From artisanal products to chic decor and a decadent menu, Lucknow’s Brio Café & Gallery manifests art of indulgence with conscious living
The art-house promotes local arts and crafts like chikan, zardosi, marble design and more with its offerings
Lucknow, the City Of Nawabs has a new cafe - Brio Café & Gallery. This is an art-house with a focus on sustainability and giving back to the artisan community. Designed and founded by artist and sculptor Ankita Jaiswal, it supports over 250+ local artisans from Uttar Pradesh by promoting local arts and crafts like chikan, zardosi, marble design, woodwork and more. Its aesthetic interiors are a work of creative design and mindful thinking built using natural materials like bamboo and refurbished wood from old discarded objects and furniture. Moreover, the art house is a deliciously indulgent space where people can sit and relax in its in-house cafe. It offers scrumptious dishes that range from desi Ram Ladoo to global favourites like Mezze Platter. We catch up with Ankita to learn more about what's in store for art, design and food lovers.
How did the thought of opening an art cafe in an old city like Lucknow come about?
I am a sculptor and a designer by profession and have always been passionate about Indian art and culture. The vision behind opening Brio Art House was to showcase the local talent in and around UP and there couldn’t be a better location than Lucknow- The City of Nawabs. Lucknow has always been a multicultural city known for its poetry, courtly manners, music, beautiful gardens, and fine cuisine. It is also home to many local artisans’ families residing here for generations.
What artisanal products can one buy at the store?
There are a wide variety of products to choose from like ceramic cutlery and cookware, hand-made designer wall plates for décor, art frames, chikankari, zardosi cloth items, hand-made serving trays, table mats, cushion covers, furniture and art installations among other items. Every item at the café is exclusive, hand-made, and crafted by local artisans in Lucknow and nearby areas. For instance, the marble items are made by craftsmen from Agra who specialise in marble craft. We also empower female artisans in these communities and they have created preservatives-free honey and chemical-free Gulal among other things.
What’s there on the menu?
We follow the ‘Farm to Fork Approach’ at the Art House. We grow everything organically and use fresh ingredients to cook all food items. On the menu are baked eggs, banana bread, and waffles for breakfast to crostini, crispy corn tempura, mezze platter, and sandwiches. We also serve a variety of smoothies, refreshing juices, coffee, tea, and ice creams that are preservative-free. Our famous Gulukand - created with rose petals using a special technique is a hit. The local UP speciality of Ram Ladoo is also made here. We also provide vegan options in some of the categories and sell chemical-free Honey that the buyers can take home.
How is the cafe giving back to the artisan community?
Our art house is based on the concept of community living and promotes local artisans and craftsmen by way of employment and working with them on local art and craft items. Currently, it supports local artisans in UP including men and women to promote local art including chikan, zardosi, marble design, and local woodwork crafts. We also help them sell these items through our Instagram page globally. With this venture, we wish to keep their craft and our heritage alive.