Hyderabad's cafe culture is now thriving in old and pretty bungalows, which feels like home
Imagine walking into a restaurant and feeling at home — the walls, the furniture, the lights — everything feels familiar
Several old and pretty bungalows in the city have metamorphosed into beautiful restaurants that boast of a cosy environment. CE learns more about the trend of residential spaces offering earthy, real and rustic vibes to customers
Imagine walking into a restaurant and feeling at home — the walls, the furniture, the lights — everything feels familiar. The comfort of just the right amount of sunlight creeping in through the thoughtfully placed glass windows, the unpolished stairs resembling a distant relative’s home and the greenery that brings in a sense of attachment to the place — that is pretty much what some restaurants in the city aim to do with their picturesque locales, interiors and buildings.
In a welcome trend, several old and pretty bungalows in the city have metamorphosed into beautiful restaurants. From Roastery and Beluga to Feu, Sofrehh and Chai Dukan, the most exquisite eateries in town boast of a cosy environment, thanks to residential spaces offering earthy, real and rustic vibes to customers.
It was Roastery that probably started the trend of renovating an old bungalow and beautifying it well enough to become one of the most loved coffee houses in the city. “Our owner Nishant Sinha was looking for a decent place in Banjara Hills because that was where most of his clientele resided and hung out. When looking for a place here, this 80-year-old building seemed perfect.
With his 15 years of experience, he wanted to bring to the table unexplored and untapped Indian coffee beans and the place looked like it would take such a menu and service a notch higher,” says Ramesh Thanikonda, assistant manager at Roastery Coffee House. The place has an alluring patio seating (outdoor area adjoining the house) and indoor seating. “Of the one-storey building, we host customers on the ground floor and bake our own bread on the first floor,” he shares.
Shilpa Datla, owner of Feu, found everything she wanted in an ethereal space in Jubilee Hills. “I had been looking for a space that offered more than a single storey so people can nestle in their nooks and corner amid trees, getting the privacy and seclusion they would want. The place also promises a great view at the rear side where friends who would love to hang out generally choose to sit. There’s no noise or dust from the traffic when they soak in just enough sunlight and breeze. Thanks to the trees, there’s shade inside this comfy building,” she shares. While level one of the building serves coffee, there’s a patisserie on another.
“I wanted the front facade to welcome people with barn tables and some elongated metal structures. Another floor houses the culinary studio — so the idea of choosing this bungalow allows people to do what they want to,” she adds. Feu will soon have the rooftop hosting private parties like baby showers and dinners.
The terrazzo flooring of Chai Dukaan is sure to remind you of a home you either grew up in or have visited as a child. An old type-writer sitting in a corner is not just for decor but is part of the home that the owners of the place turned into a sweet little restaurant.
“The place has everything to make you feel at home. It was renovated, but not much was done ☺— only a few things needed interior design like the walls, frames and furniture, taken up by the owner’s daughter. They were looking for a place that stood out from the regular landscapes and hit gold with this,” shares Ravinder Singh, manager at Chai Dukaan, Banjara Hills. Sofrehh - The Bistro is another restaurant that is stationed in the backyard of a private bungalow. Their story is unique in that they did not go looking for such a decor when they started out.
Arash Mehdi, owner of Sofrehh shares, “We were first just a food truck that served about six-seven kinds of sandwiches. It was all done on a piecemeal basis — as we started to grow, we added in a few chairs, and then we asked the kind landlords if we could use the backyard to seat customers. So it wasn’t some massive amount of money that we had spent on interiors. We later added the white fencing, then my wife came in and worked a little on the lights and decor and added plants here and there, that’s how it has all grown organically.”
Beluga is easily one of the most talked-about restaurants in the city. The place has been making a lot of noise for its Instagrammable interiors and Naresh Kumar Thakur, operations manager at Beluga breaks it down for us. “It’s an old building inside an area of 6000sq ft. The owner wanted a place that promised beauty and privacy and this place was bang on. Our restaurant is always busy yet makes you feel rested and calm — the ambience does all the trick, the greenery makes it stand out from the rest of the commercial spaces,” he says. So the next restaurant you check into, do look around to see if it’s housed in a private bungalow!