A very long time ago, in the distant history of Bangalore, the Max Mueller Bhavan and its much more well-known café were favoured haunts on Lavelle Road. The café was a smoker’s paradise on the top floor, outdoors, with cheap iced tea and cheaper coffee being the major attractions.
At that time, I was in a relationship that was largely conducted in cafes, until we got ourselves a room, as they say. We found another similarly marooned couple and we drank coffees, smoked and complained together. At the ungodly hour of 7pm, we were hustled out by the grim-faced German who ran the place, along with two friendly ladies, one of whose names was rumoured to be Binky.
Their cheesecake staved off the need for real food and the carrot cake convinced us that we were eating healthy.
The nearer past
Then they moved to Indiranagar, where they seemed to sort of clean out the riff-raff, meaning us, with a new no-smoking law, which didn’t extend to the owner. It’s terrible, sometimes, when everything changes and some things don’t and sit there puffing at your withdrawal pangs. However, now relatively respectable, we went for their sumptuous buffet every once in awhile.
Back to the present
And now, the gentrification continues. The café has changed ownership and now calls itself Café Max – short and chic, yeah? In this era, we smokers huddle quietly into the elevator and slink off into the streets; you don’t hear a pip from us about the good old days (we think there’s no one around who’s old enough to remember).
Instead, we eat their food and drink their sangria. We enjoy their view of Indiranagar’s gulmohars and mayflowers.
They make a wonderfully heady sangria, raging with fruits, which sort of sneaks up on you and makes you happy without your realising it.
I’m always panicking that I’ll forget myself at this moment, put up my feet and light a cigarette.
Forget also about the brick-sized sandwiches that kept you fed for three days back in history. We love the basa and the salmon, which come in portions that some of us struggle to finish. The beef is also worth a try, especially if you’d prefer to see more meat than starch on your plate.
I’ve never eaten the lamb here – I’ve tried, a couple of times, but it was so tough that I didn’t make it to the swallowing stage. I won’t comment on the meatloaf because I’ve had it the best way – prepared for a large family cooked to browned-grainy perfection by a matriarchal granny, eaten outdoors on a glorious summer afternoon – no restaurant can match up, so let’s not make them try. The German mint tea (which is also the beach-shack mint tea of South India) is beautiful to look at and to taste.
Their breakfast menu looks pretty awesome but we’ve never woken up early enough to try it.
We don’t recommend Café Max to escapee lovers (unless you need to keep up your energy with large meals and you’re working with a runaway budget), but we’d suggest you choose it for a hearty reconciliation-with-family meal. It’s definitely a place you’d go to with your parents, for now and some time into the future.
How to Get There:
Where: 716, Goethe Institute, Max Muller Bhavan, CMH Road,Indiranagar, Bangalore
Price: ₹800 for two people
Contact: 080 41200469
Timings: 9 AM to 11 PM
Find them on Facebook here.