Enrique found an article about good bread in Mexico City in the inflight magazine of his Aeromexico flight from Monterrey. Kind of excited because we had not heard of all of the bakeries, we went on a little bread safari a few week ends ago. Deciding to pick off Colonia Roma, we started our safari at Delirio which is presided over by top chef Monica Patino. All I can say is: don’t.
First of all, it is not a bakery. There is a small range of bread but it is not clear where it is baked or who is doing the baking. The place is actually a cafe/deli/shrine to Monica Patino. It was packed, I am sure it is always packed, and that it will always be packed. However, it should not be. The concept is inefficient at best and manipulative at worst depending on your mood, the service is lack lustre, and the food is barely acceptable.
The concept is this: you walk in, walk around the shop and order your food at the counter before you sit down. They bring the food to you at your table and when you are done you go to a different counter to pay. Kind of like shopping in the USSR before the wall came down. The problem with the concept is two fold:
1. There is so much shelving to house the Monica Patino merchandise (Monica Patino coffee, tea, hot chocolate, jam, jelly, salsa, dressing…..) that you are constantly bumping into people or being bumped into as you try to read the (one) blackboard menu and order your food.
2. We both felt like we were made to walk around the whole shop to order, eat, and pay, so that we would look at the goods on sale, in the hopes that we would make an impulse purchase of Monica Patino branded merchandise on our journey.
I ordered panzanella and a watermelon and lime water and Enrique ordered a felafel and some mango juice. I got the smallest bowl in the world with green beans, white beans and chopped onion and celery topped with a handful of industrially made (perfect cubes) croutons and a glass of something pale pink that tasted a bit like poison. I clarified my consternation to Enrique by explaining that panzanella is a THING with a RECIPE. It is not any old salad with croutons on the top. If you don’t believe me have a look here. Enrique got two dry felafels on a plate with a smear of soft cheese (no pita, no tahini, no nothing) and a little jar of mango juice that may have been made that morning – but it was 16.00 and that does not make it fresh in our book (we were, after all, in Mexico city). To add insult to injury, when the man who came to clear the plates – almost before the last bite went into our mouths – he asked us how everything was and when he saw that we were pretty obviously non-committal he thanked us and scurried away. He had no interest in whether or not we enjoyed our meals and was clearly going to do nothing about it either way. Oof. Why ask?
Why Delirio is in an article paying homage to good bread (or good anything else for that matter) in Mexico city is a mystery to me. As I said above: don’t.
But onward and upward and we went to have a bite in Panaderia Rosetta which is linked to a restaurant called Rosetta just down the road (lucky diners, they get great bread) . It is a teeny tiny place with a beautiful, airy bake house at the back of the teeny tiny cafe and it is GREAT. Good bread, friendly people, obviously baking on the premises – fantastic and worth the trip to Roma especially given there is so much more to see and do on the street (Calle Colima – it’s kind of a magic street).
One thing you must do on Calle Colima is visit the wonderful Puerta Abierta Bakery which has no cafe, just great bread, fab cake, and a GORGEOUS bake house at the back. Oddly, Puerta Abierta did not appear in the article – we happened on it by accident and it is so good it should be in any write up about about good bread in the city.
Next stop: Condessa where there are reportedly some good places. I will let you know.