Artika Café [White Town, Pondicherry]

First look at Artika Café and you feel like you are in a slow-motion video of some lost town. Time probably, literally stops here! Artika Café is one of the best places to laze around in Pondicherry.

 

It is essentially a black and white shot, with a random table or two adding the colours. Dry leaves and white bougainvillaea decorate the courtyard, giving the feel of a never-ending autumn. The quietness here can be the brand ambassador for Pondicherry’s ‘Peaceful Pondicherry’ tagline! This peacefulness is what drew us here and kept us here and what made us never want to get up and leave!

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A narrow and beautiful shrub covered path led us to the graffiti and mural-covered courtyard. There are a few tables in the open courtyard and a few lounge chairs in the shade covered area to just stretch and relax.

There are a few tables inside as well, in an old, pretty worn-out house but we chose outside, obviously!

There is an art gallery and a shop inside, which sort of seems like the thing in Pondicherry!

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Once we had taken in the amazing surroundings and rested for a few good minutes, we asked for the menu, which is another surprise. They give you a big handmade paperboard menu that is handwritten – art all the way!

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There are quite a few breakfast options, sandwiches, baguettes and crepes to pick from.

They have some really good combos to pick from. The food ranges from affordable to average pricey but one can easily find something

 

according to their budget.

Another good thing here is the free WiFi for as long as you want.

The service is prompt and super friendly.

 

 

We had a Ratatouille and Cheese Sandwich. The aroma of the ratatouille being prepared made our mouths water! The sandwich was delicious, non-spicy ratatouille with lots of veggies like zucchini, bell peppers, tomatoes and more with lots of mozzarella cheese! It was lip-smacking!

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Ratatouille & Cheese Sandwich

We also had Mango Lassi which was more like thick mango pulp smoothie! It was very refreshing and filling!

Artika Café and Gallery should be where you head to, to chill on a hot summer day or to get your work done in peace. And if nothing, a few hours of peace don’t hurt!

We had an amazing time at Artika Café, do tell us about yours!!

Artika Café [Pondicherry] – Google Maps

Artika Cafe Gallery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Kasha Ki Aasha [White Town, Pondicherry]

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“I think I am in the wrong place!”

“Nope, definitely, this is someone’s home. We are in the wrong place!”

This is how the conversation will go when you first enter Kasha Ki Asha – that you have entered someone’s really well-kempt home and there is no way that a café exists here. Pass by those rooms with handicrafts and khadi kurtas and bags and you reach the centre of the home which again reinforces your belief that this is someone’s home and you are trespassing!

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With a small central verandah with lots of flowers, a metallic statue of the dancing God and a few females going about their business, it has got to be a home, no?

Well, it is, but it is a home converted to an art gallery and also houses a café upstairs.

Breathing a sigh of relief that we have to be hungry no longer, we climbed up the narrow staircase to come face to face with the rooftop café and then… and then we smiled!

 

Kasha Ki Aasha is a dream we all had but never got. A terrace with cane furniture to laze on, lots of plants to keep it cool…. a space where we could relax and spend all our days and evenings and maybe even nights! Away from the chaos and cacophony, one can chill and be at peace at this café for as long as they want. And delicious homecooked food doesn’t hurt either!

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We spent hours here, hogging and just sitting, doing nothing, at some points not even talking…just being quiet! That is the type of place Kasha Ki Aasha is. And if you love such places, you will love this one!

The women who run the café come upstairs from time to time to ask for any order or you can go to the stairs and holler for someone but apart from that, they let you be. No one keeps poking asking if you want anything more, something we Mumbaikars, or for that matter, metro-dwellers are not used to!

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Coming to the food, they have a small menu and also serve some specials apart from the menu. The quantity is decent and one cannot help feel that the prices are a little high. That kept aside, the food is delicious! Their European and Thai thalis are hot selling and pretty famous! They also serve beer and wine. We stuck to mostly Indian options or Indian with a twist. Here’s what we tried and loved:

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Traditional Indian Breakfast – Soft steamed idlis with a bowl of sambhar and a groundnut and coconut based chutney.  The sambhar is non-spicy but had the perfect maa-ke-hath ka taste! The quantity of sambhar is a little less and you may have to ask for another bowl. The chutney is delicious too, with no hint of spiciness.

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Chappati & Dal Fry – Two large and soft chappatis with slightly crispy centres and a small bowl of dal. Dal again was non-spicy but yummy with lots of onions and ginger. This preparation is again served with the chutney.

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Chappati & Dal Fry

Pizza Dosai – Before we tell you what it is, we will tell you that it is delicious!! Two plain uttapams with lots of veggies on top – chopped tomatoes, onions, capsicum and more. This is then finished with lots of cheese! It tastes very slightly sweet owing to the tomato based sauce used to mix the veggies and the batter but the combination overall is amazing and something different!

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Onion Dosai with Chutney – Crispy and thin onion dosas. These were again bang-on yummy and can be had even without that chutney!

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Onion Dosai with Chutney

Black Bean Burger – The black bean burger has two black bean based cutlets with a slightly charred and smokey flavour, topped with tomatoes, capsicum and onions. It is served with a cold macaroni salad that is spiced with black pepper and is delicious. Each of these can be had separately and the combination is lip-smacking.

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The café is open only until 7 p.m. which is really sad considering the ambience is perfect for spending your evenings!!

All in all, Kasha Ki Aasha is an amazing place with good food and should find its way to your list of places to visit in Pondicherry!

Kasha Ki Aasha [Pondicherry] – Google Maps

Kasha Ki Aasha Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Whistling Teal [Chandpole, Udaipur]

Finding The Whistling Teal was a mere fluke for us. As we wandered down the Lake Palace Road, we saw a large board that said Authentic Espresso Coffee. A claim like that is bound to make us stop in our tracks. So we did. We stopped and we crossed the road and we made our way through the huge entrance and through the climber covered door, inside the beautiful café. Or should we say garden?

Hidden away in the verandah of Jhadol Haveli from the busy street, one can not guess that such a calm and serene place exists here. It is successful in reminding one how peaceful nature can be!

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The Whistling Teal makes you want to skip everything and just sit there enjoying the quiet and calm of the garden and the occasional chirping of birds or antics of squirrels.

 

It does not boast of a lake view or of being on a hill top but yet, The Whistling Teal is a place you should head to if you are in Udaipur. It can be romantic and cosy while being beautifully luxe at the same time.

 

 

Odd garden knick-knacks can be found all around which make walking around here really interesting. The owners also have pet dogs and rabbits and you are allowed to play with them. Aroma of coffee being brewed fills the area and the chips and barks and squeaks of birds and animals are the only music here, which by the way is more than enough!!

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We were so lost in the peacefulness that we really did not think about eating anything, but we hear that they serve really lip-smacking Rajasthani dishes. We can vouch for the coffee, though! 😉 😉

The Whistling Teal calls for a visit, even if it is a detour for you!

 

 

The Whistling Teal – Google Maps

The Whistling Teal Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Jheel’s Ginger Coffee Bar & Bakery [Gangaur Ghat, Chandpole, Udaipur]

What happens when you visit a new city and meet locals, be it relatives or friends?

They tell you all about the places you should check out. All this advice is definitely worth heeding to (mostly).

But what when each one tells you  ‘You have to visit Xyz, the view is amazing’ or ‘Have you been to Xyz yet? If not, let me take you, you will thank me later’ and you proudly nod and say, Oh we checked out Xyz yesterday, and we know what you are raving about!’

The Xyz in this context is Jheel’s Ginger Coffee Bar and Bakery and obviously, we are the epic people who checked it out!

Jheel’s Ginger CBB is a guest house that also houses a café and bakery and is located at Gangaur Ghat with a magnificent view of Lake Pichola. The café is spread over two floors of the guest house – the ground floor and the open terrace.
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One can see the entire area lit up, from the bridge to the other hotels and buildings.

February being comparatively cool in Udaipur, the cool breeze made us shiver, but the feeling is totally worth it!

The menu is quite well spread, but we were not here for the food, so we stuck to coffee and a sandwich.

Jheel’s Giner CBB is pretty famous for the breakfast range it has on offer, so that is something one can check out

 

Getting here is a bit tricky since the Cabs do not come beyond Jagdish Temple. One can take a tuk-tuk or an autorickshaw to the nearest point (being the Mata Temple bridge) or can just walk the distance (which is not much) and enjoy the colourful handicrafts and artefacts on the way.

Jheel’s Ginger Coffe Bar is one café you must visit on your trip to Udaipur, not only for the view but also for their decent grub.

Jheel’s Ginger Coffee Bar & Bakery – Google Maps

Jheel's Ginger Coffee Bar & Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Café Ra – Bollywood Café & Restaurant [Chandpole, Udaipur]

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Bollywood Themed Café?

Nothing new in that, right?

But finding it in one of the lanes in Chandpole, famous amongst tourists who may not know many of our stars, was pretty surprising for us.

Café Ra looks like the house of a crazy Bollywood lover, who knows every movie and every dialogue at the back of the head and has a room that is a shrine to a celebrity or Bollywood in general.

Replete with drama, Café Ra is a cute and rugged restaurant dedicated to the owner’s love for Bollywood.

In fact, the way we located this cafe was equally dramatic. We were walking down the narrow lanes of Chandpole, to find another café, when we saw some really colourful and funky looking graffiti on the side walls.

Curious we walk in and discover this fun place. The walls at each level are covered in movie posters, pictures of actors and actresses or movie names. The topmost floor is labelled Stall and has its two walls covered in paintings and movie posters. On the same wall, one can find Coolie and 3 Idiots, Umrao Jaan and Jodhaa Akbar, Pyasaa and Dil Wale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge!

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The cold coffee was something you can refrain from ordering. It was basically sugar water with a little flavour. Hot Coffee was decent.

What you must give a shot to are the parathas and other desi items. We loved the Aloo Paratha we ordered. It was huge and super delicious and spicy like we asked it to be. Served with a lip-smacking mango pickle, this one totally made our day! Another good news? It was for only ₹50!

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Café Ra is a restaurant you should definitely visit for a pocket-friendly meal. Our bill came to a total of ₹150. If not the food, the paintings and the insignias and the Bollywood craziness is sure to make you smile.

Café Ra, Bollywood Café and Restaurant – Google Maps

Cafe Ra - Bollywood Cafe & Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Homemade Café [Oshiwara]

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Wooden panelled blue door and windows covered by a thick canopy of flowers…The Homemade Cafe is a beautiful and cosy cafe on the busy Oshiwara lane. It stands apart from the other establishments in the area with its calm and soothing ambience. An old world charm.

Once you enter the cafe, the homely aroma and feel just invite you in. The interiors are in a washed old colour with artwork and cute frames adorning the walls. Bookshelves, kitchen containers and odd knick-knacks line the cafe and exude a very homely vibe. The cafe is quite small with about 4-5 tables/sofas. Soft instrumental music, violin perhaps, soothe your nerves and just make you want to settle here forever. There is a small counter displaying desserts and bakes right next to the kitchen door.

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Come evening and the cafe is lit up with twinkly lights and candles. The ambience is taken to another level altogether! So romantic and so warm! You will never want to leave this place!

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We tried Cold Coffee, Homemade Greek Salad and Cheese Garlic Bread. 

The coffee was just amazing. Perfect chocolate flavour, thick and consistent. Not too sweet and delicious to the last drop!

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Cold Coffee

Homemade Greek Salad was perfect with lots of veggies and sprouts. The veggies were fresh and the feta cheese was soft and mildly tangy. Seasoned with salt, oregano and herbs, this salad is jam packed with flavours. The vinaigrette dressing adds a punch to the already overwhelming combination. Loved it!

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Homemade Greek Salad

Cheese Garlic Bread were soft loaves of garlic bread, baked to perfection with oodles of melted cheese on top. The intense aroma of baked cheese makes the mouth water uncontrollably. At least it did ours!

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Cheese Garlic Bread

The cafe is a little pricey, but one would not mind much given the ambience. Ou bill came to a total of ₹ 829. The service is friendly. There is decent parking space available in the are and if you are lucky, you get to grab a spot right outside the cafe.

We just loved The Homemade Cafe. It left us with a warm fuzzy feeling!

The Homemade Cafe – Google Maps

The Homemade Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato