I recently had the opportunity to visit Giruz Bakery at Baani Square (Sector 50) for lunch and bread tasting during their soft opening. I have been eagerly awaiting their opening as there is a dearth of unique bread shops here in Gurgaon. I can easily find white or whole grain sliced breads, but few groceries offer speciality breads more than just a baguette or croissants, choosing to focus more on pastries than the wide array of tasty bread options. I previously tried L'Opera (at Galleria Market in DLF Phase 4 of Gurgaon and Hauz Khas Village in South Delhi) and the DLF Phase 5 Club bakery (on the ground floor of the main building near the central sitting area). L'Opera was hailed by my French friend (living in Bangalore with even less options than here) as fantastic and a much needed reminder of home. They have an excellent selection of pastries, specialty jams, and an array of teas, if you're into that kind of thing. The baguette and croissants are both quite good - their website boasts of several additional options that I have never seen fresh in the shops, but that could just because I don't make it over early enough to indulge. My parents loved their chocolate pastry.
|Post-sightseeing snack at L'Opera Hauz Khas|
I've only bought baguettes from the Phase 5 Club, and they were fine. However, their website also lists a number of bread options, most of which are gone by the time I stop in. I clearly need to prioritize my bread shopping! My problem is that I don't eat baguettes nearly fast enough and by nature they go stale and hard almost immediately. However, I learned from Giruz that in order to avoid wastage you should immediately freeze whatever you won't eat within the day. You can then later defrost piece by piece and they're just as fresh.
What I didn't realize when I dropped into Giruz's bakery was that they also have a small cafe. I visited during their taste testing phase so they did not yet have a set menu and I was treated to a wide array of dishes they were testing on customers. Full disclosure: I did not pay for this meal (I did purchase my breads and cakes though); the owner is a friend who invited me for taste testing. I did not receive any compensation for this review and she did not ask me to write this - she just knows I love fresh bread and hopes I'll become a loyal customer.
Baani Square, while most consider it "out of the way" since it's not on Golf Course Road and is closer to Sohna Road, it's actually quite conveniently located next to the Hilton Garden hotel on Vikas Marg near Hibiscus and Nirvana Country. I live in Phase 5 and it's a short 10 minute drive most times of the day. There is a vast array of restaurants in this small shopping arcade. Other than Giruz, I've visited their fast food version of Lebanese food, Lub Lub (also quite good). I've also heard good things about The Spice Lab and Big Wong, but can't personally vouch for them. Giruz is located on the ground floor central section opposite Big Wong. They are a small and cozy cafe, with smart French country decor. If you still find it daunting to venture over yonder, Giruz also offers delivery options.
I started with vada pav, the pav, of course, was made fresh in house. It differs slightly from the traditional version in that the pakora, while still made from fried mashed potato batter, seasoning, and curry leaves, was not drenched in oil like most fried foods here. The sauces add another twist, with a topping of red chili sauce and a green coriander, ginger, garlic, and onion masala chutney.
|Fresh vada pao|
|Bruschetta on a French garlic bread baguette|
Next up was some bruschetta on a toasted French garlic bread baguette. As this was their time to experiment with tastes and recipes, the chef added a twist of some chopped up olives to the traditional tomato and basil drizzled with olive oil which didn't strike my fancy since I despise olives (weird since I adore olive oil), but was good overall. Both crunchy and savoury with not too much oil or topping that the bread becomes soggy. My friend was not thrilled with the addition either, so I imagine if you order this dish today you'll get a more traditional version.
|Garlic cheese toast on a toasted French baguette|
For something a bit more filling, the chef prepared his own special recipe of butter chicken with coleslaw on foccacia bread. It was served with thin crispy fries, salted to perfection. It was by far my favorite dish. The foccacia bread was to die for. The bread was crisped on the outside and soft on the inside and topped with herbs and homemade sundried tomatoes. I'm not usually a fan of butter chicken as it is usually sweetish rather than savoury, but without the sugar laden gravy and the addition of the chef's specialty coleslaw, it was delicious! The coleslaw was not your traditional cabbage and vinaigrette mix, but instead had a kick to it. I'm assuming that was from the gherkin (dill pickle) and pineapple, but it also included a mix of capsicum (bell peppers) and homemade egg-free mayo. If you are pure veg, you could easily order this is a side dish.
|Butter chicken coleslaw sandwich|
|Thin crust chicken and capsicum pizza|
|Chicken penne pasta|
|Cake and pastries|
|Fresh baked bread|
The staff was knowledgeable and friendly, providing excellent service to all who entered. This is a great addition to the Gurgaon food scene and I will definitely be back as a paying lunch customer to try more of their cafe selections as they grow and change their menu seasonally. I'm hoping that they will also expand their offerings to include some fresh cheeses to complement their bread selection. I encourage all Gurgaon bread lovers to drop in and pick up as much fresh baked bread as you can carry!