When Bangalore was Bungalow(re)
If you’ve grown up in Bangalore, you’ll remember the city when it deserved the moniker “the garden city”, when Bombay cousins were amazed by the bungalows and gardens, before soulless high-rises took that all away.
Few of those bungalows still stand. But when you do find one that you can access and enter, especially in the heart of the city, your first instinct is to make sure no one else finds out about it. On the other hand, some secrets are too good to not share. Like this one about the Secret Garden Café.
Make your explorations slow, keep the mood nostalgic
A huge, sprawling property that has housed its secrets 127 years, now contains a B & B – the likes of which you’ve never seen before – a lovely little restaurant tucked away in a terrace that you’d miss if you weren’t looking for it and a mini spa that’s outdoors and yet ridiculously private.
The minute you enter the little gate, it feels like you’re stepping back in time and in a lot of ways, you are. You’re walking into Old Bangalore. Once you’ve taken in the beauty of the house, fallen in love with the elegant owner and frantically booked a room for your next staycation, you can make your way up to the restaurant.
Small and intimate, you can imagine that in years past, the whole family probably gathered here for boisterous lunches and fairy tale evenings of cocktails and dancing. Now, we outsiders can get a piece of that too.
A restaurant where you can’t go wrong
The menu boasts of dishes from South Africa, Morocco, Hungary, Spain, among others. Oh, also, the menu changes everyday. The recipes have been handed down from generations and some others have been passed on by generous friends.
I have yet to eat a bad dish there. And I love that I can always expect a new dish every time I visit, knowing that the only constancy is the exceptional quality of food.
Go for the food. But definitely leave room for dessert. No matter where in the world you come from or where you’ve travelled to, their desserts taste like home, be it their Strawberry Frangipani Tart, Maple Nut Crunch Ice Cream, or their Hedwig’s Chocolate Cake and Apple Crumble w. Pear Compote.
If you do make it there…
Go to be reminded of how Bangalore used to be once upon a time – green for as far as the eye could see, the air fragrant with the scent of flowers and homemade cooking.
How to Get There:
Where: Secret Garden Cafe, 7/1, Edward Road, Off Queens Road, Cunningham Road, Bangalore.
Contact: 080 49652917
Timings: Mon – Sat 12:30 PM to 4 PM | Sunday Closed
Cost: ₹1,000 for two people