The brainchild of two college friends, Cafe StayWoke is inspired by the millennial concept of being woke, that is, of being aware. Their aim was to create a space that incites great, meaningful conversation over food that can be best defined as ‘casual gourmet’. The cafe is located in Gurugram's South Point Mall, where other popular restaurants such as Café Amaretto and several microbreweries continue to pull in the city’s urban crowd.
An open mocktail bar and a semi-open kitchen make for two corners of the cafe, while the third is dominated by a wooden swing. Decorated primarily in yellow, blue and white, the indoor trees, funky artwork and wooden tables make for a casual setting. Board games and books litter the place to keep the guests occupied. More often than not, you will find the owners leaning in for a chat or getting in on a few rounds of UNO or monopoly.
The menu carries forward the same millennial vibe we began with, presenting global food with a desi twist. They serve a variety of tea and coffee (Blue Tokai? yes, please). Try the Campa Waala Doodh or hot chocolate for a trip down the memory lane. Pay special attention to their Comforting Small Plates, the range of food offered is vast from PB & J, fish and chips, and even ragi upma. Their main course includes a host of pasta, pizzas, and other continental and oriental dishes. A glance at their dessert menu and frozen chai with Parle G biscuits make for an odd yet intriguing choice.
While it wasn’t soup we were looking for, we are not sorry that we began our meal the beetroot soup with coconut cream. We ordered the Sumac and Zartar Chicken, cooked in pomegranate and mint oil, only made better with the hummus and pumpkin relish. They serve this pumpkin relish with a lot of their dishes adding a subtle sweetness and zest. Vegetarians must try the mushroom vol-au-vent--the creamy mushrooms served with a berry jam and mascarpone cheese pair well with the flaky, melt-in-your-mouth puff pastry.
Our favourite drink on the menu was the lip-smacking masala imli thumbs up, a fizzy and nostalgic #throwback (oh, why not) to our childhood. Try the Seared Lamb with port jus, carrot puree and hummus or for a more local flavour have the paneer lababdar with a buttery paratha.
We ended our meal with fluffy, chocolate-chip pancakes indulgently topped with bananas, Nutella, caramel and chocolate sauce. And if you’ve had the filling meal we had, you wouldn’t mind sharing the pile of pancakes between two people. Just this once, at least.
Pocket pinch: Approximately ₹ 1,100 for two
Where: Cafe StayWoke, South Point Mall, Golf Course Road, Gurgaon
Contact: +91-077039 29965; https://cafe-staywoke.business.site/