Did you ever read Enid Blyton’s ‘The Faraway Tree’ series as a child? In it, a group of children stumble upon a magical tree in the middle of a mysterious wood known as The Faraway Tree. At the top of tree is a collection of clouds that hosts a different type of land every couple of days; the children get to visit ‘The Land of Presents’, where they can pick presents for everyone they know, ‘The Land of Tempers’, where everyone has a ban temper and ‘The Land of Goodies’, where the whole land – from the trees to the grass to door knockers on houses – is edible.
Doesn’t the Land of Goodies sound like every foodie’s dream? Well, foodies, take a deep breath; we’ve found a real life Land of Goodies right here in the heart of Mumbai; Menchie’s, a self-serving frozen yogurt parlour.
Unlike The Land of Goodies, Menchie’s is at ground level – on the corner of Linking Road in Khar. However, it’s just as magical as The Land of Goodies is; decorated with vibrant green colors, there are goodies like rainbow sprinkles, chocolate syrups and waffle cups everywhere you turn. The piece de resistance of the parlour is its frozen yogurt wall, boasting a collection of taps, which, when a customer presses on them, dispense a variety of frozen yogurt flavours from kiwi to green apple to chocolate.
The frozen yogurt wall, the concept of self-service, which invites customers to fill their own frozen yogurt bowls and spoon on toppings themselves, and the expansive space are all factors that set the parlour apart from other frozen yogurt brands in the city. However, before we get into what makes the Menchie’s experience so unique, here’s a little about –
Menchie’s was started in 2007 by Danna and Adam Caldwell, a couple that wanted to serve yogurt that not only tastes good, but also does good. Menchie’s yogurt, therefore, is available in no-fat, low-carbohydrate, no-added-sugar, gluten-free, vegan and dairy free options.
After being met with success in the US (Hollywood is a big fan of Menchie’s), the brand started to go global; today it has 530 outlets across the world. In West India, Archway Ventures International has the franchisee rights for Menchie’s – having had a successful multi store opening in Pune, they entered Mumbai last month.
Menchie’s In Mumbai
Mumbaikars, we see as we step into the cheery outlet, are already embracing the parlour. Excited children rush in, pick up a waffle cup and head over to the wall to immediately start filling their cups with frozen yogurt, egged on by warm, cheerful staff. College students swoon over the range of toppings for the frozen yogurt available; one even does a little jig when she sees the variety of flavours of frozen yogurt (there are 100 rotating flavours). Even middle aged corporates can’t help but break into a smile as they survey the amount of choices they have to indulge with.
Indeed, that’s Menchie’s global mission statement – to make people smile. Commenting on the Menchie’s mission in Mumbai, Avinash Dolwani, the director of Archway Ventures International said “We are extremely excited about serving America’s most favourite yoghurt – Menchie’s in Maharashtra. We received amazing response in Pune. The menu is customised to fit the Indian market. With our first outlet in Mumbai, we hope we are successful in continuing to spread health and smiles.”
In true form, Dolwani (who is almost ever present at the new outlet) welcomes us into the parlour with a cheery “welcome to Menchie’s” and a large smile. He then walks us through the steps to creating our very own bowl of frozen yogurt happiness.
Steps To A Smile
First, a customer is giving the option between choosing a regular cup, a waffle cup or a chocolate coated waffle cup.
Naturally, we pick up two chocolate coated waffle cups and then head over to the frozen yogurt wall, which boasts options like ‘grasshopper’ (mint), ‘cookies & cream’ and ‘cake batter’ flavours. We decide to go for one cup of green apple yogurt along with a cup of cookies and cream, topped with chocolate hazelnut topped with mango, because we’re greedy like that.
We then head over to the toppings section and top our green apple frozen yogurt with Rice Krispy’s, kiwi fruits, chocolate chips and a few spoonfuls of Nutella. Our second bowl of frozen yogurt (the mix of flavours) gets a topping of apricots, kiwis, rainbow sprinkles and chocolate sauce.
Aside from the self-service concept, another factor that makes Menchie’s unique is that it charges not by the yogurt and toppings, but instead by the weight of your final cup. After choosing your yogurt and toppings therefore, you carry your cup over to the weighing machine and pay Rs. 1.50 per gram.
After loading up our cups, we walk up into the upstairs seating area and seat ourselves next to the ‘Menchiewood’ wall, which is a collection of photos featuring celebrities enjoying Menchie’s – Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber appear to be fans.
We then devour our bowls of frozen yogurt – the Green apple flavour is tangy while the texture is wonderfully smooth which contrasts well with the creamy serving of Nutella and the crunchy rice Krispies. Surprisingly, the cookies and crème, chocolate hazelnut and mango mix of frozen yogurt, topped with that whole variety of sprinkles and fruits works well; we feel quite pleased that we have managed to create our very own, unique frozen yogurt combination.
Indeed, that’s the freedom that Menchie’s gives you; to be your own chef, mixing together a wide range flavours and toppings as well as your own server. Pair that with its pleasing ambience, it’s extremely friendly staff and fun vibe and Menchie’s delivers on its mission statement – it will make you smile.
During this unforgiving summer (as well as during winter, which, in Mumbai, isn’t really a winter at all), Menchie’s is the perfect destination to battle the heat. Will we be seeing you there soon?
P.s Check out our video to see the steps to a smile!