Bringing Beignets to Bombay

Chef Noor Mubarak talks to us about her everyday luxuries - Good Food and Statement Rings!

What started as baking during the lockdown to raise funds for migrant workers, today, makes Noor one of the most loved among sweet-toothed foodies! Meet Noor Mubarak, a pastry chef and a Le Cordon Bleu graduate who runs the Notting Hill Bakery in Colaba, Mumbai. (And no she doesn’t bake banana bread!)

Can you tell us a little about how you discovered baking?

I was roughly around 9-10 years old when I fell in love with baking. I used to bake with my cousin, who at the time was partly living with us as a university student.

What’s the story behind the name “The Notting Hill Bakery”?

I wanted to bring a touch of London to Bombay, since that’s where I grew up and I grew up just around the corner from Notting Hill. 

Your menu has items with super fun and quirky names! Can you tell us a little about your menu and your process of coming up with new recipes? 

I try to keep my menu as unique as possible and I also like to change things around. I love adding new items. I just want people to look at the menu and be like damn that sounds sinfully delicious! That’s what I’m going for at the moment. Most of the items on my menu are super indulgent, kinda perfect for that one cheat meal.

As for the recipes, I don’t have a certain process. I kind of just go with the flow. Sometimes I'll be in bed and it’ll be 1 am and an idea will come to mind and I’m like “I’ll need to try this out tomorrow”. And then there are times when a recipe comes out of a mistake! I wasn’t planning for it to look or taste this way, but it does and it’s better than what I could’ve expected. So there’s really no process at all.

While most people were shutting down, you actually took the bold step of starting in the midst of the lockdown and that too for a charitable purpose. Tell us more about this.

The lockdown gave me that push to start off my bakery. To be honest, a part of me was a little scared to start my own bakery. But then corona happens, and my days were wasting away at home, so I thought maybe I could bake to raise some money for the migrant workers. Then a friend of mine told me, if you’re going to do all that work, you might as well launch your bakery, and I’m so glad I did, it’s been my saving grace. It helped me stay sane during the lockdown and it kept my mind super occupied, which I feel a lot of us who were stuck at home needed.

Can you tell us a little bit about your journey from London to Mumbai?

I’ve always had a relationship with Bombay. I’m originally Kashmiri and my Dad’s side (mainy my Dada and Dadi) would shuffle between Kashmir and Bombay. So growing up, as a little girl, I’d visit Bombay during my school holidays. I love Bombay; I have very fond childhood memories of this City. Then in 2012, I shifted here and fell in love with it all over again.

When I moved back to London in 2015 to attend culinary school, I always had it in mind that one day I’d return to Bombay and open up my first bakery, and now here I am :)

Who is your culinary inspiration?

Oh, I have many that I admire in the industry, Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver, David Chang, Cedric Grolet, Dominique Ansel, Christina Tosi to name a few. 

Describe the last time you took out time for yourself?

Every Monday, that is my “me” day. I shut my kitchen, I don’t even look at my work phone and I enjoy the day to myself. Sometimes I’ll just lay in bed and watch Netflix, other times I’ll plan to meet friends or maybe go get a massage. 

What jewellery is meaningful to you and why?

I love jewellery. My family is jewellers and funnily enough, I studied gemology, but never went down that road. I love wearing jewellery. For me, it’s all about rings, I’m not exactly sure why, but I do love that one statement piece, that one piece that catches the eye.

What little luxury do you indulge in everyday? 

It would have to be food haha, I’m a massive foodie and enjoying good food is such a luxury.

Do you have any words of wisdom for budding food entrepreneurs?

Don’t let fear hold you back, everything falls into place eventually.

You can find Chef Noor’s sweet treats at @thenottinghillbakery on Instagram!



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