If you ask Archana the co-founder and the soul behind Imli Cafe and Restaurant what is her kitchen secret? She would propably say ‘mere paas maa ki recipes hai’. Homely healthy food in a relaxed ambience is the key selling point of this newly opened cafe-restaurant in the cuisine-happy neighbourhood of Indranagar, Bangalore. Add to it Archana’s artistic background and her plans to add few artistic touches to the cafe through designs, an artistic corner and events it does makes us sit, notice and dine at the place.
Nested in a corner building on a bylane of the popular CMH road, Indiranagar the bright yellow walls of the restaurant is something that stands out in the neighbourhood and invites your gaze. Walking into the restaurant we met Dhiraj Shetty, co-founder of the restaurant. Unfortunately Archana was travelling so we missed her around but Dhiraja did kept us engaged in conversation (and you know we love good conversations and good meal!).
The ground floor of the restaurant has a small and a simple dining area with incomplete hand painintings adoring portions of the wall, waiting for Archana to give the finishing touches. The highlight of the restaurant and one that most would prefer would be the terrace dining on the first floor. Well spaced out and naturally lit gives a relaxed ambience and the simple wooden furnitures still gives a comfortable seating. I instantly liked the openness of the area and the setup. The terracotta roofing is high and being a corner building opens up the area and thankfully being in the bylane keeps the outside distractions to the minimum. Dhiraj mentioned that one of the idea behind the restaurant is to give an non-intrusive ambience where the diners can relax and indulge on a long conversations alongside their food.
For al those die-hard non-vegetarians out there please note Imli serves only pure vegetarian North Indian cuisine but you do have a large menu, different sharbats and variety of chai and coffees to keep you engaged.
Browsing the fairly populated menu was itself interesting. Din Bhar Khana Peena , Chaat – Vaat, Sookhi Sabzion Ki Bahaar, Rasedar Sabzion Ki Bahaar, Dalein , Set Pet Puja, Chawal Toh Chalega, Muh Meetha Karlen, Ek Thanda Ho Jaaye, Taazi Garam Chai Coffee. Now that sounds tempting isn’t it? And you do have a long list under each of these. A simple menu though sounding straight from a home kitchen. The choice of the dishes are picked from various parts of North India and not anything ‘experiemental’ or ‘fancy’ but reminding you of various ghar ka khanna you would have tasted at your home, relatives or friend’s home. For those who are hard-pressed to choose from the long list and would like to keep it simple, you can opt for ‘Set Pet Puja’ combos that are available in various combinations and priced at Rs. 200.
From simple Besan Ka Cheela served with aam ka morabba, my favourite Mathri aur Ghar Ka Achaar (that reminds me the ones made by my mother-in-law!) to Poori aur Aalu Ki Sabzi and various khichdis and the Pakodeys. I would recommend you to try their assorted Pakodey that is crispy, non-oily and perfect for bangalore weather! Perfect for engaging on a long conversation and a cup of piping hot chai that comes in a choice of tulsi, pudina, adhrak etc both in Ghar jaisi types and kaali chai‘s . For coffee drinkers, you do have filter coffee and coffee by Lavazza choices. Do try their Karela Ka Chakkar one of my pick out of the menus.
We started our food though with imli ka panna and khus ka sharbat. Mild flavoured, soothing and enticing. The drinks are priced from Rs. 60 and chai and coffee at Rs.50. A good deal for a relaxed conversation and the ambience considering the restaurant also doubles as a cafe for you to spend time with your friends or meditate over your laptop without being disturbed. Unlike the other restaurants being a cafe, Imli is opened all day from morning 10 a.m to night 11 p.m
Dhiraj mentioned Imli is also looking at catering to small and medium sized companies and also arrange birthday and small events with some personal touch. Seems like they recently hosted a birthday party and arranged for a puppetry show to entertain the kids.
Now you can drool over some of the pictures I shot and the food I relished…
Imli ka panna and khus ka Sharbat …
And the irresistable Pakodey! Crisp and yummy!
Dishes spread out … begining with Karela Ka Chakkar and Pindi Choley…
Jeera rice and Amritsari Da. Tasted just the way a mom would have cooked… (that is if she is good at cooking! I know many mom’s these days who would just be happy ordering their maids or burning the utensils or just feed the packaged food to their kids! *sighs*)
Pickles are another highlight of Imli. I was told by Dhiraj all the choice of pickles you get here at the restaurant are made at Archana’s home kitchen. You should taste it to believe why I drooled over them!
Muh Meetha Karlen? Though I am not much of a sweet tooth, I did loved the Aate ki barfi while my friend drooled over the rest.
204, 5th Main Road, 7th Cross Road, 1st Stage, Indiranagar
Price: Rs500-600 (Meal for two)
Timings: 10 a.m to night 11 p.m
(cards accepted. parking available)
Check Imli’s menu > here