While the sheer variety of cuisines, evolved take on food and accessibility to lesser-known foodstuff available within the F&B space in metropolitan cities is incomparable, tier-2 cities are certainly trying to catch up. When I was compelled to leave Mumbai after three years because of the pandemic and return to my hometown in Vadodara, I was surprised to see the number of cafes and restaurants that had opened up in this otherwise anachronistic city. Gourmet burgers, baos, babkas and salads had suddenly replaced the sev usal and bhakarwadi that I had grown up associating my city with. But with an increase in the number of home chefs running their food businesses online and cafes wanting to cater to the younger population, these food items are beginning to find their place on menus across Vadodara.
For the next time that you're in my city and are wondering if the city has anything new to offer, I have compiled a list of five places you can try. Bookmark now, thank me later.
Neyona Talib, a graduate from the Culinary Institute of America, opened her cloud kitchen, Nona India, in August 2020. Nona's ever-changing menu has everything from wraps, quiches and pies to shortbreads, baos, dumplings and burgers. One of their most popular dishes is the green Thai curry which hits all the right spots with a palpable creaminess and friendly flavours. The burger buns and baos are baked to perfection and manage to hold their own, despite the generous portions of the fillings. Keeping these things in mind, we're putting this modern delivery kitchen down as a must-try this month. To order: Call +91-9099014328
Kitchen of Asa
While a lot of people are experimenting with newer cuisines in the city, we love Kitchen of Asa for deciding to ace what is already loved by all: regional Indian food. It opened in November 2020 with a menu that offers roti rolls, kebabs, tikkas, curries, biryani, bread and desserts, all under one roof. Mushroom cafreal poie, Kolkata egg roll, rajma galouti kebab on a bhakhri and pyaaz paneer ki subzi are some of the vegetarian favourites. We hear the non-vegetarian offerings are better. The flavours are balanced and the quantity is just right. If you are looking for a comforting Indian meal, this might be the place to order from. To order: Visit: https://thrivenow.in/asa-alkapuri-society
The Nirvaan Cafe & Lounge
Helmed by Tirth Thakkar and Sarjak Butani—the duo that is also responsible for the popular Gujarati restaurant, The Rotlo in Vadodara—The Nirvaan Cafe has quickly become a favourite hang-out in the city. The menu does not attempt to be fancy and sticks to good-old cafe food, like sandwiches, open toasts, coffee, ice-coolers and other finger foods. The butter garlic fries, banana peri-peri fries, loaded nachos and berry blitz are the hot-selling items at the cafe. Since it is situated within the palatial expanses of the Laxminarayan Club and Resort on Sunpharma road, the cafe also promises a charming view and good service. To order: Visit https://www.zomato.com/vadodara/the-nirvaan-cafe-lounge-diwalipura
The Table at Splatter
26-year-old Anoushka Arora started her cafe-cum-bakery as recently as June 2021. The menu combines a good mix of savoury items, like the mushroom sliders with black buns, peach arugula and pecan salad, khao suey bowl, caprese salad and Mexcian bowl. But since Arora has a diploma in pastry from Le Cordon Bleu in Sydney, her desserts get the most attention. The basque cheesecake and chocolate pecan and caramel cake are the ones to look out for. To order: DM @thetableatsplatter on Instagram
Started by Sejal Gada, Rinku Gada and Komal Ghow as a passion project in July 2020, Jars Amore is primarily known for its bagels and cream cheese. The jalapeno-cheese bagel and garlic paprika bagel are quite the hit. Their jars of fresh and homemade cream cheese are available in different flavours like garlic almond, basil crunch, honey mustard and chive cheddar and they all pair perfectly with the bagels. The other offerings include cheese balls, babka bread, grazing boards, fudge bites and cookies. This is the place to order from if you are calling friends over for brunch. To order: Call 9099697075 or 9825327113
Manal is a gregarious and ambitious girl who talks about bread incessantly. Her penchant for writing and aesthetics transcends into everything she does. She loves researching the culture and history of things. When she's not writing, you can find her working on a dozen unfinished projects, and consuming an unhealthy amount of art.