Mapping a run around Ulsoor will provide you with many, many pins for cute (well, cute-ish) coffee shops in the area. Another pick-me-up has put down its roots and is now scenting the area with #pumpkinspicelatte, known around these parts as l’air du hipster. Its advantage: a perfect little spot to people-watch while you drink your specialty coffee under the spreading boughs and waxy leaves of a jackfruit tree.
We feel bad about making fun of its pretentiousness when we learn that Café Kaara is run by a young couple who actually do eat local because they live in the neighbourhood, and named their new venture ‘Kaara’ because it’s an amalgamation of their children’s names. Adding to the homely feel are little glass vases on the tables with white gerberas and baby’s breath. Coochie-coup!
A simple menu features sandwiches, salads, smoothies, pancakes and pastas, with some Indian flavour, presumably for tourists. (Old Bangaloreans kindly refrain from jokes.) One of the owners gently urges us towards the in-house special, flourless chocolate pecan cake, to go with a pumpkin latte and an Assam Tea. Our order arrives with a dark chocolate muffin thrown in on the house. As your diligent reviewers we must disclose that this unlooked for surprise melts our hearts with its double-dose of chocolate chips, although in all fairness, we’d dock a point for its textural inconsistency: it’s gooey in parts, sandy in others.
The flourless confection, on the other hand, is flawless both to look at and eat, the crunch of pecan bringing sparkle and volume to the rich denseness of the cake. Straight out of Portland, the SPL is delicate on the tongue and enormously Instagrammable (we resisted) -- much better than the Assam, which is just too mild to be energising.
Savoury Breath You Take
Having begun as we meant to end, we work backwards to the salt-and-heat parts of our meal. Peri Peri chicken pizza arrives with a powdery hit of spice, just enough to make you feel like you’ve inhaled a bit of summer, generously neutralised by a tasty, restrained cheese. The thin crust isn’t brittle, for once: the bread feels home-baked, soft and spongey. (How do you like us now, Ugly Delicious?) Slice to meet you, we say.
To expiate our sins, we call for crisp vegetable salad with toasted quinoa and brown rice. There’s far too little quinoa and too many leaves in this to do much more than look nice, but the herby dressing is a big win, and we’d love to stick this whole thing between two slices of bread just to make it more of a meal. Chicken risotto, aromatic and creamy, starts off well, but stumbles -- as so many have -- on big dry chunks of cubed meat, making this a boring encounter with a boring bird.
Fortunately, a strawberry and kiwi smoothie arrives just in time for a sharp palate cleanse. As we end this topsy-turvy meal, the owner tries to entice us to try Kaara’s Caesar salad -- “even the chefs from the five-star next door love it!” -- but for now, we’re happy to end with a #nofilter Insta story and a whiff of the breeze off the lake. We’ll see you spring chickens here again soon.
Getting there: 29, Ulsoor Road, opposite Salarpuria Windsor, Ulsoor, call 08049652754. A meal for two costs approximately Rs 1,100.
Accessibility: Two steps up to enter the café.
This review was conducted by Anjana Appanna.
bpb reviews anonymously and pays for its own meals.
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