India's premier luxury lifestyle women's magazine
Wine & Dine
November 10, 2015

Cafe Spotting #5: Brew Room

Text by Devanshi Mody

In this series, we explore new openings and discover mindfully conceived cafes in the heart of Chennai

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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