Tucked away on Dr. Nair Road in T. Nagar, you could completely miss it if you’re not looking is Chennai’s newest and coolest hangout spot – Cafe Central It’s a vibrant new cafe with attractive decor, pop music and an extensive menu that even has the owner, Swati Chauhan, grinning from ear-to-ear. And she has every right to be proud of the menu too. Designed like a newspaper, it has four sheets and double sided filled with delicious items that you can choose from and make the most of. Everything from finger food to Maggi and cold pressed juices are available and if you’re not interested in this, then they definitely have that for you. We stopped by Cafe Central to check out their menu, meet with Swati and get a taste of something new and different in Chennai.
Coming from a retail background, Swati has run a few other restaurants before this, but when you talk to her you know that this is definitely her passion and her baby, so to speak. She is proud of what she’s done and what the customers are saying about the restaurant, and rightfully so. Cafe Central is an all-day restaurant that serves you everything on the menu starting from 12pm all the way till 11pm, so no matter what time of day you walk in, you’re going to get to pick and choose from delicious items on the menu. “If you look through the menu, you’ll see that we have a lot of food. So it fits your big hunger or small hunger and we have something for everyone,” Swati explained, “Customers will not go unhappy or disappointed. Because if you want to have a wholesome meal even at 4 or 4:30, you have the option.”
Coming to the extensive menu, it was put together by Chef Rajneesh Gandhi who very recently won an award for being an exceptional consultant in the industry. “It has a mix of the local flavour also,” Swati told us in a very excited tone, because one look through the menu and you can understand why she’s happy with what she’s delivering on a daily basis. On the menu you’ll find a section devoted to Maggi, which came about when Swati made a trip to Mussoorie and had a bowl of Maggi with vegetables and a completely new kind of experience. And then there’s the Sapad section, which is “meals” in Tamil and implies the main course dishes which come with rice and makes for a hearty meal.
We got a little adventurous and tried a few things on the menu so that you know what you should have and also tell us what we missed out on.
First, we had juice. The cold press juices don’t use water, sugar, additional colour of flavouring, making them extremely healthy. The flavour and sweetness you get in the drink comes directly from the fruits and vegetables mixed together. We had the Healthy & Mazedar which is made up of apple, pomegranate, orange, mint and cucumber and the Daily Delight which has pineapple, apple, cucumber and mint. It’s a great shot of energy and just what you’ll need once summer sets in.
To start with, we had a portion of the Namma Fries. The fries are served in a pan with curry leaves and chillies and topped with molagai podi which you also get in a small side dish along with ghee. So if you want it spicier, you have the option of making that happen.
Of course, we dug into the all-day breakfast section, because how could you not. And as Swati told us, the 4 Egg White Omelette is fluffier than a cloud. Served with two slices of toast, a hashbrown and grileld tomato, this might just be the fluffiest omelette you will ever eat.
We also had the Yang Jang burger, which is something totally different and worth a try. It’s got pieces of Teriyaki Grilled Chicken, grilled and caramelised mushrooms, cheese, Teriyaki mayo and lettuce. It’s a revelation of all kinds and one that chicken lovers will adore.
We also had the Kukkad Maggi, which is called “the Maggi for Cravings” and rightfully so. The Maggi is cooked and mixed with pieces of chicken and then served with sausages and it truly is an experience. If you grew up eating Maggi or did the same in college, then you’re going to travel down memory lane with this one.
We ended our meal with the Crazy Custard. It is most definitely crazy, but an absolute treat. A jar of custard mixed with fresh fruits is topped with ice cream and whipped cream. If you’re not too full, you should add the Cutting Chai or the Filter Kapi to your order, because it’ll complete the meal perfectly.
Cafe Central is open from 12 pm to 11pm every day at 15 & 16 Dr. Nair Road, T. Nagar.