Bubble tea, Basque cheesecake & vintage vibes; Joints trending among the youth

Quaint ambience, delicious food and unique drinks... cafes in Thiruvananthapuram are upping their game. Some even act as hybrid workspaces.
Sarwaa Cafe
Sarwaa Cafe

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  Quaint ambience, delicious food and unique drinks... cafes in the city are upping their game. Some even act as hybrid workspaces. George Johnson checks out some joints that are trending among the youth

Sarwa Cafe – Old-world charm 
Looking for a comfortable space to relax your stressed mind? Then head to Sarwa opposite the All India Radio building in Vazhuthacaud. The space is beautiful in the day with its vibrant decor and come dusk, it is decoratively lit. The traditionally furnished indoors with antique bookshelves not just add character to the space, but also lets you pick up a book to read over a cuppa. The aesthetic ambience of the café is what makes Sarwa unique. The space is a hotspot for students, celebrities, couples and bachelors and is a popular spot for birthday parties and casual get-togethers. “I come here alone to write,” says Krishna Murali, a young director and scriptwriter, who is a regular visitor. The menu includes caffeine-free fruit and flower teas, vegan coffees, waffles, pancakes and more.

Bao-Tao Cafe – For bubble tea
The Bao-Tao café in Kowdiar is a place that introduced the city to the bubble tea trend. One needs a big straw for this drink of Taiwanese origin. Made using tapioca pearls (also known as boba), the bubble tea is having its moment in the city. Every bottle of bubble tea starts with a large scoop of chilled boba. Bao-Tao café serves a variety of bubble teas including one in which boba is replaced with imported fruit-based jelly balls, which pop in your mouth. The drink has more than 15 varieties including orange, green apple, lychee, and spicy versions such as fruit chilli, lemon sweet-salt mango green chilli, and more. In addition to the creamy teas, try authentic snacks such as Vietnamese rice rolls, Korean potato dogs and peri peri chicken momos at Bao-Tao. 

Turf Cafe– A Dutch story
Turf Cafe at Kulathoor reminds one of the kind of old Dutch architecture and interiors one sees in English movies. It is the sole Dutch-inspired cafe in the city. Lighting, paintings, antiques, decorative items, and indoor plants all scream Dutch antique style. Anyone who enjoys aesthetics and a cup of coffee would appreciate the place. That’s not all. The café goes the extra mile to maintain social distance from QR codes for downloading the menu and ordering contactless. “Excellent coffee! I like the Dutch ambience and the slow music being played all time. I prefer visiting Turf in the late afternoon because it’s less crowded and allows me to read in peace,” says Anoop Josh, a customer. The café serves a variety of hot and cold beverages, as well as exotic desserts such as Crème Brule, which is flamed live on the customer’s table along with bites that are assigned a unique menu based on how they are prepared, such as ‘toddlers’ for basic ingredients, ‘humans’ for average, and ‘monsters’ for anything extra, such as more cheese and patty on a burger. It is a main hangout space for techies, as it is situated near Technopark.

Open Kafe – An open space 
Open Kafe at Vazhuthacaud is a new spot in town which allows you to meet and greet your dear ones with services available till 1 am. It also lets you bring in work. It has an open space, a semi-open space, or a closed space to conduct meetings. The space even has an entirely enclosed, air-conditioned hub with a desk equipped with multiple plugs along with a Wi-Fi facility with no additional charges. “This is a new experience, I love to sit here and complete my work here,” says Anush Kumar, a regular customer. Cold coffee, espresso, flat whites, and other hot and cold beverages are available at the café. “We are going to refresh the whole menu with many more items soon,” says Ligin S, manager of the café. The café is located on Vazhuthacaud-Poojappura Road, next to AIR.

FrenchMac Cafe – Cheesecake and more
While passing through Kuravankonam-Marappalam road, it is hard to miss the huge signboard, welcoming people into the newly established FrenchMac café. The interiors, furnished in European architecture, have indoor plants. The two-storey café has an open floor with a bar counter-like seating arrangement. The highlight of the space is its wide range of Italian and continental dishes. Bruschetta, a starter dish, and some other finger foods such as panko fried chicken, cheese phyllo bites, spiked peri chicken skewers, fritto misto, crispy calamari, shrimp with beurre blanc sauce, battered onion rings are part of the menu.  Desserts include Basque cheesecake, which is a popular favourite. “The Basque cheesecake is a must try, as it is rare in Thiruvananthapuram,” says Teena John, a first-time visitor to the café.

A big sip beverage fest
The Hilton Garden Inn in Thiruvananthapuram has come up with a slew of specifically curated beverages as part of a fest at their VBar. The event titled KRAFTED has lined up a total of six drinks made from fresh fruits and herbs, including Costa Rica, SMOKO, Summer Slam and many more. A variety of summer drinks are available from January 13 to 31 at VBar of the five-star hotel from 3 pm to 11 pm.

Make Mayo at home
The Kerala government has banned mayonnaise made out of eggs in all food joints and if you are one of those who can’t eat your shawarmas and fried food without mayo then make one at home. Thiruvananthapuram-based home chef, Priya Kolassery has an easy-peesy egg-less mayonnaise recipe.

1/2 cup boiled milk (room temperature)
1tsp lemon juice
1 pinch salt 3/4 cup olive oil
1/4tsp sugar
1 pinch salt
1/4 tsp mustard paste or black pepper powder

In a mixer, pour milk, lemon juice, salt and sugar and grind well. Then add drops of olive oil and blend well so that it has a thick consistency. Add some mustard paste or pepper powder and now you are good to serve it as a dip.

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