Pune’s perfect pet project

Love for dogs and coffee leads two foodpreneurs to start a cafe, where pets can accompany their owners. There is also a special menu and dedicated staff for man’s best friends.

Published: 29th July 2018 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th July 2018 10:17 PM   |  A+A-

Aniket Naik and Smita Murthy

Express News Service

Pet obsession has come to Pune. The Fat Labrador Café in Bavdhan is the first venture of Smita Murthy and Aniket Naik. Inspired by cafés from around the world that allows pets to accompany their owners.
The cafe is the brainchild of former corporate manager Smita and hotelier Aniket, after a few years’ stint in IT. Their friendship started at a gym a decade ago, which they turned into a partnership, driven by their love of dogs and coffee. “The cafe is named after Cookie, my 11-year-old Labrador,” Smita lovingly says about her pet.  

The mojo of the cafe is coffee. Hot is the pure, home-brewed coffee in South Indian and Italian espresso blends here while cold is Vietnamese-style iced coffee. “My family background, which extends to Bengaluru, is the root cause of my eternal caffeine love,” says Smita.

The interiors—practical and simple—are designed by Smita’s niece. Photographs of people and their pets adorn the deep blue walls; the café encourages visitors to share their best photographic moments with their pooches, and they are more than happy to add them to their picture collection. There is an outdoor as well as indoor seating with 30 tables. Patrons can eat with their pets outdoors. There is also a dedicated area, where guests can leave their pets under supervision, while they catch up with their friends for a cup of coffee.

The owners double as executive chefs. Smita is the barista and Aniket is the chef. Smita  boasts, perhaps not unreasonably, “The Fat Labrador Cafe is one of the places where one can get a good South Indian Coffee.” The house blend comes all the way from Bengaluru. The menu, designed primarily by Aniket, is divided into two sections—Human Menu and Pet Menu.

The human guests can choose from an elaborate beverage outlay, which consists of different types of coffees, teas, juices and basil frozen smoothie with roasted almonds. The chicken soup or rice bowl with boiled eggs and chicken are good as the mains. Masala omelettes, open toasts, crostini, bruschetta, and a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian sandwiches add to the variety of the fare at the cafe. But the dog is the boss here, says Smita, adding, “Any pet that accompanies its  ‘parent’ will get a free treat.”

The pet menu has food items such as chicken and rice along with boiled veggies and dog treats. Home-made cookies are also part of it. Guests can also consider this place as a venue for celebrating their pet’s birthday.

Smita and Aniket’s combined desire to make The Fat Labrador Café the most happening place in the city has led them to make it a personal leisure experience for its customers. Here reading a book and socialising with friends while man’s best friend  keeps company is the shtick. “We have plans to hold regular book reading sessions and screen short films in the near future, since we have enough space to keep our customers engaged and entertained. The kitchen area is separate from the pet area to address hygiene concerns,” says Aniket.

Where & What
Business Square, Opp. DSK Ranwara, Bavdhan, Pune
Cost for two: J500-1,000
Timings: 11 am to 8.30 pm.
For queries, call
099236 95532

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