Palm trees on the sign board, white marble stones near the entrance and a hammock tied in a corner of the brightly-lit room; the first impressions are promising for a cafe that aims to inspire Wanderlust, and features regularly in the list of best cafes in Gurgaon. The colours are plenty and splashed around through cushions, walls, and pictures of landscapes in this little room right above Archies in the Galleria market. A cosy seating arrangement of wooden chairs and bean bags is casual and comfortable.
..smells of childhood’s innocence
It was hard for me to resist hanging chair that draws attention as soon as you enter. As I twirled on it, an image of the little rope swing tied under the mango tree from my grandparent’s home in Himachal came flooding at me. Transported as I was to my childhood, picking up ‘snakes and ladders’ from a pile of board games was only natural. That dreaded snake at 98 sent me backwards in the game, and in time to the school summer holidays when we would play the game for long hours of the afternoon. Children will love it here I thought, even before I saw the cute, little bean bags near the hammock kept specifically for them.
If I believed in omens and had a lot of cash to spare, I would’ve been writing this post from Thailand. Why? I found a Lonely Planet to Thailand under my table. A trip to the country had been on my mind for a long time, and just as I flipped through the pages, the music changed to Europe’s (the band) The Final Countdown, as if daring me to book that trip without further ado instead of placing an order with the waiter who was hoping I would hurry up.
..is true to the self
The food on the menu of Cafe Wanderlust has been arranged regionally as opposite to the dish-wise segregation you find at most cafes. You get to choose local specialities from Banaras, UP, Delhi, Mumbai and other regions of India in place of the pizzas, burgers, pastas that have crowded menus on cafes across Delhi/NCR. There are quite a few good dining options from globetrotting platters, like the American and English breakfast, Mezze platter, Spanish churros and Belgian waffles. Our Banarasi Kachori platter came with seven accompaniments, and was quite tempting to look at. It didn’t disappoint upon tasting either.
While we were waiting for food, I stumbled upon a diary, and a few sketch pens. I love places where I can find little snippets of information left by those who visited before me. Mostly, they are about the cafe and its impressions on people; but sometimes these books reveal a personal side of the visitors, giving me the sneaky feeling of staring into someone’s mind and all its complexities. Like this intricate sketch I found in the diary here:
Nothing makes me feel more alive than to be able to say something and have it perfectly understood or to understand the emotions in someone’s words just as their mind processed them. And I believe that no matter the excellent service, admirable decor and great food; some places are just not right for a good conversation. Cafe Wanderlust, on the other hand, encourages great conversation. All elements of the ambiance and service come together to make you feel welcomed without overwhelming you with any of them. It was heart-warming to be able to just talk and travel into my childhood, and my partner’s youth in Banaras. I was filled with a sense of mystique at discovering the guide to Thailand, and this: