Quirky cafés in India: If you're looking for more than just coffee, food these are the places
In India, these are the cafés that are offering reasons to keep returning
Coffeehouses or cafés may have started life as establishments that served out — well, coffee. Other hot beverages as well. But soon enough, they evolved mainly into places for social interaction, where patrons can not just meet each other, but engage in creative endeavours if they so desire. The modern café, however, has become about even more. From a work space (outside of the office) to a place for a short romantic rendezvous, or even a place where you can while away several hours, no questions asked (well, as long as you have a cup of coffee in front of you) — cafés have become all about the ambience and the experience. And in India, these are the cafés that are offering reasons to keep returning. How many of them have you visited?
Prithvi Café, Mumbai
Drama and food, what else does one need to unwind? Not far from Juhu beach, amidst several buildings, this café is just next to the iconic Prithvi theatre. Our recommendations from the menu? The spaghetti aglio olio or parathas with the Sulemani chai or a thick Bailey's Irish Shake, before or after you catch a performance at the theatre.
Tihar Food Court, Delhi
Ever wondered what lies behind the high walls of a prison? The food court at Tihar Jail fers an opportunity to talk to inmates of the prison even as you sample their comfort-food oriented menu. And while the location of this eatery — the sprawling complex of Asia's largest prison — may be intriguing, it's the food (prepared by the inmates) that's the real draw. Classifying the food court as a café may perhaps not be the right terminology, but just for being a one-of-its-kind kind of place, this has to make it to our list. What should you try here? The papdi chat gets our vote.
The Biker’s Café, Kolkata
Remember your college days when you’d set off on impromptu bike trips? The Biker’s Café celebrates the spirit of those liberating bike rides, and provides a much-needed break from the urban jungle. Come here whenever you're in the mood for delicious chicken wings, creamy pasta in white Sauce or their minimalistic aglio olio. You won't be disappointed.
The Yoga House, Mumbai
The name says it all. Based on the concept that Yoga is one of our most important Indian cultural inheritances and a way of life, this café hosts Yoga sessions and offers an array of healthy food, based on ancient dietary wisdom. If wholesome vegetarian fare like 'hearty millet burgers' or an uber healthy quinoa upma is what rocks your boat, then head here by all means. Wash it all down with pink juice (a mix of pomegranate, water melon and rose water).
To experience a slice of good old Americana right here in Pune, head to The Brooklyn Shuffle Bar. The decor of this café is predominantly in blue and white and American murals add to the theme. A visit here is your culinary ticket to the United States, with juicy burgers and cocktails with names like 'Cold War' forming the menu's mainstay.
CICLO Café, Chennai
Do you remember when you first learnt to ride a bicycle with your siblings or neighbourhood friends? You'll be reminded of those carefree days when you hop over to the Ciclo Café, a bicycle-themed café. This type of a café is all the rage in Europe, but surprisingly rare in India. The bicycle motif is carried right down to their bread basket, which comes with a tiny bicycle attached. The tomato soup with undertones of basil gets our thumbs up.
Cable Car Café, Bengaluru
If you haven't had a cable car ride yet, well this is your chance to experience one (well one that isn't in motion). The Cable Car Café in Bengaluru has vegetarian Indian and Italian delicacies on offer. But their lovely gourmet pizzas and mouthwatering parathas or chat-e-khas isn't what we keep going back for. It's that cable car seating!
Ohri’s Gufaa, Hyderabad
Fancy a meal in a cave? Ohri’s Gufaa in Hyderabad offers just that. The place is so well designed it looks as though it was a set from a Wes Anderson movie. That's not all, they serve delicious Indian fare as well. Try the chaman curry with a mint paratha or bite into the juicy and succulent prawn Mehrunissa.
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