier hotels was for a long time an undiscovered treasure in the heart of the city. Oddly, instead of letting popularity ruin it, the Pune Baking Co. seems to have become impatient and committed harakiri.
It started out serving coffees and pastries in one corner of the hotel's immense atrium. The selection of coffees is excellent. South African, East African and even French Roast are on the menu along with tried & tested classics like the cappuccino, mochaccino and latte. They serve every coffee with a tiny biscuit that varies with the coffee. There're shakes too, and some yoghurt based berry drinks for the health conscious. Everything on the menu is excellent, and a single latte will suffice for two.
I've had many interesting conversations here and it has become a breeding ground for ideas and intellectual stimulation. The food was never really great, but it wasn't bad. Some puffs and some sandwiches - nothing out of the ordinary. The waiting staff is very well trained and always courteous.
An outside seating area exists, but I've never occasioned to go there. Near one corner there's a refrigerated section stocking imported drinks. There's also a bookrack with a selection of magazines from around the world and some exquisitely destined Lonely Planets. All of these make for good reads and the management seems to welcome window shoppers - an admirable and apt policy. A big fake (and apparently hollow) chocolate cake sits waiting on the counter surrounded by lollipops and gum balls. There's also crazy things like chocolate CDs, a chocolate iPhone and a chocolate car - and they're all for sale, though nothing ever leaves the shelf. The atmosphere is perfect for conversation and late night dates. Or at least it used to be.
A couple months ago, the 24x7 was cut drastically short and the cafe now goes lights out by midnight. Worse still, the prices have climbed unchecked and, truly, only the 1% can afford to buy a snack with their coffee. The price for a joe has gone from 100 to 165. Those tiny biscuits that were like surprise gifts now seem a pittance, sitting there mocking you for being robbed in broad daylight. Cookies can be evil.
Sadly, at this rate, it's just a matter of time before the cafe goes belly up.