The Ants Cafe, Indira Nagar, Bangalore

When I first came to Bangalore I was astounded by the number of Café Coffee Day (CCD) in this city. Since their launch in 1996, they have successfully covered every pin code of Bangalore. CCD for many college kids is their second home, but I for one want more out of a coffee shop then just coffee. Don’t get me wrong, I like CCD especially their spinach & corn sandwiches and tropical iceberg are great, but I want more…

That search brought me to Ants. My first visit to the place reminded me of Café Turtle at Khan Market, Delhi. This café is not the run of the mill …we have 500 branches …and the taste of coffee is exactly the same in each branch… kind of the place. It’s unique.

Well to start with, it is a boutique-café with a purpose. ‘The Ants’ was started under the guidance of the Action Northeast Trust (ANT), a non-profit organization based in Assam. What you find here are treasures made by tribal groups from north-eastern India and coffee in a relaxing environment.

The place is divided into two sections; the terrace café and the shopping area. The ground floor of Ants has apparel, products of black pottery and bamboo furniture. There are kurtis, stoles, scarves and shawls made of cottons and silk. You’ll also find some ethnic jewelry of the Northeast Region. Pots from Manipur, beautiful weave from Nagaland and handicrafts from Assam. Very beautiful and authentic, having spent some time in the NE region, I can vouch for that. I’ll say it is affordable, for the things you’ll find here are extraordinary. The only other place you may buy this is – maybe a state emporium.

Shopping! That always diverts my attention. We were talking about the café. What I like about the place is the ambiance. It is ‘chilled out’, with different levels of seating (although, some may complain since most of it is low seating). The big blackboard gives a long list of specials for the day and there the regulars as well.

The food is good overall. The non-veg sandwiches and the omelets are amazing. Of course, there is coffee and tea and smoothies. There are cakes and pancakes, fresh fruit salads and regular salads. There is also pasta and burgers if you are a bit hungry. Everything is freshly made too. Which is why, you should expect some slow service. But that’s alright- right? The whole idea is to sit back and relax, chat with friends, or read a book. Enjoy!

So next time you need a break from café coffee day, you know where to go.