THE ART CAFE, BANDRA

On a winter evening of December 2018, i visited a place called ‘Me Time Art Cafe’ located at Bandra. 

My craving for a ‘Coffee’ in a chilling weather and the word ‘Art’ finely inscribed on the signboard were enticing reasons to get drawn inside the venue.

The cafe entrance was carrying a festive mood with Christmas decorations in optimal glory. The right wall of the cafe facade was full of life with plants displayed inside a variety of footwear.

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I was impressed with the idea of refurbishing an old pair of shoes and putting it to good use. Normally, it’s our tendency to discard old items, but the wise think… otherwise. I would say that ‘The secret of a genius mind is to transform the old and convert it into gold’. A brilliant idea with a hidden message of reusing and upcycling things especially at a time when the world is feeling the heat of ever increasing human aspirations consequently applying pressure on natural resources. 

A note on a timber read ‘Kya lenge aap, Chai ya Coffee’ (what would you like to have, tea or coffee).

In India, tea as a hot beverage always scores higher than coffee particularly in the northern states. But down south the preference for coffee increases. Considering a mixed culture for taste, you will always receive both choices at most coffee shops. Therefore, an offering like this is a normal customer centric approach practised in this part of the world.

So kudos to the cafe team…for establishing a meaningful frontage.

I entered inside slowly and observed around. Expectations had peaked. A meticulously designed and vastly dissimilar interiors demanded a natural attention as i went about witnessing the surroundings. Each part of the cafe was treated as a separate unit and crafted to perfection. A varied use of shades and tints on furniture and display items produced retinal sensations.

Looking around i blinked and glanced through many paintings and pieces of artworks all of which were interestingly distinct. A vintage watch,  canvas paintings, modern artefacts, postcards and many more items were spaced out and gracefully displayed.

To top it up, a book chandelier was dangling from the roof adding to the tranquil.

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Further inside, Christmas celebrations were in full swing with a live band enthralling the audience with back to back songs.

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Live Band

An art room or a studio was converted into a live music hall with audiences cheering for the performers. Children were enjoying the most and humming along the with the band. The mood was quite upbeat and perfect for the season. 

Next i noticed a striking wall painting. It created an illusion of a man and a woman walking ahead. An out of the box illusionary work and remarkably different from the ones i have seen before. 

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How many people do you see here?

Subsequently, i moved around and spotted a collage of wall paintings. At the centre, a note inside a photo frame read…

‘My art came into its full bloom at 11 years
of age, when i encountered major health issues dis
-abling me to do everyday activities like normal
children thus encouraging me to pursue other talents.
This enriching journey exploring different
avenues has made me grow into a better person & finds
its expression thru art. Inspired by many i admired every
attempt made by any individual to express themselves cos
i feel every art piece has a story to tell Just like these
khwajas my little fingers get into a trance & weave a
piece of art one after another.   Nitya bahl -13.

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A gripping account by a girl on how she got inclined towards art.

Finally it was time to occupy a table and glance through the menu. After placing the order for a coffee and some desserts i initiated a casual talk with Mr. Morgan, the manager incharge at the arts cafe. Morgan is a celtic name of welsh origin traditionally used in Wales, Brittany and Scotland. But he had no relations with either of them and happened to be a Portuguese descendant from Goa. Being unfamiliar with the place, i inquired about the ‘Me Time’ concept and he cordially explained.

Me Time Arts Cafe is open for all visitors to come and unleash their creative side. People can walk in groups or alone and take up any activity of their choice. Activities range from canvas painting to theme based work shops like calligraphy, cooking and table setting. Me time cafe is a place that facilitates and encourages talented individuals and groups to discover their full potential by application of skills sets that each of us are blessed with. Age is never a barrier and this place gives you that freedom to unwind and discover your creative best.

Typically, we get mired in fulfilling our professional and personal life commitments and our interest areas take a back seat. As we continue to postpone our innate desires to pursue our hobbies and interest, the idea of Me Time gives you the right platform to get involved with the inner ‘Me’ and follow your passions. The cafe has a fluidic design model and can host theme based parties and workshops, music jamming sessions, food tasting activity, workshops for senior citizens, certified courses or simply you can walk-in, paint and sip a coffee. There are art experts to assist and guide you through your journey as you go about exploring the activity of your choice.

After quietly listening to Mr Morgan, i acknowledged and appreciated his efforts in making me understand the service offerings by his highly equipped team.

Now it was time for me to redirect my focus on food and satiate those restless taste buds. Here is what all i tried…

Dope Coffee, a deliciously brewed coffee which assures to heighten your senses for a grand experience. A South-India based brand, Dope sources the best of coffee beans from micro plantations and delivers the finest blend and roast in a cup.

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Dope Coffee

Next up was Panna Cotta, a dessert made with vanilla pods and cream garnished with mint leave, passion fruit puree, coconut flex and sabja.

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Panna Cotta

The last dessert that came to my table was a delicious Apple Crumble, lovingly prepared with caramel, dry fruits, passion fruit puree, vanilla ice cream, apple toast, and thyme leave. 

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Apple Crumble

And finally with this…my gastronomic food journey ended here.

Summing up my overall experience, i feel it’s important to nurture creativity and various artforms in our society. Our ancestors have left aside a rich legacy of art pieces that have strong cultural and historic significance. And which is why we all travel across to queue up outside the museums and admire the exhibits that are rare and precious to us.

However, in the present era we have become slaves to technology and everything that we produce comes out of a machine. Imagine, if we continue to sustain this behavior we will not be able to contribute to the legacy of the past and add much to the prestigious collection. As we enjoy and appreciate the great work done by the erstwhile designers, architects, painters, artisans, sculptors and skilled workers, it’s our moral obligation to reinforce the collection with as many masterpieces for the future generations.   

I leave you with an intriguing quote by the legendary artist Pablo Picasso which finds relevance even today –

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up”

 Click on this link to get the Google Map location of the venue

Some more pictures taken at the Arts Cafe:

 

 

Author: Vijay Malhotra, Mumbai

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