A doughnut heaven in Kochi!

The current outlet sits on a small bylane, sheltered by trees. While this has certainly improved Choco Brown’s prospects, what likely made it popular is the decision to focus only on doughnuts and buns.
 Choco Brown had the best doughnuts in Kochi.
Choco Brown had the best doughnuts in Kochi.(Photo | TP Sooraj)

KOCHI: I was midway into a hearty Korean meal the first time someone mentioned ‘Choco Brown’. Specifically, their doughnuts.

After the near-overwhelming culinary journey of the exotic, I yearned to embrace the somewhat familiar. However, my idea of a doughnut as a rounding-off dessert was without sheen after some lacklustre experiences in the past. What prodded me on was my friend’s seemingly bombastic statement that Choco Brown had the best doughnuts in Kochi.

As a native resident of the city for over 30 years, I simply had to counter this Kottarakkara native. But first, I had to bite the bullet, er, the bun…

Under a canopy of trees just metres from the Arakkakadavu Bridge in Vennala, I found young men, letting go of their macho image, licking their fingers. Chocolate stained their cheeks. No one seemed to mind.

Perched on their bikes and with a chocolate bun in each hand, the conversation of the group dwindled to an occasional ‘mmm…’ All eyes were trained on the gooey chocolate that filled the bun’s centre, now seen oozing out.

“Doughnuts from Choco Brown are our favourite. They were already sold out, so we settled for chocolate buns, which are also equally good,” says Arjun Pradeep, a college student.

The surge in demand prompted Lovely S K, who runs the outlet with her partner Sanjeev K M, to increase the number of doughnuts produced. “The demand is very high. We run out of doughnuts by 5pm most days,” says Lovely.

How this four-month-old establishment has earned such a rave following, and that, too, from Arakkakadavu – a region which I had decades prior written off as where civilisation ended — is a complete mystery to me. So I ask around.

(Photo | TP Sooraj)

“Choco Brown makes the best doughnuts in town,” insists ‘Vaava’ Kannan, who goes to the Govt HSS Vennala nearby. “Also, their prices are low for even students like us to grab a bite. I stop here most days to pack a few buns for evening tea.”

What’s the secret to success? “We make everything from scratch. In addition to doughnuts, we have buns and breads. They come plain or in three chocolate flavours - dark, milk and white. We rely solely on word-of-mouth publicity,” says Sanjeev.

“While it has been only four months since we began operations here. We have been around for nearly seven years.” Choco Brown earlier existed in another avatar just metres away.

“We were not very successful then. Likely because it was on the main road. There was no parking space there like we have now,” says Sanjeev.

The current outlet sits on a small bylane, sheltered by trees. While this has certainly improved Choco Brown’s prospects, what likely made it popular is the decision to focus only on doughnuts and buns.

“Cakes were our focus then. But we were not successful. But when we moved here, we decided to focus on just doughnuts and creams. That clicked,” says Sanjeev, whose family owns several bakery and confectionery businesses in Maharashtra.

Recently, the shop has introduced masala buns, which are slowly getting a fanbase of their own.
Recently, the shop has introduced masala buns, which are slowly getting a fanbase of their own. (Photo | TP Sooraj)

Recently, the shop has introduced masala buns, which are slowly getting a fanbase of their own. “We don’t make too many of those. Usually, it is only 20-25 pieces a day. There’s also a plan to offer tea. Many ask for it,” adds Lovely.

Though the shop may look like a small factory unit in appearance, Lovely insists that it is very much a bakery. “Many cafes get their doughnuts and buns from us in bulk. Sometimes, we take orders from offices in Infopark and other places,” adds Sanjeev.

My friends and I ordered a dark chocolate doughnut each. Then, we ordered another round. Then, cream buns. Finally, we ordered a few buns for home. I hate to admit, my Kottarakkara friend was right. Choco Brown is quite likely the best doughnut shop in Kochi.

I recommend dark chocolate doughnuts, Rs 25 a piece. Yum!

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