Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sunshine and cookies

When you next visit Rajpur, toil up the steep path past Lhasa and keep on doing it. The exertion does not matter- you are earning your dessert.

Because near the middle of the slope, on your right is Chhaya. This is a café perched on the lip of the Rispana valley. The place makes the most of its view and is designed like a sunroom with huge windows and cane furniture. They sell pastries, cookies, coffee and a decent assortment of lunch items. Their chicken potpie is highly recommended; my usual fix is a coffee and cake. This makes an eminently satisfactory meal- especially for around Rs 50 after a morning walking around in the hills. My only quarrel with them is over their fondness for lemon essence. I am speculating here, but it seems that at one point Santa gave them a giant barrel of the flavouring, and they now feel compelled to use it everywhere. Yellow cake, zucchini bread, nimbu soda- it does not matter. Artificial lemon has an overwhelming role to play-which is sad considering the easy availability of fresh, fragrant lemons. On Friday nights, they fire up a brick oven and make pizza, which is rather good and entirely free of lemon essence, or so I've heard. Despite the essence-in-a-bottle, the cafe is a pleasant place to sit for a while.

Chhaya also has a little shop alongside where they sell hand-made quilts and clothing. The things are rather good- take a look around.

Mum'll love the place, but accessibility is a problem. Public transport vehicles stop at the base of the hill and autos dislike the climb. Talk one into taking you up. As long as you don’t let her know what the auto-wallah charged, things will be ok. And remember they stay closed on Sunday.

Incidentally, if you walk further up the slope to the very top, you come across a lovely old house with wooden blinds. This is Studio Alaya- Mecca of the sustainability aware, socially responsible, aesthetically picky treasure hunter and home of the most adorable rocking horse I've ever seen.


Anonymous said...

One of my absolute favourites!...I love the view from there and the feeling of space inside too...and how nice to see a mention of the horse...come home and ride Tara's red one...:)


Jo Chopra McGowan said...

Thanks for this wonderful food series, Chicu - I am really enjoying it!

nadi said...

i like the way the chairs are arranged-
if only everything could be like the seating in Chaya..
Everybody has the view

Unmana said...

Oooh I want to go to both these places!

chicu said...

so glad you are enjoying the series, Jo!
Nadi..I love the way you see things.
Mamata.they make the horse in red? Tara is a lucky child!

Gina said...

next time i come, you have to take me there, it looks lovely.