CHENNAI: Needless to say, the name is what catches our attention first. After debating whether it’s a spin on the macabre or a hint that Craveyard Cafe will satisfy our midnight cravings, we decide to head to Adyar’s newest hangout to check it out in person. Turns out, owner Harish Raghav wants the name to convey that he has a “yardful of cravings” on offer!
There’s a touch of quirkiness to everything at the cafe —from the ferris wheel and Christmas tree built with stacked wooden chairs to the ombre blue walls with motifs like diamonds falling from the sky, and shelves laden with upcycled ‘junk’. “After all, everyone who works at this 60-year-old house-turned-cafe is under the age of 30,” 23-year-old Raghav says with a laugh.
With an initial investment from his parents, Raghav—who quit his job as aircraft maintenance ground staff with SpiceJet—decided to start the cafe after he met chef Rishikesh Ravi nine months ago. “Rishi was working as a junior pastry chef at ITC Grand Chola and he too wanted to get into the food business,” he says, explaining that they decided to go Italian since not too many cafes offer fresh ingredients and a good selection of European dishes.
On the menu, we find a selection of paninis, pastas and pizzas. “We don’t use frozen products or sauces out of bottles,” 26-year-old chef Ravi assures us. We ask him to choose our meal. A big platter of potato fries (need we say they are fresh) are served up with a lashing of homemade BBQ sauce, with a side of their in-house mayonnaise and tomato sauce. Hearty and well seasoned, they are a good start. We follow this up with a Margherita pizza (the base is made from scratch at the cafe) and a pepper sauteed mushroom with red sauce pasta. Despite an emphasis on value for money, the mains need a tad more fine-tuning.
While the Margherita sauce is flavoursome, the pizza base is chewy and we miss the trademark basil. The pasta, too, lacks crunch and the complex flavours we love in a red sauce. However, the chef makes up for this with the sweet treats. Their bed of brownies is any chocoholic’s dream—a rich, decadent offering of moist brownies and dark chocolate sauce. We also enjoy the mocktail of the day, a refreshing pina colada.
“Our breads and pastries are baked fresh every day and we change the dessert menu every two days,” says Ravi, adding that they also have plans to introduce vegan dishes and non vegetarian options soon.
With expansion plans on the cards in the next six months (they are still debating the new location), the cafe will also see some changes. According to Raghav, they want to convert the terrace into a village setting, great for lounging in the evenings, while the pet-friendly grounds, with its outdoor seating, will get an events zone. They also plan to kick-off home deliveries soon. Stop by now to sample their season’s offerings of plum cakes, stollen breads and pumpkin cakes.
Craveyard Cafe is open from 10 am to 10 pm, for brunch, lunch and dinner. A meal for two is priced at `700. For details, contact 8939999160.