Whether you are just done with a shopping spree down 18 June Road, or are taking an evening stroll through the Jardim Garcia de Orta, one is often tempted to stop over at Mr Baker.
And with an array of delicious Goan snacks and sweets like patties, croquettes, sausage pies, bebinca, dodol, guava cheese, and more, it is not surprising that the bakery continues to be a hit with people years since its inception in 1922, as it proudly proclaims on its name board.
“The bakery was started by my grandfather Pedro Vincent Vaz in Moira, before it moved to Mapusa. It began small, serving just a few items like bread, toast, poies and biscuits over the counter. At that time the bakery was simply known by his name,” says Nenette Fernandez, who currently runs the show.
It was her father Valentino Vaz who moved the store to its present location in Panaji, renamed it Mr Baker, and there it has remained over the years.
“The whole show though was run by my late mother Delia. She did the production and was the face of Mr Baker. If the bakery is what it is today it is all because of her,” adds Fernandez who took over the running of the establishment a few years ago after her mother passed away. Fernandez is supported at the bakery by Luisa Fernandes, who has been with the bakery for close to 40 years, and Dudh Kumar. The sweets and savouries are made at her home (Nenette) and at her mother’s house in Saligao.
While it initially began as just an over the counter bakery, the store now has seating for its customers. Apart from its many savoury options, Fernandez has also began doing soups, serving a different soup everyday with options like caldo verde (green soup) and carrot, spinach and potato soup. “We want to stick to only Goan snacks and sweets as this is what we are popular for. In fact I would like to introduce ‘godshe’ to the menu too somewhere down the line,” she says. The bakery has also started taking wedding cake orders .
“We get a lot of repeat customers. People like the cosiness of the place. A few ladies have told me that while they would otherwise not go out and sit alone in any restaurant, they feel very safe here,” says Fernandez.