This pocket-friendly cafe brews a taste of Bangalore in Goa

In a year’s time, the filter coffee at Cafe Bangalore has turned into an addiction that its patrons are proud of
AROMA OF BANGALORE: Cafe Bangalore brings the aroma of the garden city to Goa
AROMA OF BANGALORE: Cafe Bangalore brings the aroma of the garden city to Goa Photo: Augusto Rodrigues

If one wants to feel like a Goan in Bangalore – the nostalgic Bangalore and not Bengaluru of today – then Café Bangalore, the South Indian eateries on Menezes Braganza road and the other near Four Pillars, both in Panjim, are the places to be at, because owner Santosh KS believes, ‘he needs to justify brand Bangalore by equilibrating pricing with taste’. He has succeeded, the crowds at both are evidence of this.

The first Café Bangalore recently completed a year in Goa but the clientele it has been attracting, with its top notch filter coffee – could be the best coffee served – and other South Indian snacks, at close-to-heart prices, could tilt the scale towards an entrepreneur, who is in it to make a mark without bruising his clients’ pockets.

HIGH TABLES: Breaking away from high tables, owner Santosh KS promises to make seating arrangements available in at his new eatery at Four Pillars.
HIGH TABLES: Breaking away from high tables, owner Santosh KS promises to make seating arrangements available in at his new eatery at Four Pillars.Photo: Augusto Rodrigues

A plain dosa at this restaurant, whose UPS is  Quick Service Restaurant (QSR), sells at Rs 40 and a Mysore masala ghee dosa is priced at Rs 120. The menu has an array of South Indian dishes but at the end of a meal it is the taste and price that make a return mandatory.

“Time is one of the essences. I believe a customer should not be seen in my place after 15 minutes. The idea is to save time and two digits of money,” confesses Santosh, for whom service is as important as the quality of food.

SOUTH INDIAN WHIFF: Tourists to Goa find South India at this cafe.
SOUTH INDIAN WHIFF: Tourists to Goa find South India at this cafe. Photo: Augusto Rodrigues

A Goan can best prepare food from Goa and Santosh thinks only a chef from Bangalore, best understands food from that place. “I used to be a regular visitor to Goa from 2014 and whenever I entered a South Indian restaurant, I noticed that while the owner was South Indian, the food wasn’t because the cooks were from the North,” says Santosh, justifying the presence of South Indian staff in his kitchen.

Filter coffee is the hallmark at Café Bangalore and priced at Rs 15 – it is going to be hiked to Rs 20 from August 1 – and Santosh admits he was surprised by the demand. 

SMILE & SWIFT: Service at the cafe is not just  swift but with a winsome smile.
SMILE & SWIFT: Service at the cafe is not just swift but with a winsome smile.Photo: Augusto Rodrigues

“I was first told that Goans love their tea and am surprised by the number of people enjoying our coffee. Brewing of coffee depends on the blender and to a great extent on the milk used. I use only Nandini milk,” admits Santosh and adds, “Coffee with local milk or any other branded milk does not taste the same.”

Santosh’s sojourn in Goa began as an event manager  where he even hosted parties on the beach. It was during the pandemic that he decided to switch base to Goa and he has not regretted.

With two successful outlets in Panjim, Café Bangalore is now set to open two new cafe at Saligao and Porvorim. “It’s not just tourists but a lot of outsiders, now residing here, who are our clients. This concept is new to the locals but not others,” whispers Santosh.

“The different types of dosas served here and the coffee takes me to my days in Bangalore. The concept of eating without sitting is new to us but that is the sacrifice one makes to eat the best,” marvels Suzette Nogar. 

For tourists in Panjim and surrounding areas, Santosh offers a home away from home palate experience. “We (people from south) are foodies. Goa is beautiful but with home food, the feeling is far better,” explains Santosh who thinks the process of balancing spice with sweet is an adventure by itself.

“The sambhar we cook is spicy but not liked by many locals. People from South India have a palate that enjoys green chillies whilst Goans like it hot without the green,” says Santosh.

At this new eat out, there are no chairs to sit. Just high tables with enough space for one’s plate.

“I have understood the culture is different in Goa and am slowly starting to equip the restaurant at Four Pillars and Saligao with tables,” promises Santosh.

Like the coffee, the food at Café Bangalore is top-of-the-mark, not just because it tastes like food in Bangalore but because the dishes are priced closer to it. “Branding involves not just the taste but the pricing too and I want to be totally true to my city,” admits Santosh.

Café Bangalore has not just put its foot in the capital city but is standing tall in a market where South Indian food was yet to make its mark. And, Santosh has started it with coffee.

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