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Artisanal eat-outs catching on in city

It is the food that draws in the customer, rather than the ambience, says Pooja Dsouza, CEO and co-founder of Backer and Charlie, a German bakery in Cox Town
Last Updated : 01 May 2024, 02:49 IST
Last Updated : 01 May 2024, 02:49 IST

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Bengaluru: Larger-than-life pubs and microbreweries are proliferating in Bengaluru, and so are small-scale artisanal eateries. Foodies, especially among the young, are trying out cosy spaces that specialise in international cuisines.

Lijo Joy Kasper, a professional chef, started Fermentation Stories in Koramangala in 2023. Housed in just 320 sq ft, the eatery serves sourdough pizzas, sandwiches and fermented coffee. It offers no seating, taking the frugal darshini concept to another cuisine. The idea, he says, was to serve food that customers could take away as they went about their day.

“Restaurants are launched with an investment of Rs 80 lakh to Rs 1 crore, only to shut down within a year. It doesn’t help that there is a real estate issue in the city. Instead of renting out a huge place and investing in the ambience and manpower, I decided to use the resources to focus on the food,” he says.

Customers sharing pizzas and calzones sit by a tree or in the comfort of the car. “We have a moving crowd on this block, so our idea has worked out. But there are days when we wonder if there should be seating, for example, when it’s too hot or the rains come pouring. We see our customers struggle,” he reflects on the cons. Working with a team of four, Lijo plans to maintain the small-scale nature of his business.

Tables only for 8
Maki, a patisserie located in Domlur, is also part of the smaller cafe trend. Opened in early 2023 as an online bakery, Maki opened its doors to customers in July. It can now accommodate eight customers.

“A lot of the time, kitchen spaces are put on the back burner, and are dingy and dark. I didn’t want that. At our current space, the kitchen and seating area are all in the same space. You can see the food being prepared, while enjoying a cosy space. A lot of people look for a place where they can have a conversation and take in their surroundings. This is lacking in some of the bigger restaurants,” says Aarohi Sanghavi, head chef and owner. A majority of the patisserie’s customer base is between 20 and 40.

Small batch bakery 
It is the food that draws in the customer, rather than the ambience, says Pooja Dsouza, CEO and co-founder of Backer and Charlie, a German bakery in Cox Town. Since opening in January, the bakery has gained in popularity for its pretzels, sandwiches and Berliners.

“We are a small-batch bakery. Our initial plan was to only make 20-30 pretzels a day, but because of the high demand we try our best to bake throughout the day. We want to stick to your small menu and bake in small batches. We have a very basic cafe, not very aesthetic, and people don’t mind. The focus is on the food,” she tells Metrolife.

Art of specialisation
Product-specific restaurants are the need of the hour, believes Kavan Kuttappa, founder of Naru Noodle Bar in Shantinagar. Responding to the demand, the popular ramen restaurant expanded from an eight-seater to a 20-seater in December last year. Despite the constant complaints online about hard-to-get reservations at Naru, the team does not plan to expand further.

“The izakaya (an informal Japanese bar) vibe allows you to focus on each dish and each customer. While the bigger restaurants have their place, what Bengaluru is lacking in is dish-specific restaurants that offer just one or two products and focus on perfecting them. Many of the smaller restaurants are doing that, and hence growing in popularity,” he says.

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Published 01 May 2024, 02:49 IST

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