Saturday, November 19, 2016

Quaint cafe in Fontainhas - Urban Cafe in Panaji, Goa

Pretty little cafes and libraries are so my thing. Even though I prefer green tea over coffee and writing over reading, a chill evening at a cafe or a library sure makes my day. That was until I visited Urban Cafe by The Hostel Crowd. It's somewhere close to an artistically done library which serves some great food. I don't know how to describe it - you need to be there to understand what I'm trying to say.

Imagine this - you're walking past colonial bungalows because you love them! Yes, Fontainhas in Goa. If you've walked the streets of White Town in Pondicherry you know what I mean too. Fontainhas is to Goa what White Town is to Pondicherry, with a little more color and lesser parking space. So on one such exploration, I landed at Urban Cafe. I didn't land there by chance though. I kept hearing about this Cafe from friends and backpackers (yes, I have a lot of backpacker and traveller friends) who I meet in Goa. It sure was a shame to not have visited a place everyone is raving about.

This beautiful place - called the Old Quarter by @thehostelcrowd is a backpackers hostel with a colonial Cafe called Urban Cafe. It was in my quest to experience the vibe that I went there after taking several rounds in the stunning streets of the Latin Quarter - Fontainhas in Panjim. And I must say, it's as good as I expected it to be. For everyone else who loves colonial places as much as I do, the vibe is absolutely amazing - just how we like it. ❤ #lovelovelove A special mention go the super awesome @nipunprabhakar, who recommended I check this place out. Yes yes yes!!! It's as good as you told me it is! @varshitha_varsh I absolutely missed you today 😍 I miss our time in Pondicherry wandering in the French Colony (White Town) and eating at all the bakeries there.. Same vibe here 😍 come to Goa jaldi and you'll love it here!
A photo posted by Flexcia D’souza | Blogger Goa (@flexcia_dsouza) on

So well, I decided I need to check it out. After several attempts at finding a parking space for the car and trying to find the directions by asking around, and also trying to use Google maps, we still had difficulty reaching the place. But when I did stand in front of the plush blue and white colonial villa, was I in awe. It's absolutely pretty! So so pretty! I stood and admired it for a bit before I entered.

A photo posted by Flexcia D’souza | Blogger Goa (@flexcia_dsouza) on

What was beyond was even prettier. A neatly laid bakery counter, just like the ones we find in Europe serving some confectionery and other desserts. The cafe in itself was pretty - minimalistic decor with quirky wall hangings. One needs to place their order at the counter and find a seat on the ground floor or the floor above.

The food menu was limited - even though we asked if there were more items available. They had a few cakes and pastries, brownie, granola bar, cookies, pudding, mousse, etc. We opted for their chocolate bar, granola bar and a brownie and headed to the first floor.

A photo posted by Flexcia D’souza | Blogger Goa (@flexcia_dsouza) on

The flight of stairs that lead to the elevated space has a bunch of books with pretty lighting hung above. Such an amazing feeling for a book lover. As you enter the area above, you are ushered into a laid back lounge lined with wooden furniture. There are sugar jars placed on the low tables. A side of the cafe has high tables with a Macbook, probably for someone who wants to work at the cafe. Someone close behind is a stack of books in an antique wooden inbuilt shelf giving an illusion of a mini library.

A photo posted by Flexcia D’souza | Blogger Goa (@flexcia_dsouza) on

The right lighting, chocolate and coffee wiff and the people around gives the place an amazing vibe. Urban Cafe is mostly frequented by travellers (very few Indians, mostly foreign tourists) and a few peace seeking Goans. They run a hostel by the name The Old Quarter by The Hostel Crowd. It's the same chain of hostels across India that run other hostels, like The Prison in Anjuna, Goa. They are basic bunk beds, with an old fashioned English lavatory and a cafe.

As I was having a look around and soaking in the surroundings, the food arrived. At that time of the evening, there were just two other people besides us - a foreigner couple clad in easy clothes relaxing with their legs folded on the couch. I stopped by to click a few photos before I dug into my brownie.

A photo posted by Flexcia D’souza | Blogger Goa (@flexcia_dsouza) on

The chocolate bar served with hot milk makes for a delicious cup of hot chocolate when the bar is immersed and stirred in the milk. The brownie, with no added sugar (yes, it was bitter) wasn't of my liking. But I loved the rich granola bar. It was healthy and scrumptious! I'm surely going back to Urban Cafe by The Hostel Crowd for the vibe, if not for the food. I'm yet to try any other beverages yet. I'll keep you guys updated when I visit again and try some different food and beverages.

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Urban Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 
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