Tuck into authentic kulchas and lavasa at this new Kashmiri café
There is nothing fancy about the place. It’s unpretentious and warms the heart as one enters the main gate. Boasting a wooden facade, pruned lawn, cane-wood chairs for guests to lounge on, thick foliage of trees in the background, and a cute little puppy called Bella running around, the setting of this café seems
straight out of a Ruskin Bond story. Orzuv For the Soul, Cafe & Boutique reminds us of the quintessential home cafes up in the hills, tucked away in the sub-tropical deciduous forests of Kashmir. That’s what founder, Saba Bhat has tried to achieve with Orzuv (‘Or’ meaning well, and ‘zuv’ meaning life).
The Kashmiri cafe, which opened less than two months ago has already caught the attention of carb-lovers. Yes, the ones who swear by breads for all three meals. “Kashmiris love their breads. Even during a curfew, the kandurs (local bread makers) don’t shut shop,” says Saba. Hence, the founder has ensured that her cafe serves only authentic breads that are made by a kandur, Jehangir, who has been especially flown in from a little village in Kashmir.
We started our meal with a saffron-almond Kahwah and a Mith Kulcha. Mith (sweet) Kulcha, a celebratory bread evokes memories of childhood, of eating a sweet butter cookie that’s topped with poppy seeds. Straight out of the oven, the warm crumbly bread pairs well with the kahwa.
After such a sweet and warm start, we moved onto try the Seekh-e-Tuji with Lavasa, served with Doon Chzetin (walnut chutney) and Gande Chzetin (onion chutney). The soft, fluffy lavasa was the perfect match for the succulent, smokey mutton seekh that was well-marinated. It’s the Kashmiri masalas that make this one a hit.
But what was served next was the best of the lot — Girda with Charwan. Girda is a
Kashmiri bread baked in a tandoor. It imitates a pizza baze. Charwan is stir-fried lamb liver. This combination is eaten for breakfast in Kashmir, we were told. The flaky Girda complemented the rich flavourful liver dish.
Lastly, we didn’t miss the famous Nun Chai (salt tea) that was served with Namkeen Kulcha, Bakharkhani, and Czochworu. “It’s an insult to serve tea without breads, Kashmiris will look down on you if you serve pastries instead of breads,” Saba tells us. All the three breads are served as evening breads with the tea. The Namkeen Kulcha is a small biscuit-like bread topped with poppy and cashew, while Bakharkhani is like a flattened out chapati and Czochworu reminded us of a bagel. We broke the Namkeen Kulcha and Bakharkhani, and soaked both in tea before eating them, while the Czochworu was eaten with butter. All three breads leave you with a warm fuzzy and satisfied feeling!
Rs 1,200 for two. At Whitefield. Details: 9820315439