Feed your FOMO: Four new cafés in Chennai to check out over the weekend
Expect eclectic interiors and menus
Café culture seems to be making a comeback. And not a moment too soon, with folks comfortably venturing out again. Chennai has seen a spree of new spaces like the charming ‘Sage and Lavender’ and the bustling ‘Coffee?’ that offer long hours of lounge time and conversation over gallons of speciality coffees. And we just found a handful of new cafés that deliver on Instagram-worthy ambience, addictive finger foods to give your neighbour FOMO and gourmet desserts.
Double Roti, Anna Nagar
Known for their burgers and sandwiches, Double Roti by Pricol Gourmet Pvt Ltd, has undergone a brand makeover and now has opened a delightful new café-style all-day diner with an amped up menu of continental variety, breakfast and an exclusive dessert bar. Located down 2nd Avenue, in Anna Nagar, the 70-seater has gorgeous natural light pouring in through glass walls, a high ceiling and an al fresco space too. Way before we try anything from their elaborate menu that is juxtaposed with fusion offerings, we are smitten by the aesthetics. Expect minimalistic décor that is easy on the eyes and begging to be a hangout!
Staying true to the brand’s core belief of big portions and hearty meals, we start off with a tall glass of thick Oreo Shake and munch on a platter of their Chicken Biryani Arancini. The delicious orbs are stuffed with slightly overcooked biryani and juicy chicken bits. However, the butter chicken burger is what we are going to write home about — right after we have finished gushing about the magic of bacon and cheese in the loaded Robertos Pizza and the delectable Bacon & Cheese Garlic Bread! Besides the breakfast options, the Korean sticky wings and the juicy Seoul Burger are definitely slated to be fast movers we predict, as we sip on some iced Americano to wash down the gluttony. Meanwhile, The Green One is a vegetarian pizza that is a meal in itself.
For dessert, we check out specials from their just introduced Delish Dessert Studio that will soon be an independent vertical. The layered Classic Opera has delicious coffee buttercream, while the Strawberry Pistachio has mousse and pannacotta with a cheesecake vibe. Snicker’d has gooey caramel and is for peanut lovers while the Lemon Mascarpone tart is why we will be back — soon.
Meal for two at INR 1,100.
What’s next: Themed cakes and corporate bonbon boxes.
This coffee shop used to be an ATM. Pull out the cash dispenser and swap with an espresso machine and a minimalist kitchen — and voilà, you’re in business. Located in Nandanam and owned by newbie in the food biz Vishwath Ravichandran (26), the concept, we’re told, takes inspiration from the tiny Japanese-style coffee setups where space is at a premium. That said, the 16-item coffee menu curated by Viggnesh V with medium to dark roasts from estates in Kodaikanal and Coorg over-delivers. Veering toward the sweet side, we find ourselves swooning over the Vietnamese Cold Coffee with condensed milk and ice but you could opt for an Espresso Romano — a single shot of espresso combined with a fresh squeeze of lemon and a pinch of sugar for a hot sip of bitter notes laced with citrus freshness.
For a quick bite, opt for a sinful Lotus Biscoff Brownie (Sabrosa) or a filling Peanut Butter and Jelly Bombolini (Choco Chef). “We are collaborating with home bakers and other brands for about 30 percent of our menu, while the rest will be made in-house,” chef-consultant Mathangi Kumar
Coffees served in insulated takeaway cups at INR 125 to INR 225. Desserts and savouries from INR 200.
What’s next: Sandwiches and salads and Arabian offerings like kunafa and baklava.
The Garden Café by Harrington Room, Chetpet
Tucked away in one of the bylanes of Harrington Road, this quaint little garden café is the culmination of one of the many dreams of event-manger turned café owner Prashanth Paul. Originally his backyard garden, the property was first used as an outlet for a popular Chinese fast food chain in the city, with a small hidden private café at the back. The full-blown garden café came into being just two months ago when the successive lockdowns finally pushed Prashanth to open the café to the public. “I wanted people to enjoy this garden as much as I did while growing up here,” says 42-year-old Prashanth.
A metal structure provides the covered front half of the café while the back half is left al fresco. The property is scattered with different seating arrangements complementing the diverse menu that is focused on non-fussy homely favourites. We tried the best-selling chocolate hazelnut shake and paired it with a chicken salami sandwich, both of which hit home for authenticity; and followed that up with a delicious shrimp wafer platter paired with a cup of refreshing blue pea tea — talk about unique combinations! We ended our visit with a game of Pictionary (one among the many board games available) while we chomped on some chicken pops and indulgent homemade strawberry cupcakes.
Drinks from INR 60. Food from INR 90. Breakfast platters from INR 250.
What’s next: Bi-weekly Karaoke nights, weekly barbecues that need to be pre-booked and a Sunday morning amusement hour for families.
Scooby’s Café | Nungambakkam
This al fresco space is more than a pet-friendly spot to hang out with your pet. It also doubles up as a smartly designed waiting area for folks visiting the vet at The Ark in Nungambakkam. Except, instead of sterile metal surfaces and hospital smells — you will find lush sections of green grass, wooden benches and a white picket fence that ensure your pooch doesn’t stray too far when off the leash.
Former IT professional Sharmila Rajkumar (52) who gave up her job to nurse her ailing puppy with a rare condition back to health tells us, “I was inspired with the idea when I found myself waiting in queue, sometimes for hours, at a stretch.” As for the menu, expect cookies and sausage cuts for your canine whilst we dig into a Tandoori Chicken salad packed with an assortment of veggies and generous
squiggles of mint mayo and south west. Dessert brings on the curious experience of sampling slices of Pineapple Cake and a Peanut Butter (vet-approved) Doggie Birthday Cake side by side. The latter, which is surprisingly edible is prepared from almond flour with a concoction of yoghurt and mashed sweet potato for icing.
250 gm doggie cake for INR 500. Meal for you and your pet at INR 300 approx.
What’s next: Supervised group exercise sessions designed for canines with