ITS SHEER PLEASURE SPENDING LONG HOURS OVER COFFEE AND YOUR FAVOURITE FOOD IN THE AWESOME AMBIENCE OF A CAFÉ, WRITES NIMRAT KAUR AHUJA
A café – A lot more than just coffee
The registration of cafés goes back to 14th century in Turkey and thereon 17th century in England, after the printing press and publishing houses were talked off and intellectuals picked these places for discussions, presentations or perhaps a silent evening in some corner of the café. Or a lady sitting all guarded with pearls and silhouettes, at one of these cafes in the evening during the Victorian Era. While you thought a café has to do with picking a coffee over chai, then you’ll probably be excited to know that café culture has so much more to do other than a latte with a date. We bring forth to you a combination of various cafes in Chandigarh and Punjab that will enlighten you about what a café is other than going for a coffee over a chai.
BACKPACKERS CAFÉ – OLDEST AND RICHEST
Awarded with the best café award twice Backpackers has been the oldest, and consistent of all. Having said that, we thought of speaking with a customer and asking them what they think about Backpackers. Landing on the first table, we met Dilmeet Grewal, a regular client, who waits for the first table to get vacant and says, “Backpackers is one of the best cafes in Chandigarh and were truly the trend setters for café outlets in the city. I have been coming here for years and sometimes, even twice a day.” What sets your café apart from the others in the city?
We have clients that are 10 years old. Using the experience of 10 years that we have had over other cafés is certainly what sets us apart from delivering the best.
Like you said, 10 years and cafés have been loved by people. What do you think makes them pick a café over a fine-dine?
The idea behind going out is to chit-chat, or read a book if you are alone and have your food quickly served. People don’t have enough time to wait for food and they’d rather like to enjoy the ambience.
Having quoted ambience and décor, do you think it’s a must for a place to look attractive?
The ambience and the food play an extremely important role in making a café what it is and that’s exactly what pulls people to it. A place with good food and good ambience is what people are craving for nowadays.
Why did you name it Backpackers?
The meaning of backpackers is as literally meant here at the café as the word suggests, it’s for people who keep moving. That’s the entire idea we run on, not to keep the customers waiting as for us they are friends and we appreciate their efforts to make us what we are by acknowledging us.
What is the most exclusive thing about the ambience of Backpackers?
Music, books, outdoor sitting; cafes have played on that. But our pick is that which a backpacker would cherish the most, a travelogue.
What would backpackers be like two years down the line?
We don’t target high, we target good food and healthy relations with our customers, and to mention I would say these aren’t customers to me or my staff, we treat each of them like friends would. So we’ll let them decide where we are two years from now.
One word that describes your café – backpackers.
The best time to visit – We work equally to satisfy
our customers throughout the day
Signature food – Veg : lasagna, jacket potatoes.
Non veg: Grilled fish.
Chapter 7 café story
“Art is anything and everything you come across in life; from picking your hand for eating food or writing a piece of poem,” says Amarbir, the owner of Chapter 7 café. An unexplored layer of yourself that you concentrate all your passion into is what makes you who you ultimately are. Such is the passion that makes Chapter 7 what it is!
You name it and they have it; books for the readers, postcards for the memory creators and a typewriter for the antique writers. The complete idea of what a café is has been extraordinarily yet softly layered in every inch of what Chapter 7 has to offer the customers, to correct me as per Amarbir it would be the explorers. We put forth some questions to him to describe these further. Here, is what he had to say.
The story behind ‘Chapter 7’
It’s a sequel; a sequel to the earlier café that I had started, ‘Why Knot Café’. It’s like another chapter in my life, to add to the chapter was the sector, which is 7. Therefore ‘CHAPTER 7’ was named.
Specifically focusing on hospitality, we asked Amarbir what is chapter here to offer. And here is what he had to say, “All that a child needs is good food, a mother and a hug. Such is the construction of hospitality for us. You can’t afford to say no to the child out of love and passion to see him grow, but all you do is pamper him with the best of what you can. That is what we are here to serve. Your customer is not seeking food only, but a good hospitable place is all that he is coming out for.
I have a number of artistic friends, who paint, write, make art murals and are extremely good at their work. However, there is rarely a good opportunity to showcase, and subsequently outshine. So this platform is for all those who are passionate and want to go out and explore themselves. Look around and you’ll find just that: a combination of artistic forms. Art is everywhere, everything is an art.
People are going out to cafés these days more than fine-dine. What is your take on that?
The lines between a café and a fine dine are disappearing. How people would classify these now a days is absolutely different in each way. Other than good food, people specifically look for a great ambience and music for a place to look appealing. Hence, nothing is better than a place they could feel different at, a place that they relate to than just a fine dine outlet.
Like you said, ambience and music are becoming the key ingredients to ones taste. Enlighten us.
When a person walks into my door; the doors of the café and isn’t transported to another place; then it’s not the place they should be in. There shouldn’t only be doors for the food but doors for the eye and beyond. And so I feel ambience and music are a preference amongst customers these days.
Two years later where do u see Chapter 7?
A dose of creativity, a high for art and incredible talent sprouting throughout the place is where I see Chapter 7. There’ll be more art and new forms of art flourishing through the walls of Chapter 7 and echoing across the tables.
Bakes and Beans
– who brought Amritsar from Kulcha channa to Café
Getting the local Amritsaris to leave their popular food like the Puri and chana, the famous Amritsari Kulcha and/or bhira chicken etc. and bring them to a latte with a cupcake. For Chand & ShivaniMehra, “It is the experience and we strive perfection which keeps us going.”
What do you think has made people of all age groups pick café’s over fine-dine and clubs?
People want the flexibility of eating any time as per their convenience. Secondly, café’s are the social hubs everyone wants to meet over a coffee to gossip, discuss business, date or generally catch up with friends at the most happening café in town.
How far do you think interiors play an important role in shaping the opinion of customers about a café?
Interior makes the first impact on the client, the colour, theme, the comfy seating and the lighting will always leave an impression on the customers as this constitutes to 50 per cent of your repeat clientele.
Compared to other café’s around, what do you think sets you apart?
Bakes & Beans in a unique concept and we cater to all age groups from school going kids to grandparents. Our USP is the food; we are consistently serving the best continental and Italian cuisines in Amritsar for the past three years. We keep adding new things, like live singing which we started a year back which is now a hit.
Music, books and outdoor sitting. Which one would be your pick for the café?
Music is always relaxing and a mood changer.
Share with us a signature recipe
Grilled Sandwich (farm fresh)
2 slices of our homely baked jumbo bread
Cottage Cheese: 30 gms
Mozzarella Cheese: 20 gms
Cheddar Cheese: 20 gms
Capsicum/Onions/mushrooms: 30 gms (sautéed in olive oil with salt and pepper)
Salt pepper/seasoning: As per taste
Your café in a word – Happening.
The best day to visit – Any Day!!!
Signature dish – Farm Fresh
Bistro Café in Ludhiana
In conversation with Nishant Jairatha, the owner of Bistro Café in Ludhiana.
What do you think has made people of all age groups pick café’s over fine-dine and clubs?
Café’s have always provided people with a casual environment and ambience, where you relax and enjoy a good cup of coffee or food, catch up with friends without a serious dent on the pocket.
How far do you think interiors play an important role in shaping the opinion of the customers about a café?
Interiors play a very important role in forming an opinion about a café. People like to have a place to themselves where being comfortable is a priority. If you see around our Café, our seating is different as we have tried to create a good mix of casual and formal ambience around the place.
Compared to various café’s around, what do you think sets you apart?
Definitely it has to be our food and the ambience which we offer to our clients. We never compromise on the quality of our ingredients as making a buck is definitely not our first priority with this business.
Music, books, outdoor sitting, which one would be your pick for the café?
That depends on the kind of mood, for instance nothing beats having good food or coffee sitting outside on a sunny winter day and good jazz music playing in the background.
An anecdote for the café lovers
Both I and my elder brother Sachin Bembi have worked in restaurants as assistants to Chef’s while studying in UK. Our parents would only pay for our tuition fee and we would have to earn our own living. So working in a kitchen was our first job and that’s where we developed passion for food and since then it has been our dream to open up café and now we are living that dream. So anecdote would be to do what you love and you would definitely reap the benefits it has to offer. However you have to be passionate, persistent and definitely patient.
Your café in a word- Classy
The best day to visit- Any day
Signature dish –Molten Lava Cake
One compliment you were flattered with
It’s always a pleasure when a guest tells us we are the best in town for food and ambience that we have to offer vis a vis our competitors.