Terrace cafe, check. View of the lake, check. Scrumptious food, check. An extensive wine menu, check. Recreating the magic of swanky Manhattan street cafes is Perry Menzies, owner of Urban Solace. And why not, when the inspiration has come from eateries in America’s poshest downtown area. Opposite Ulsoor Lake, Urban Solace is one of the few cafes in Bangalore that provides a wholesome experience - an unlimited assortment of viands and entertainment. Who would mind a few laughs over a plate of cheese garlic bread or hobnobbing with poets and authors over tall glasses of wine.
Every month this cafe sees a plethora of writers - both amateur and professional - ready to unleash their creative side. And once a week you also get to see the funny kind- with tricks up their sleeves and smiles on their faces a.k.a stand-up comedians.
We happened to stop by on a Wednesday, unaware it is a comedy night. Our work tempers sweetened by a bottle of white wine, we roared with laughter at few jokes and only snickered at others.
In between, we also managed to grab a few bites. On recommendation we first tried the chili garlic toast and stuffed mushroom with cheese. Cooked to perfection, the mushrooms were a melt-in-your-mouth dish. The cook here is quite liberal with cheese. This is evident in most of the starters and pastas.
For the main course, try the pastas or rice bowls.
Not just the food
When Perry planned to open the cafe, it was not the menu, decor or the cutlery he was worried about but the artistes he was so keen to launch. “Being from the adverting world, I know the plight of artistes in our country. I wanted to provide them a free platform to express themselves,” says Perry. Three years ago when he started the cafe, not many artistes turned up and he was forced to put up an exhibition of his own photographs - mostly of lamps - he had clicked in New York. “It was a hit. I actually sold five,” he says.
Perry smiles when he thinks of that day as now his diary is full of upcoming events. “Every week, we have poets coming in. On Wednesdays, we have stand up comedians and also authors on book launches,” he says.
Location says it all
Mostly continental, the cafe also has an extensive menu of deserts. You can chose from tarts, custards and souffles. The highlight of the cafe is its rooftop section and the exotic view of the lake. ‘It is a perfect combination,’ as some would say.
Also you can carry your plate around and admire the paintings of old Bangalore done by Paul Fernandes. It is here and not at his gallery in Richards Town, that he has displayed his entire collection.
The dim lighting and the casual wooden furniture adds to the old world charm of Urban Solace. And if your definition of fun is a cup of coffee and a good book, then you can depend on them for a good brew and a good read from their shelf.