Coming back from Delhi where I lived for almost 4 years was a stark twist for me. I have lived in Udaipur all my childhood and growing years to see it change exponentially in all terms. One growth that I have observed is that of the café culture. A number of coffee shops, tea stall; small and big cafes have mushroomed in the entire city. With distinct vibe, ambience and a variety of food options, these cafes have become functional in a small city that has marked in the world as one of the favourite tourist spots.
First of all, there’s something that you should know about me. For me, coffee is a drug; just like for few others it is either food or alcohol. Coffee has its own intoxicating and addicting properties and I consume it every day to kick-start my daily routine life. So, one fine day, while window shopping at one of the malls of the city, I came across this quaint, open café on the second floor and something about it caught my attention. Hanging above the counter is the framed piece of ‘Apple Delight’ with smiling staff bestowing the feeling of being welcomed. I had the pleasure of meeting Chandra Shekhar, the owner of Apple Delight and if you ever had, you will understand how accurate this simple word ‘delight’ summarises the café ambience and his endeavours.
The counter, coffee tables, placards, furniture, quote frames were custom-made by the owner with the help of his close friends-insuring every one that enters the café feels comfortable in his own space. There are a few places that I keep revisiting and Apple Delight is one of them. This spot represents an assemblage of the owner’s passion, values and work ethic all in one place, with the highlight of sumptuous food and delectable beverages. After handing me a Hazelnut Cappuccino and Chocolate Croissant, Shekhar explained how he has had the best coffee experience that lingered his mind ever since and wanted to start his own café that creates something similar in the minds of each person that walks in that open space. Not only has Shekhar succeeded in the work he set out to do, but he has made incredible success along the way, gaining popularity among the youth and the old alike of the city.
Over coffee, we held conversations stating how many of the coffee addicts entering the café on a given day have already had coffee at home, restaurants and other cafes but a little compassion towards them can go a long way. I looked at my coffee served and saw my name drawn with chocolate and I immediately knew what he meant. Shekhar excused himself to attend other guests and I sip my coffee wondering what is that one thing that makes this place a ‘must visit.’
A tad empty stomach myself, I ordered Vegetarian Pizza and Doughnut to fill my appetite. Within the time, I observed people walking inside the café and to my surprise, not only the youngsters but also family and old couples walked in and sat. The café serves full menu of vegetarian food, including a delicious spread of sandwiches, pizzas, doughnuts and baked items; some of which are best recommended by the owner himself while others have become the talk of the town. One such item is the Beer Coffee, served in a beer mug, looks like beer but has the taste of coffee, of course! At first glance, anybody could mistake it for alcohol but this one-of-its kind beverage is freshly made by the staff with a unique method and served chilled.
When my order came, I was ecstatic to see a thin crust delicious base with loaded veggies and cheese; just like I adore. The soft, gooey doughnut was a cherry on the top to my entire food mania that I had indulged in at the café.
After paying the bill which apparently turned out to be light for my pocket, I promised to come back again and in a few days I did. But before leaving the café, I was handed over the Customer Review Book and a pen to scribble my experience and like a curious intruder that I am, I flipped the pages and started to read the reviews of the customers. Each review that I read talked about how special their experience had been in terms of warm hospitality and great food menu that is customised every few months.
Apple Delight Café is a speciality café that may be in a busy floor of a mall, but it has ample potential to become a favourite for the people of Udaipur. The vibrancy of the hospitality culture is exuded in the café and the inevitable smell of the coffee lures one to direct their steps inside the open space. In a world where everything is commercialised, sipping a cup of personalised hot coffee at a place that makes you feel special, why wouldn’t it become your favourite spot in the city, right?