Adnan Vahanvaty combines business acumen with food.
I make the best brownies in Delhi,” says Adnan Vahanvaty, without a shred of modesty. I haven’t had a chance to sample the competition, but I must say the brownies at Vahanvaty’s outlet, Bagels and Brownies, are pretty good. And the brownie only ever so slightly overshadowed a fantastic bagel sandwich.
As a product of the hospitality industry, it isn’t difficult to get Vahanvaty started about food. The 25-year-old, after his education and a stint with the Radisson Group in the UK, decided to give in to his entrepreneurial streak. Students of Delhi University’s North Campus might remember him for having started a Moroccan restaurant-cum-hookah joint called Ziah. The restaurant soon had a branch in Rohini. It was also the first lesson for Vahanvaty in business. “I had to close the place down because the indoor smoking ban came into force. The joint couldn’t work without hookahs,” he says.
He decided to invest his money and energy in the humble bagel. The bagel is a variety of bread popular in the USA and Europe. It is traditionally shaped by hand into the shape of a ring, from yeasted dough. Before baking, it is boiled for a short time in water. The result is a dense, chewy, doughy interior with a browned exterior. The bagel, it is said, was first made in Kraków, Poland, and is popular in Jewish families, as the bread baked after Sabbath.
Vahanvaty felt the bagel was the ideal choice for a quick snack or a healthy but filling lunch for those on the go. He says it is an alternative to a sub sandwich, which uses a baguette. The main difference in a bagel sandwich is the absence of salad stuffing. To complete the menu, Vahanvaty added brownies, as he had picked up a passion for baking in England.
Vahanvaty says, “We now have 12 varieties of bagel sandwiches and 22 types of brownies. You wouldn’t believe the kind of combinations we have. In fact, for the brownies, I decided to use some popular chocolates such as Toblerone, After Eight, Ferrero Rocher,, et cetera.”
To keep his two outlets in Delhi’s Greater Kailash and Malviya Nagar running, Vahanvaty started his own mini industrial bakery. That had an interesting spin-off. He now bakes any kind of bread, pastry or chocolate for customers who place an order. “I do trick chocolates, like the ones that have Tabasco sauce inside. Then, cakes for bachelor parties, you know what you get there. We have a unique printer, using which you can print anything on your cake,” he says.
Vahanvaty now plans to take his chain across the country. He says he must because he is deluged with orders. “I have to refuse to sell my bagels as a conventional industrial bakery would do. There are some long-time customers whom I sell to, but I want to propagate my business only in the Bagels and Brownies format,” he says.
OLIVE, TOMATO AND CHEESE BAGEL SANDWICH
40 gm diced tomatoes
30 gm chopped olives
15 ml mayonnaise
Cole slaw (optional)
Slice a bagel horizontally and toast the insides in an oven for two minutes. Spread mayonnaise evenly on both halves. Layer cole slaw, olives, tomatoes and cheese (in that order) on the bagel base. Place the other bagel half on the layered base. Heat in a microwave to melt cheese for 30 seconds (optional).
MALAI TIKKA BAGEL SANDWICH
70 gm sliced malai tikka
20 gm sliced onions
2 gm mint paste
15 ml mayonnaise
Cole slaw (optional)
Slice a bagel horizontally and toast the insides in an oven for two minutes. Spread the mixture of mayonnaise and mint paste evenly on both halves. Layer cole slaw, hot malai tikka and onions (in that order) on the bagel base. Place the other half on layered base.