Canvas by Sketch serves up Instagrammable tropical vibes and an irresistible coffee bar
Flooded with natural light, splashed with flamingo pink and tropical green — this 60-seater restaurant has a delightfully cheery vibe. A Puducherry-based artist has added to the charm with hand-painted walls of tropical motifs. Sameer Sethi, Director, Olive and Twist Hospitality (that is behind this venture and Sketch, the outdoor catering unit), tells us, “We came up with the tropical theme because we wanted people to escape into a different world when they walk into this café in the heart of Chennai. We have looked into each and every detail at the café, from our handmade custom Nugu plates to our hand-painted walls. Each element has a unique backstory to it.” He does aver that finally, it is the menu that clinches the deal — “Where else can you have a stack of pancakes with a side of burrata and a hazelnut latte?”
It is barely a fortnight old and we find the place bustling with diners and wafting with the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. We settle on a cuppa Aeropress, to begin with. A manually brewed black coffee, it is smooth and light and we are soon buzzed to try the starters. The Burrata and Leafy Green Salad is a large gentle orb of cheese, drizzled with pesto, that oozes cream and is perfect with the tang of oven-roasted chunks of tomatoes. The Double Espresso Pork Ribs are sticky and sweet — exactly how we like them, while the Bean Curd and Edamame Dim Sum is juicy and the tapioca wrap is beautifully translucent. The meat is sweet and succulent in the Prawn Tempura. As we let the flavours swirl on our palate, it seemed the right time to dip into the coffee menu again. This time we come away with a Sparkling Citrus Espresso, a foamy and bubbly drink of tonic water, it has the right mix to let the citrus notes shine through even as the caffeine kicks in.
The coffee menu and bar has been set up by consultant barista Geetu Mohnani who is based in Bengaluru. The 25-year-old has just started her own company, ABC by Geetu and interacts with plantations and farmers to understand the coffee that she works with. For Canvas, she has picked beans from Bengaluru-based Lazy Bee, and uses a blend of Arabica and Robusta, for the house brews and 100% Arabica for manual brews and cold brews. “All our offerings, come under speciality coffee and are scored above 80 by cuppers,” informs Geetu, adding that the best way to get a taste is to come in groups and try their flights.
While the Tom Yum was heavy on flavour and thick with veggies, it was the mild Broccoli & Almond with Barley soup that resonated with the soul. Creamy with bits of almonds in the mix, the crunchy bread with toasted slivers of almond was a perfect match and qualifies as comfort food.
Mains see us overwhelmed with choice and the Gnocchi Exotic Seafood Marinara is a delight where the pasta is evenly coated with the tomato-based sauce and the mussels, squid and prawns exude the right flavour for seafood lovers. The pizzettes are thin crust and crunchy and has feta for cheese, while the Nasi Goreng is definitely for sharing with a generous bowl of delicious chicken fried rice and satay. The Zoodle (zucchini noodles) is basil and chilli-flavoured, could very well pass for a salad, we think. The Sloppy Joe has charcoal buns stuffed with lamb mince and pickles, making for a filling meal.
Finally, the desserts are our undoing — with the Chocolate Torte that is so dense and creamy that ‘sinful’ is the correct adjective here. The Wild Berry Madeline is warm, citrusy and tarty, made with almond flour, it is well-matched with vanilla ice cream — and is the kind of dessert that begs a second helping.
Located at TTK Road, a meal for two is about INR 1,500 (not including beverages).