Help, I'm Addicted to the Bournvita Chocolate Malted Shake at Pondicheri

Sometimes, you taste something so extraordinary that the flavors haunt you for days. That's what happened to me after I tried the Bournvita chocolate malted shake at Pondicheri last Tuesday night.

Similar to an Ovaltine but more subtle, tasting the icy cold, frothy ice-blended shake not only evoked childhood memories of happy summer days, but after each sip, I felt as if someone was pushing a button and giving me an exhilarating jolt of tingling food pleasure. "Oh my GOD it's good!" I exclaimed, rolling my eyes in rapturous enjoyment. "It's like crack," my friend laughed knowingly, nodding her head in complete understanding. After all, she was the one who'd insisted that I order it; she would know.

I had a great meal at Pondicheri that night, but went home thinking, no dreaming about that darn shake. I told everyone about it. I tweeted about it. Every day, I fought the urge to drive into town for another. The craving was incredibly strong, and by Saturday night, I'd finally plotted out a way to get it. After dining on pizza at Alto, I insisted on going to Pondicheri so that my dining companion could try the Bournvita shake.


I gleefully entered the restaurant in anticipation of getting my fix, only to be informed that the shake had been taken off the menu. "But I just had it on Tuesday," I plaintively argued, insisting to see the menu, where I triumphantly pointed out that indeed, the shake was there. Stumped, the manager grudgingly agreed to serve me, but when I finally got that long awaited first sip, I was disappointed. This shake, the one I practically had to fight to get, was watery and lackluster, and tasted nothing like the one I'd had before.

"That's probably because our chef made the first one," the manager explained in apology. "She has this special way of making it, but she was so busy today that I tried to make it for you myself." Minutes later, Chef/Owner Anita Jaisinghani appeared, explaining why she'd given the executive order to take the shake off the menu. "It's just too difficult for us to keep on the menu right now," she said. "We use an immersion blender and the process is complicated. When someone orders a shake, we have to stop doing everything else to make it and on busy nights it's logistically not possible to do."

I practically implored her to bring it back, even suggesting that she purchase a Magic Bullet to make her life easier, to no avail. I've been informed that the Bournvita shake has been taken off the menu for the time being. [Expletive] - I'm gonna miss that shake like something fierce. Thank goodness, I can partly assuage my cravings with their Bournvita ice cream sandwiches -- made with the same ice cream used in the shake -- which are good, but not quite as mind-blowingly good as the shake.

I don't blame Jaisinghani for taking the item off the menu. In fact, from a business standpoint it's smart of her to take it off if she couldn't consistently produce a top quality product. I'm just sad because it means no more Bournvita shakes for me.

And I wonder, how many favorites have been taken off menu elsewhere because they're just too difficult to make? If you've had your favorite menu items taken off menu for similar reasons, let us know about them in the comments section. And if you're a Bournvita shake addict like I am, please say so as well. If we make a good case, who knows, maybe the next time I go in for a Bournvita ice cream sandwich, I'll be able to get a shake with it, too.

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Mai Pham is a contributing freelance food writer and food critic for the Houston Press whose adventurous palate has taken her from Argentina to Thailand and everywhere in between -- Peru, Spain, Hong Kong and more -- in pursuit of the most memorable bite. Her work appears in numerous outlets at the local, state and national level, where she is also a luxury travel correspondent for Forbes Travel Guide.
Contact: Mai Pham