Your Next Meal and Your Next Read

Uma Madhu, II Year B. A. English.

Writer’s Café, at Peter’s Lane, Chennai, is a delightful experience. Whether you are a lover of food or books or just unassuming hospitality, the half-a-year old café situated a little way away from Sathyam Theatre, has a lot of joy to offer. The ambience is calm, pleasant and relaxing. Shelves and shelves of books surround the café on the ground floor. You are free to stroll around and browse the impressive collection while you wait for your food. You could also unwind and relax to the soft music that flows gently from the speakers, or the hum of happy conversation and clinking cutlery.

The food is warm, delicious, and reasonably priced. The crispy, thin-crust Margherita and the various flavors of refreshing iced-tea make for a perfect late lunch. Among the mains, the Chicken Schnitzel, served with mushroom sauce with a side of fries and vegetables, is a popular favorite. Besides these, there are delicious skewers, warm, filling toasts and sandwiches, a few varieties of Pasta, and of course, an array of dessert items, of which my personal favorite would be the rich, creamy chocolate mousse.  Of course, the sweet, familiar politeness of the staff is a flavor on its own. You are greeted with a friendly wave and a “Hi!” and rest assured, they will remember you the next time you come around. And the food is just one half of the experience.

Up the narrow stairs you find what can only be described as a book lover’s haven. The bookstore upstairs has an impressive collection of Literary Fiction to Thrillers and Romance to Non-fiction. The store offers an extensive collection of Indian authors. The store also offers stationery and art supplies. Comfy couches, tables and chairs occupy the space which isn’t taken up by bookshelves. What with the free Wifi offered, it becomes a perfect place to work, write, read and relax. In fact most of the regulars here spend weekends from opening to closing hours bundled up on one of the couches, working or writing, headphones to block out what little noise there may be. Something unique about the café is that even in the busy, bustling afternoon hours, there is a sense of calm and serenity, a sort of effortless efficiency with which it functions.

Proceeds and employment in the Writers Café go towards the support of burn survivors. In fact, they make up the entirety of the kitchen staff. The café offers a kitchen tour to anyone who is interested. Perhaps it is the strength of this vision and compassion that really sets it apart from many other concept based cafés in the city.

So the next time you need a place to satisfy cravings of the gastronomical or the literary kind, or simply a place to “chill out” and give yourself a well deserved break, or even a place to cram for that test or get that assignment in order, you know where to go. It’s books and food, people. When has that combination ever gone wrong?

[Photograph Source: hungryforever.com]

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