A taste of la dolce vita

Calling it a coffee shop would be sacrilege. Provenance is a new store-cum-eatery that embodies the love, history and magic of the niche food brands it stocks
The 17-seater space brings in a select clique of niche Indian and foreign brands
The 17-seater space brings in a select clique of niche Indian and foreign brands

Finally, a tastefully arranged space that offers a serene coffee experience with no people-watching or decibel-pounding environs. After bringing home the Japanese brand of Royce chocolates and the Spanish candy spin in Papabubble, Samir Gadhok and Avani Raheja of Burgundy Hospitality have cupped a luxe cocoon for coffee snobs in their new space, Provenance.

Nestling quietly at the end of the ground floor expanse of Palladium mall in Mumbai, the 17-seater space brings in a select clique of niche Indian and foreign brands, carefully handpicked by the duo during their sojourns. It is an alluring collusion of picks, positioned rather artfully across the space, evocative of their labour of love.

Says Gadhok, “Provenance has been in the making for six years. During our travels, Avani and I would often stumble across beautiful products that we would have loved to introduce in India. However, there was no place here to showcase small-batch, heritage and boutique brands, either local or foreign, in a compelling way. With Provenance, we hope to offer thoughtful brands from India and across the world, a platform to tell their stories and share their passion.”

Little treasures are wonderful pleasures, and the small chocolate library at the entrance sets the mood for the unfurling of a virtual theatre of flavours inside. There is a rush of Kiwi darks in limited edition Whittaker’s slabs of plum and roasted almonds, and TWG’s delicately picked Geisha Blossom tea (pink flamingo tea infusers, anyone?) that are available for purchase in hamper formats as well.

The main station stands dominated by the roasting titan—the custom-made Mirage (pegged at a whopping `12 lakh!)—a coffee machine by Kees Van Der Westen, in its sculptural contours, brought in from The Netherlands. “We import these for sale at Provenance as well,” shares Gadhok, as we move on to the glamorous, super-sized cake oasis. Each lavish bake here is a virtual artwork from the house of Tier Nom, in South Mumbai. Gadhok recommends the rose pistachio and honey cake that unravels in a rhapsody of fragrant moistness, in its spongy softness glazed with honey yogurt, toasted pistachio drizzle and rose petals. Sip on flat white, a double shot Ristretto with hot milk and velvety milk foam alongside for the perfect foil.

“The idea was to bring in a connoisseur’s collection, for tasting as well as gifting,” says Gadhok, as we move past the crisp Italian wrapping sheets on display to the rather inviting, gleaming airtight jars, hugging Greek dragees in a melee of jewelled tones and enchanting flavours. Spells sheer magic in chocolate pebbles, possibly a recreation of a fantasy land from Enid Blyton’s The Faraway Tree. Wrapped in tanzanite blue, pouting pinks, brooding orange and winking silver, each chomp is an explosion of absolute crunch in mocha, and yes, even cereal tones.

You can pick and choose from the gourmet gospels from Maxim’s De Paris, to add a spot of Parisian chic to your gift hamper, draw in beans from Mumbai’s best kept secret in Koinonia Coffee Roasters, snap up granola packs from Sustenance Artisinal Foods, or dip into an array of greeting cards, notepads, and mini coasters with official cartoons from The New Yorker magazine, or even flip through books. Boredom is certainly not on the menu.

Everything about Provenance allures. The design rhythm that maverick decor designer Zameer Basrai of The Busride Design Studio brings in, creates an inviting, contemporary ambience. There is fluidity of space here, with the terrazzo wrapping around the display islands, the robust, zero fuss, yet comfortable seats that breathe in a sense of tranquility. Brass light fixtures circle in warm pools of amber up above.
The terrazzo tables (they are movable, quite contrary as they appear to the eye), the melee of seasonal dips and preserves for sale, the hot babyccino served with chocolate topping and gooey marshmallows on the side; the killer Belgian chocolate, the lipsmacking French croissants from the Brittany region.

“At Provenance, we want to offer the perfect gift for a thoughtful and discerning individual. We have handpicked each product with one theme in mind—does this product embody the love, history or magic of the maker?” says Raheja, the passion shining in her voice. “We are passionate about telling stories and Provenance is the story of the maker and their origins, craftsmanship and passion.”So, what’s next? “A sea salt special in chocolate and coffee, ranging from Himalayan salt to imported crystals,” reveals Gadhok with a smile. “We plan to keep bringing in specials every week.” Encore.

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The New Indian Express