Cafe Spotting #5: Brew Room
The glamorous Nina Reddy has thrown the Mad Hatter’s Coffee Party with very English interiors and Spanish Aurovillian Marc’s coffees. A Cordon Bleu chef, Madhulika, purveys victuals. Usha Uthup and posse combat for tables in rain-lashed gardens as expats in chokka indoors tarry over lattes as thick as a mud bath, svelte iced coffees, terrific cardamom-effusing Turkish coffee to shame Istanbul’s finest and a house blend that melds home-made almond milk with Japanese cold drip coffee brewed for 18 hours. Coffees are artfully crafted, but masala chai is a masterpiece. Prettily skewered bocconcini salad evinces premium ingredients, and penne pesto contains madly pricy pine nuts (competitors even asked that I authenticate these were real pine nuts!). The array of sugar-flayed confection including tremendous, quintessentially English cakes extorts, ‘Please Sir, may I have some more?’ But locals suspend their gluttonous demolitions of butter-creamed ‘traditional chocolate cake’, beat-me-if-you-can brownies, blondies, flapjacks and pumpkin muffins only when Dhanush manifests, petrifying everyone. Things revive when Anita Ratnam’s Bharatanatyam dancers explode into spontaneous dance in a cafe upholding Chennai’s culture — not just its coffee culture.
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