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By Mitz Iyer in Wickked! - On

A few days ago, I decided to eat out at a restaurant I hadn’t been to before. But that lunch, as it turned out, turned into so much more. It wasn’t just the food that was good, but also that dash of art, a pleasant surprise.

A Paean To Coffee

We all love coffee, most of us at least. I definitely do. When it’s that last day (as usual) to submit all those horrid projects and such, that cup is what saves you, keeping your reluctant eyes open all night, so you can stumble to the teacher at dawn and crash down later, cursing away with thoughts of murder in your sleep.

It’s not just for assignments, it’s a done thing these days to meet up at cafes, discussing your latest crush and your latest cruise over cups of milky, brown heaven. A friend told me once, if your eyes are the gateway to your soul, coffee is certainly the gatekeeper who keeps them open!

Keeping up with the popularity of such cafes, a few have come up with innovative ideas to promote other things as well. Art, for example. Or books. Or music.

A Must-Visit In Vellore

The restaurant I was referring to earlier is called ‘Amala’s’, and has a very nice concept. It’s owned by Usha Jesudasan, who used to be a columnist for The Hindu. I’m a foodie, and I loved both the taste of the food and the large quantity served. Creamy sauce over heaped pasta, sprinkled with a dash of red chilli. A spoon of this and you’re in pasta heaven! There’s also a bookshelf stuffed with books, ranging through very different genres. There’s Ayn Rand, and there’s Judy Blume. And a lot of others besides. The best thing- it’s all contributed by students! When I asked her how she kept the collection going, she said, smiling, that when students lose a book, they come back with three others. The atmosphere is informal and friendly. There’s a large board, where students pin up the poetry or stories they’ve written. Music bands come once in a while. The Lounge Piranhas supposedly stopped by once for tea! Students sing a-capella in a warm, cozy environment. Foreign students, the Chinese and the Africans for instance, come over once in a while, and cook some exotic food themselves.

A Few Other Places

The Indian Art Café in Hyderabad. The logo is particularly cute, a coffee bean in a south Indian veshti! The café has art and sculpture around, and they claim in their website that you can eat ‘nestled in a sculptural Bullock-Cart, photo ops et al’.

Delhi O Delhi, a café in, obviously, Delhi. It’s foyer, as an article in the Times Of India puts it, ‘has been turned into an informal gallery to promote Indian photography and display it’.

Bagel’s Café, in Delhi again. The same article talked about this place too, which, to quote the owner Lalita de Goederen, ‘encourages artists to hang their paintings and photographs on the stark white walls at the different branches of the café’. Sounds good!

A simple search on the trusty web will land you tons of other options as well.

And Thus..

Clearly, going out for coffee or lunch isn’t just doing that anymore. There are so many new things you can try out. So get out there, discover art. While munching. Bon appetit

Mitz Iyer

An engineer (hopefully), a foodie (earnestly), a writer (predictably). An avial, you say?

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