Following my previous post The Ultimate Guide to Eating Out in Gokulam I’ve now put together a guide for where to find the best coffee, cake, chocolate and ice cream. This is undoubtedly the most important part of any food blog and totally necessary during such an intense yoga practice – after all, as Sharath continually reminds us, “No coffee, no prana!”
As far as coffee goes, there are now plenty of places to get your hands on the good stuff, i.e. not the typical local chicory mix, which in my opinion shouldn’t even be called coffee. Some of the places mentioned in my first post serve pretty decent coffee, like Santosha, Khushi and Anokhi Garden (which also serves a delicious masala coffee) and these three also offer dairy free alternatives like almond or soya milk. I’m told the coffee at Depth n Green is very good and they have some pretty tasty cakes too, such as banana & walnut, vegan carrot and vegan chocolate cake.
Further afield, Pascucci and Pakva (see previous post for directions) offer a wide range of coffees and ice creams and Pascucci also has a good selection of cakes and desserts. But the places listed below deserve a special mention as they’re dedicated to producing the best treats in Mysore and should therefore not be missed at any cost – in my humble opinion!
- = cheap as chips
- = mid-range
- = expect to pay a bit more
- = left hand side
- = right hand side
If you want to make coffee at home you can buy whole or ground coffee beans from Barista, Cafe Coffee Day or Mr Trupti, and Anu Ganesh often has some really good quality coffee for sale too. But for the ultimate sit-down coffee shop experience, you can’t go far wrong with these two:
Corner of Temple Road & 3rd Main, Vani Vilas Mohalla – from Gokulam Main Rd take the 2nd on the left (past Tina’s) and Barista is at the end of this street on the RHS $$
Barista is a comfy, trendy, air conditioned coffee shop serving pretty decent Lavazza coffee, including cappuccinos, lattes, mochas, frappes, teas, etc. as well as a few slightly dubious looking sandwiches and cakes. I love their colourful retro-style branding, with slogans such as “Lip locks: love, world’s best idea, inspired by coffee” and “Amore: love of coffee, art and all things Italian”. Open every day 7am-11pm. http://www.barista.co.in
Cafe Coffee Day
Corner of Kalidasa Road and 10th Cross – above Green Leaf (see previous post for directions) $$
This is one of India’s most popular cafe chains and in my opinion serves nicer coffee than Barista. They offer a wide selection of hot and cold coffees, frappes and teas, as well as flavoured syrups and a selection of sandwiches, wraps, pastries and cakes. The hazelnut cappuccino and warm nutty fudge brownie with chocolate sauce I sampled recently were both divine, but I wasn’t quite prepared for the caffeine and sugar crash that followed!
The coffee comes in 3 sizes and you get a free pack of cookies with the king size – worth it for the extra Rs10. You can buy bags of coffee beans and ground coffee here, and it’s also one of the only places in the area where you can buy a small French press (or cafetiere). Free wifi. Open every day 9am-11pm. http://www.cafecoffeeday.com
Cake & Chocolate
Gone are the days when a trip to India meant you had to do without your usual cake and chocolate fix – at least in Mysore at any rate. The locals know what we like and some have become very adept at making it, even providing vegan, gluten-free and raw versions to cater to our increasingly pernickety Western tastes! I am so grateful to the following suppliers, without whom a trip to Mysore would be a very different experience.
Mr Trupti Coffee Works
7th Cross, Gokulam 3rd Stage – from the main KPJAYI shala, walk up the hill to the crossroads, turn right and it’s just on the next corner $$ – $$$
No blog about coffee, cake and chocolate in Mysore would be complete without mentioning Mr Trupti, aka “The Chocolate Man”. Mr Trupti, his wife, their son and daughter-in-law run a typical unassuming-looking small Indian shop selling the usual selection of milk, eggs, washing powder, bottled water, toilet paper and the like. However, if you look a little closer you’ll find a wonderful collection of homemade treats and goodies just waiting for us greedy yoga students to get our mitts on!
As well as fresh coffee beans, which he can grind while you wait, they make chocolate bars in a delightful variety of flavours (coconut, cardamom, peanut butter, sea salt, cashew to name just a few); melt-in-your-mouth cookies (almond, cashew, coconut, peanut butter, hazelnut, choc chip, oatmeal & raisin or salty butterscotch); brownies, banana & chocolate, red velvet and other cakes; homemade granola (the chocolate and peanut butter flavours are lethal); chocolate covered almonds and cashews; nut butters; cheese; yoghurt; and organic milk, oats, nuts, dried fruits and coconut oil. They’ve just started making small loaves of homemade brown bread and also have a wide variety of imported goods, like soya and almond milk, pasta sauces, soy sauce, rye crackers and shampoos. This is an essential shop in Gokulam but can be very, very dangerous! Open every day 5.30am-1pm & 4pm-9pm.
Malgudi – Green Hotel’s Coffee Shop
Hunsur Road, Jayalakshmipuram (see previous post for directions) $$
Although I reviewed Green Hotel in my previous post, I think it deserves a separate mention again here due to its coffee shop and bakery, the Malgudi. Towards the back of the main building there’s a beautiful, tranquil, partially open-air coffee shop filled with tropical plants and comfy rattan furniture. The deliciously comforting smells of freshly baked bread and cakes welcome you as you walk in to this peaceful oasis of calm, making it a very pleasant place to while away an afternoon or two. The cafe is staffed completely by women who have come from poor or socially challenged backgrounds, and have been trained by French bakers – making it the only one of its kind in the country.
The cafe serves teas, coffees (I’m told the coffee is pretty good), sandwiches, soups and other light meals. But the real reason to come here is for the cake. Freshly baked brownies, carrot cake, lemon drizzle cake, apple pie and date & walnut cake will have your mouth watering at first glance. But the pièce de résistance, especially if you’re a chocolate lover, has to be the chocolate cake. The description really doesn’t do it justice. I would say it’s more of a nutty fudge brownie chocolate cake, especially as they serve it warm so the soft chocolatey icing goes all gooey on top. Words simply don’t do it justice!
The in-house bakery, the “Rustic Loaf” bakes delicious wholewheat, ragi and multigrain bread, which is also available to buy in Nature’s Nectar, a new organic shop in Gokulam (more on that coming soon). Apparently they also make croissants and other pastries but unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to try those yet. There’s just not enough hours in the day! Open every day 9.30am-7.30pm. http://www.greenhotelindia.com/index.php/restaurant
Various venues $$$
David Belo and Angelika Anagnostou have created a little piece of heaven here in Mysore with Earth Loaf “Artisan and Raw Soul Food”, making wonderful creations from nutritious, organic ingredients locally sourced from within India, all handcrafted in small batches. Look out for their bars and boxes of chocolates and ladoos (energy balls), raw cacao nibs and cacao infused teas in places like Dhatu, Silver Nest, Nature’s Nectar and Depth n Green.
They also have stockists in Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi, Goa, Pondicherry and online – and the best news is they even ship internationally. The masala chai bonbons and fig, almond, cashew & chocolate ladoos are some of my favourites and their new packaging is simply beautiful. Definitely worth a try, especially if you need an extra special, guilt-free, raw chocolate boost! http://www.earthloaf.co.in
Guru & Sons
2nd Main, Gokulam 3rd Stage – opposite the bank around the corner from the main KPJAYI shala $$
This little shop run by Prasad and Kiran Loge sells various essentials as well as bags of nuts and dried fruits, organic cereals, breads, and some great homemade treats. They often have homemade nut butters for sale, as well as various cakes – the banana cake is moist and delicious – and also homemade chocolate. The chocolate currently comes in three varieties: ginger, coconut and oats. I’ve only tried the oat flavour but I’ll definitely be going back for more! It comes in chunky pieces in a tupperware pot – the perfect size for sharing or for just munching the whole lot in one go! Open every day 8am-7pm.
Not so long ago even the heartiest of travellers wouldn’t have dreamed of eating ice cream in India. Well I’m happy to say those days are long gone, especially in Mysore. Check out these magnificent ice cream parlours – I guarantee you won’t be disappointed! (Just remember to check the ice cream first: if it looks like it’s melted and been re-frozen, best to avoid it!)
Corner of Kalidasa Road and 10th Cross – above Green Leaf, next to Cafe Coffee Day $$
This is probably the most modern ice cream parlour in Mysore. They have 2 large counters filled with many different flavours of ice cream, as well as a whole toppings section featuring sauces, nuts, candy sprinkles and even mini chocolate brownies to go on top! One of the chocolate sauces – the standard chocolate one, not the fudge brownie – is brilliant because it sets hard onto the ice cream, just like Ice Magic if anyone from the UK remembers that!
You simply choose which flavours and toppings you want, then they weigh it and tell you the price. One of my personal favourites is the Mudpie – coffee ice cream with chunks of choco pie cake. Mmm! The Cappuccino and Mint Choc Chip flavours are also delicious. The venue is air conditioned and even the chairs are ice cream coloured! Open every day 11am-11pm. http://www.hatsun.com/ibaco/
47/1a 2nd Main, Valmiki Road, Vani Vilas Mohalla – from Barista cross over Temple Rd & continue down 3rd Main, take the 2nd on the left & it’s on the next corner on the RHS$$
This is a much less modern version of Ibaco, but the ice cream certainly doesn’t disappoint. In fact they serve more than just ice cream – sundaes, fruit salads, milkshakes and ‘cake desserts’ to boot. I recently tried their “Cake-a-Mocha” sundae and was in absolute heaven – chocolate fudge brownies, coffee ice cream, chocolate sauce and a sprinkling of chopped nuts. Wow! And I have to say their chocolate sauce is really good quality – smooth, rich and exceptionally chocolatey. http://cornerhouse.in
2 Temple Road, Jayalakshmipuram / BM Habitat Mall, Gokulam Main Road $$
There’s a small Just Gelato inside the BM Habitat Mall (same mall as Easyday supermarket), but the main branch has moved location and is now right at the end of Temple Road, on the same side as Loyal World but further down.
Although they don’t have as many flavours or toppings as the other ice cream parlours, Just Gelato certainly makes up for it in quality. All their ice creams are homemade, they don’t use eggs or any junk ingredients and they’ve replaced normal sugar with date palm sugar. They’re also the first in India to offer 100% gluten-free and lactose-free (soya based) ice cream, and 100% fruit sorbets. I recently tried the Gianduia (chocolate and hazelnut) ice cream and pineapple sorbet. Both were delicious, and you could tell they were natural and freshly made, but the sorbet won hands down for being so light, refreshing and fruity. The 100% wheat homemade waffle cones and bowls are also very tasty.
Just Gelato is no longer “just” gelato – in addition to ice cream you can now order light meals and combos, such as pizza, pasta, fries and sandwiches, as well as sundaes and Gelato shakes, which claim to be very different from milkshakes and are less than 100 calories each. Open every day 11am-11pm. http://www.justgelato.in
It’s tough to say which ice cream parlour I prefer as each one offers a different experience. A friend recently admitted that his favourite, Corner House, might just have been pipped to the post by Ibaco; and I thought Ibaco was my favourite until I tried Just Gelato! So try all three and decide for yourself.
Still hungry for more?
In my next post ‘The Ultimate Guide to Eating Out in Mysore’ I’ll be sharing my tips on where to eat out further afield than Gokulam. And coming soon… my guide to eating in whilst staying in Mysore.
– Hannah Moss (Ashtanga & Angels)