City gets back its bakery from 1888

Priyank Sukanan has revived the once popular, ‘Naidu & Sons Bakery’ on Museum Road. It opened on November 29

Priyank Sukanan belongs to the fifth generation of the family which ran Naidu & Sons Bakery. DH Photos by B K Janardhan

Priyank Sukanan, the fifth generation of the family that ran Naidu & Sons Bakery in Shivajinagar from 1888 to 1987, has revived the once popular bakery in a new form on Museum Road.

His great-great-grandfather had started a bakery in the slums next to Cantonment Railway Station and the establishment, Naidu & Sons Bakery, had an iconic status for about 100 years before it shut down.

The production house and kitchen operate out of
the same property where the bakery once stood.  

After completing his masters in pastry and confectionery arts at Le Cordon Bleu in London, Priyank decided to revive P V Kuppuswamy’s bakery. On November 29, he opened ‘The Bangalore Connection 1888’.

The bakery serves Kuppuswamy’s specials like quarter bread loaf, shortbread, breadsticks and masala biscuits.

In an interview with Metrolife, Priyank says he wishes to amalgamate the old and the new and create a unique experience.

Did the stories about the bakery inspire you to take on the family business?

My grandmother raised me and every evening was storytime with her. One character that stood (from the stories) out was my great-great-grandfather, P V Kuppuswamy. He was a humble man. The stories of different people coming together to help the bakery grow inspired me to no end. The other employees at the bakery contributed to perfecting the quality till its end in 1987. Rumour has it that the first bakers of Nilgiris, which began in 1905, learnt from P V Kuppuswamy. The stories of long queues for hot bread, the Brits who loved our shortbread to the never-ending supply of flour and firewood… these were the stories that sparked inspiration in me.

Tell us a bit about the old bakery...

P V Kuppuswamy fled from his hometown Padavedu in Tamil Nadu and came to old Bangalore.

He baked bread in a slum by Cantonment Railway Station and sold it to the passengers on the trains. He made his share of profits and opened the doors to a legacy that has lasted generations since 1888. The bakery was then famous for its quarter loaf bread, butter shortbread, Japanese cake, chuppam breadsticks and masala biscuits.

What are the specialities from then that have you retained?

We have continued to retain the taste and texture of the quarter bread loaf, shortbread, breadsticks and the masala biscuits. We also have chocolates sourced from Belgium, sugar candy, wedding cakes with royal icing, warki and doughnuts among the old specialities. The Japanese cakes will be launched in January 2020. 

This 140-year-old cake stand is one
of the memorabilia of the bakery.

What are the new additions to the menu? 

The range of new products includes chocolate truffles, macarons, opera cake, classic French frasier, baguettes, hard crust bread, muffins, croissants, focaccia, Gateaux, cookies, tarts and quiches.

Where did you study and what techniques have you incorporated in your work?

I am trained at the Le Cordon Bleu, London and did my masters in pastry and confectionery arts. The techniques I learnt there are what I use in all my products. We don’t use any chemicals or additives. They are natural, organic and ethically sourced.

Did you always want to look after the family business?

It was a moment of epiphany and a calling that led me to start this journey of revival. But I’ve always wanted to be a chef and I doubt anything would have changed my mind.

What were the challenges that you faced in living up to the family legacy?

The biggest challenge has been to tell the story and help others understand the importance of learning and treasuring these anecdotes from the past. Our past defines our today and today defines the future.

The challenge for me was the revival itself — the lack of sufficient archives and recipes. I am grateful to an enthusiastic team of chefs for their contributions through the phases of research and revival. This isn’t my story and journey alone but a story of five chefs who have contributed immensely to the resurrection of the legacy.

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