Bayroute [Cuffe Parade]

From the very moment we entered Bayroute, we were mesmerized by its charm…

Bayroute is uniquely conceptualized to capture the essence of Middle-Eastern culture, all the while being very chic and stylish.

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The décor makes every corner and every wall #Instagramable. Warm lighting, dust-coloured walls and kaleidoscopic window decor add a wave of calm to the entire experience. The music takes this experience a notch higher. You will definitely be transported to a beautiful and artistic magical land.

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Bayroute is not only about the ambience. They have taken care to represent the culture even in the menu. If you pay close attention, the way the menus are read mimic the Arabic style of writing. Such attention to details left a smile on our faces.

Now that we are on the menu, let’s talk about the variety! They have so many options to pick from and so many options within these options! It is quite overwhelming for someone not familiar with the cuisine. We won’t lie, we ourselves knew only certain dishes till date, but we come back with our knowledge expanded and our tummies satisfied.

Here is what we ordered and fell in love with:

 

Arabic Date and Palm Shake – Dates are a very important part of Arabic culture and cuisine. But for us, this was the first time we tried such a combination. In fact, the newness of the combination and the word Arabic adding a dash of excitement that it is an authentic preparation made us order it in the first place. The shake also had a hint of coffee in it making it a very refreshing drink. It was not too sweet (just how we like), rich and very delicious.

Reyhan – This was a very refreshing drink. The citrus-y fragrance kept drawing our attention while we clicked the pictures. Both Basil and Orange were quite strong in the drink but surprisingly none overpowered the other.

Bayroute Kale and Avocado – A deconstructed salad or should be say deconstructed happiness? Kale, avocado, zucchini and purple lettuce tossed in a basic dressing. The tons of cranberries and the lip-smacking tamarind dressing along with the falafel patties added a lot of funk to the greens.

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Muhammara – Muhammara is a Syrian red pepper dip with walnuts, garlic, pomegranate and olive oil. It has a grainy texture and had a spicy undertone. Nothing that makes you cry, but enough to tell you that it is there. We quite liked it. It came with piping hot Pita bread and pickled vegetables. This red dip made us fall in love with it and Google the recipe.

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Peynir Pide – Pide is something we have tried earlier and hence knew what to expect and were not let down either. Pide is a boat/canoe-shaped Turkish flatbread with a variety of toppings. Peynir had chunks of cottage cheese and olives topped with Burrata cheese and the famous Middle Eastern spice Zatar.

 

 

Bayroute Manakeesh – Manakeesh is another flatbread but this one comes from Lebanon-Syria. A Manakeesh traditionally only had spreads and spices on it.
We tried the one that not only had the traditional spices and flavours from the Middle East but also the more contemporary mix of Nutella, Banana and Caramel.

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# Labneh: Thick and creamy yoghurt, made by a technique that strains the curd of most of it’s liquid (hung curd) and renders this creamy yoghurt cheese. Garlic and lime added tanginess to it. Topped with zucchini, bell peppers and olives, this was delicious.

# Za’atar Cheese: Za’atar is an aromatic Mediterranean spice and herb blend. Loved this mix of thyme, oregano and sesame, only made more amazing by cheese!

# Harissa: Not for the faint-hearted, Harissa is the red chilli pepper paste made from a mix of chilli peppers and is most famous in Morocco, Tunisia and Libya. These two slices made us cry. Very spicy!

# Nutella: This one needs no explanation but came as a respite for the hot and spicy Harissa slices.

 

Overall Experience: Bayroute is an amazing place, perfect in every way. We highly recommend it!

Bayroute – Google Maps

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Well Café [Auroville]

We will go anywhere for food. Seriously, anywhere.

That explains why we took an hour-long ride in the hot sun, after a scuba session (❤) to reach the depths of Auroville. Hidden away in the interiors of Auroville, you will find many a treasures and Well Café is one such treasure.

Wilderness is that word that defines this place the best.

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Why we recommend this café?

Firstly, the food is insanely good. It is simple yet amazing. The café specialises in Mediterranian cuisine with limited options and the food is prepared fresh by the local women.

Secondly, the ambience is amazing. An open garden café with random chairs strewn under a thick canopy of trees whose trunks are covered in colourful sarees. You will find crafts made from recycled paper hanging from above. Chirping birds, a dog or two, and a few really colourful insects (we did not know God made these, this colourful!!) are your company. But don’t let this worry you, sometimes, such an ambience can do wonders!

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Thirdly, the café and the entire WELL centre (that includes a handmade paper shop, art gallery, etc. ) is managed by women for the empowerment of women in this area. This place gives you a peek into their lives. Spend some time and chat with the locals and they will share their stories with you! There also is a homestay next door and in case, living amidst a thick cover and with locals is your calling, you should definitely check out this place.

Fourthly, this café also hosts musical nights and other events from time to time. The ambience is then transformed to one of those mid forest camping-party style places which makes it even more awesome.

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What we absolutely love and still lust over are the Vegetable Omelette & Cheese Baguette and the Eggplant & Labane Baguette. 

First I burned my tongue fighting over the super hot vegetable omelette and now I am drooling all over my laptop at the thought it. This cannot be good!

Vegetable Omelette & Cheese Baguette – The vegetable omelette was delicious on its own. Thick and so well spiced, it had onions, coriander and more. The curd cheese that was spread over the crispy pieces of bread was heavenly. Yup, we did lick it off the plate! If only we could fill like a jar or a room with it and bring it back to Mumbai!! These were served with three salads, a beetroot and cream based, a mixture of cabbage, beetroot, carrots & more and another one which had a little tart due to the addition of vinegarette.

Eggplant & Labane Baguette – Labane or curd cheese spread generously over the crispy bread, topped with smoked eggplant slices. This was another delight! This was also served with salads, a pepper spiced cauliflower based salad being one of the portions served.

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Eggplant & Labane Baguette

 

Well Café is a place you would enjoy as much for the food and courteous, smiling service as you would for the peaceful escape it provides from all forms of chaos!

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If you are ever in Auroville, this is definitely a place you should check out!

 

P.S.: Trust Google Maps, even if you feel it has lost its mind! It will bring you here.

 

 

Well Cafe [Auroville] – Google Maps

Well Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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

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