It’s always a delight when someone messages me and says,” Dude, I am in Bangalore. Shall we catch up? “. So when Prashanth sent me a similar message over whatsapp one fine day, I was gearing up for the meet up. Here is Prashanth’s short intro- fellow Amrita dude who is busy with
Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint his Masters in Business Administration in IIM, Trichy. It’s wonderful to indulge in these occasional coffee conversations with friends and discuss with them how much our lives and careers have changed since the time we last met. Chinchu too joined us and we had decided to meet up at the Hole in the Wall Cafe in Koramangala. It wasn’t a wise decision considering that it was weekend and getting a table here is next to impossible. So, we decided to walk till Mr. Beans coffee lounge, one of my favorite cafes in Bangalore. Having come here so many times before at the insistence of Priyanka, I had memorized the Menu. The quaint interiors, quirky ambiance, Foosball set up, Bridge, Scrabble and Uno makes it such a feel-good place for a coffee outing.
Coffee. Foosball. College Gossips
Talk about Bangalore and instantly people recognize it with its awesome weather and its pubs. But over the years, the café culture has strolled into the lives of its people and is almost synonymous with the Garden City. Yes, when V G Siddhartha opened the first Café Coffee Day (CCD) at the Brigade Road in 1996, he wouldn’t have had an inkling of what he is going to create. He certainly wouldn’t have dreamt that in the next decade or so, there will be cafés lurking around almost every corner of Bangalore. Following the success story of the CCD, a good number of brands like the Barista, Costa Café, Gloria Beans and the international Coffee giant Starbucks have set foot to try and gain a foothold here.
But it was never expected to be like this. Bangalore, being in the Southern part of India, is famous for its filter coffee. And to get the filter coffee population to accept this new and relatively expensive concept of coffee, had its own challenges. But I thought it is where the all the cafes played smart. They made sure that they all had a cozy and a quieter ambiance to attract the customers, a feel good surrounding and of course, the quality beverages to bowl the customers over. It was more than just the quality of coffee and food. They slowly were emerging as a catalyst for social conversations. When CCD had its tagline, “A lot can happen over coffee”, it instantly reached the people. Stress busting gossip sessions, dates, friendly hangouts, girly chit chats and birthday treats were all to happen here. Think of pre-café days where you had to go to faraway places to hangout. You can’t think of doing that in today’s time. More than anything, the insane Bangalore traffic wouldn’t make life easier for you. That’s where these cafes which are at walk able distance from anywhere in the city, comes to your rescue.
Most of the cafes provide the WiFi connectivity so that their customers can stay connected online. Over the time, these cozy corners have even attracted the business people. A lot of successful start ups in Bangalore still cherish their days spent in one of these cafés as they were working on their business ideas. Cafes these days have improvised a lot. Some of them have their little libraries while some rope in talented bands to perform. Global Tree Café at the MG Road has an art wall which the artists take over on a monthly basis to showcase all their works. When Barista opened, one could see people playing scrabble and strumming the guitar. It’s all about having a niche that separates one from the rest.
The cozy sit out at the Au Bon Pain
So, what’s the future like, for these coffee shops? Bangalore has been witnessing a surge in the number of International coffee players and the trend is set to continue. It was expected that they would eat into the markets of the existing players here. When Starbucks opened its first outlet in Koramangala last year, people wondered how the CCDs would be impacted. But they were quick to realize that the market here is huge. There is a lot of potential which remains untapped. All the brands have set out their expansion plans for Bangalore and are not looking back. The Café culture in Bangalore will continue to blossom in the days to come too. After all, Bangaloreans love their coffee and the Coffee town of Coorg is very close by!!
It was quite ironic that most of the people in my Twitter timeline were talking about food, on the day of Shivarathri, when almost everyone took to fasting. Couple of food junkies added me in Instagram. A friend suddenly tweets, asking me to suggest her the must try-out eateries in Bangalore. And there were special items on the cafeteria menu. How ironic! To add to all of these, Prinku sends me the pics of the dishes that we had ordered the previous day. And yes, we did have a wonderful day with the different taste buds.
Au Bon Pain:
French Breakfast @ Au Bon Pain
Au Bon Pain has been my most preferred place for breakfast after the Dosa outlets and the Kerala restaurants in Bangalore. I stumbled upon this French cafe bakery one fine day, when I was going through Shivya’s blog (www.the-shooting-star.com ) and what immediately struck me was their in-cafe nutritional kiosks. Pesto and Sandwiches are my favorite and depending upon the mood, I make a choice between the cappuccinos and mango smoothies. The calorie counts on every menu item is displayed and the choice is all yours to go for low-calorie, low-fat or a vegan dietary. I love the ambiance here and they play some soothing numbers in the mornings.
Mexican Lunch @ Tacobell
French breakfast was done with and now, it was time to turn Mexican for lunch. And so after giving it too much of a thought, we headed to Tacobell. One will instantly fall in love with Tacobell. The floral designs are all over and the food wrappings will make any creative designer blush. I always go for the Kathitos; for there is something in these Chat-pata rolls taste-alike, that I keep going back to again and again. Nachos, Burritos, Tacos and Cinnabon delights too are worth having a try. Top them all with the unlimited soft drinks that’s available. Yes, you can drink Pepsi as much as you want. The icing on the cake is probably the free WiFi. You can click pictures of your dishes and instantly upload them in the social media.
Mango shots from the CCD have always tempted me. And because you have CCDs lurking around almost every corner in Bangalore, it wouldn’t take much of a time. I always love the CCD, despite the hopeless Coffee that they serve. The sizzlers are out of the world here, along with the Mango shots of course. But I get fascinated by the Cafe Digest newspaper that they have, the contents of which deserve being featured in page 2 of the TOI. Needless to say, I cherish all the coffee table conversations here.
shots @ CCD
Well, it was all foodies on Shivarathri…