Cafe Spotting #4: Hablife
Designed by Irishman John Heverin, the terrace-top health haven boasting Chennai’s only aqua-gym and open-air fitness studio, with health-focussed poolside Pan-Asian eatery, has just launched an elite ‘Chef’s Studio’ where sprays of vibrant cushions enliven slate interiors and immense vents preside dramatically above you like thunder clouds. The cafe’s therapeutic juice bar offers six disease-alleviating juices. Lovesickness too? Well no. Although down the aphrodisiacal herbal potion Amritam if you intend to toss the salad. But not before navigating Chef Sentil’s multifarious millet-based marvels. Must-try: exquisitely-plated millet upmas, millet rotis, millet idlis and millet dosas. Millet mania has assailed Chennai but Chef also customises meals after a consultation (that could involve their Ayurveda doctor). As a city once infamous for its saccharine predilections eschews sugar, discover palm sugar and millet viennoiseries and bakeries like surprisingly delicate all-millet croissants, millet and spinach bread and the jazziest jaggery muffins. Palm sugar and millet desserts facilitate guilt-free gormandise (sigh). Slightly less sinful are all-natural sorbets and ice creams concocted by young patissier Satya, trained at London’s two-Michelin-starred Hibiscus.
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