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Toast In The Garden

A cafe that feels like home.

Toast In The Garden
Toast In The Garden

Amethyst Wild Garden Cafe
Whites Road, Royapettah, Chennai-600 014
Phone: 64993634
Meal for two:?Rs 2,000

When Kiran Rao, Chennai’s favourite conservationist, pic­ked upon a derelict backyard on a busy commercial hub to recreate the Amethyst Cafe, no one believed she could swing it. The first Ame­thyst was built aro­und a restored mansion. When it fell to the developers’ wrecking ball, Kiran took on the challe­nge of transforming a ser­ies of sheds and disused godowns into a new vers­ion. She raised a first floor with a high-pitched roof, flooding the area with light, while a long verandah runs along the front and sides of the building like a planter’s bungalow overlooking the garden.

The menu at the cafe is bright, fresh and seasonal. The soup of the day, for ins­tance, is Green Peas and Mint (Rs 225). The salad might be a combination of Camembert and pears when it’s in season, or prunes and figs (Rs 345). For a light meal there’s a toa­sted tomato, mozzarella and basil bague­tte, or one with smoked salmon and cream cheese (Rs 395), with lots to choose from in the Italian section.

For those with a hearty appetite, there are gloriously plated trays with Flame Grilled Seer Fish with sauteed vegetables (Rs 495) or Grilled Chicken with Jalap­eno mash and beans (Rs 475). For rice eaters, there’s a good Thai curry section. The selection may be small, but the food is made fresh and served in style.

For most visitors, the attraction is to park themselves at a marble-top table and order either one of their coffee brews and sample the cakes from the cake shop, or secr­etly dive into the hot and deep-fried potato wedgies.

Should we mention the best-kept secret‚ the Eton Mess? Sadly, these gorge­ous cream- and mascarp­one-filled clear glass glo­bes of layered meri­ngue and fruit—sometime pink with strawberries and drizzled with glistening syrup, at other times gol­den orange with the marvel of real Alphonso mango slices—are seasonal.

Never mind. In the rainy season there is the comfort of a pot of tea and toast with lashes of butter while watching the rain dripping like moonstones. It’s a cafe that feels like home.

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