Cafe Laata is located bang opposite the Reliance digital showroom in Jakhan. Being a month old, this very outlet is pretty well recognisable on Rajpur Road. It is the newest addition to the fostering cafe-culture in the city of love. As the name suggests itself, this quaint eatery is a symbol of minimalism and a happy laid back life. Upon entering the staircase, you would find Laata taking you on a mini trip to Dehradun. Isn’t this map a nutshell of the entire city? It just feels so exhilarating to even locate your residence.
Laata: What’s in a name?
The term “Laata” in Pahadi means someone who is a simpleton, loves travelling and guiding people around the mountains and is happy in his little world! Generally, in Garhwal grandparents refer to their grandsons(or granddaughters) as Laata or Laati but the one said above is a much more generalised meaning. In fact, the guy standing beside me is one of the most well-known members of the Been There, Doon That? family & is their walking mascot!
Cafe Laata: A comprehensive tour of the interiors
Cafe Laata is all about rescued doors (you heard it right) from heritage Havelis and old dilapidated houses, dumped into garbage pits, upcycled to give the cafe, vintage vibes. How cool! Loved the idea of using upcycled furniture and collectables. This is the kind of sustainability we look for. Well done, team! There is wall graffitis that are inspired by the wall paintings & murals from the Garhwal School of Painting at Shri Guru Ram Rai Darbar. Very creative!
The missing man at the corner scares my wits out for sure, but at the same time, it is a masterpiece. An artist from Saharanpur sculpted this celebrating “Vocal For Local”. I love the concept of Café Laata which is innovative at its core. The big book entails all the deets of heritage walks organised by the team of Been There, Doon That?. The photographs have been clicked by the co-founder, Lokesh Ohri (Anthropologist and Founder, Been There Doon That) himself and exhibited in the cafe. Team Laata is a powerhouse of talents. FYI, the property is free for all photographers/artists and home bakers to showcase their work on a collaboration basis.
Read about one of those cafes in Dehradun that depicts the beauty of the Victorian era here.
There is a little archaeological corner in the beautiful cafe and I could see rocks and stones from nooks and corners of the globe. This colourful piece of stone from the wall murals of the Samadhi Sthal (1676) was rescued & restored at this artsy wall from the dumps by the team. The USP of it is, that it’s pigment comes from vegetable dyes. What a sustainable way of decorating a cafe! Very impressive.
If you see the shelves closely, you would recognise the pattern “Been There Doon That” and I find it extremely fun. There are volunteers and members of BTDT who contribute books to the library and mind if I say their collection is very intriguing. There are some really chic and super cool merchandises like metal sippers, hoodies, etc. kept at a corner. These are specially curated by the BTDT team which depict the essence of Dehradun in the true sense. In collaboration with Kalakaar Kabutar, Cafe Laata offers customised postcards, bookmarks, etc. All my eyes are on the mug that focusses on the main attractions of Dehradun like the Indian Military Academy, Ghantaghar, Mindrolling monastery, Gorkha War Memorial, etc.
The gastronomical quest begins with Lemon coriander soup
A scrumptious brunch seems like a void without soups and salad. However, the involvement of soup is very necessary as it creates a perfect equilibrium among the appetizers and main course dishes (that are predominantly, rich in nutrients and spices). Although I am a proud non-vegetarian, yet the very-vegan Lemon coriander soup from the kitchen of Cafe Laata comforted me from tip to toe.
I loved the mild flavour with a hint of sour and spicy zing, promising enough to slurp the entire of it. Lemon coriander soup is not only rich in Vitamin C but also the best choice for those suffering from mild fever and cold. The added veggies stock were fresh and a slurp itself rejuvenates you from within. Let me reveal a very interesting fact about the veggies that are added to the soup. These are sourced from local farms giving them the opportunity to earn a living from the same. This is probably the best example of the “Vocal for Local” initiative. It is also a golden moment for the connoisseurs to have a real “Farm to fork” experience. Bravo team!
Cafe Laata’s signature dish: Falafel in a Pahadi twist with Hummus
There is this thing with middle eastern cuisine, that creates a melodious reverberation in our heart. Falafel is one such snacking option that strikes the right chord of gastronomy and lets you even have your friend’s share. Haha. The Falafels at Cafe Laata are a tad bit different than the usual ones we have in other cafes and restaurants. Here, the chickpeas, seasonings, herbs and spices are not just the only ingredients but they also infuse poppy seeds (khus-khus or what we call in Bengali, Posto) in it to give the popular middle eastern snack a Pahadi twist.
I found the Falafels extremely mouthwatering due to their crispness and the desi infusion of poppy seeds. Who doesn’t like dipping Falafel into Hummus and have the time of their life? I am one of them, now.
Creamy cheesy pasta for the win
Those who know my in-s and out-s, know my eternal love for a humble bowl of pasta. Each and every single string of love echoes in my heart with spices and condiments, when savoured with joy. What I love about the Alfredo sauce pasta is its cheese and only cheese. I mean, look at those shredded mozzarellas on the top. Isn’t the appeal itself so attractive? I feel like digging into it, yet again with the buttered toast acting as a great accompaniment. Just sprinkle some oregano and chilli flakes and your day is made.
Himalayan Virgin Mojito v/s Buransh Virgin Mojito: Crowd favourite of Cafe Laata
Talking about the mocktails, the Himalayan Virgin mojito is something that has kept its flag hoisting high till the last sip of it. It’s a humble mixture of Blue curacao syrup, lime juice and sweet lime with a little garnishing on top. The colour itself gives you tropical vibes sitting atop the mountains. I am glistening with joy after the first sip. The Buransh virgin Mojito on the other hand is regarded as the signature mocktail of Cafe Laata. With natural flower extracts and mint muddled to actually stop it from overpowering the drink, this one has outshined in true sense. Highly recommended!
Caramel custard puts the veil on the quest at Cafe Laata
Desserts are known for putting an end to a fulfilling gastronomical experience. The caramel custard at Cafe Laata looks absolutely mind-blowing. I would name it “Jiggly wiggly woo” because it bounces like my tummy after having good food. It’s silky, it’s smooth, it’s beautiful as a fairytale but most importantly it’s blissful and really hard to ignore if found under the cafe menu. Irresistible indeed! Look at the picture. I am still having a hard time to forget every inch of what I had. Sad reacts only, fellas!
Here’s a video review depicting my recent experience at Cafe Laata. They follow COVID-19 protocols too hence you are in a safe zone.
It is quite easy to locate Cafe Laata on Rajpur Road, Dehradun. Here’s a graphical representation depicting the same for your convenience.
Friends and folks! Do not forget to drop in your feedback if you happen to visit Cafe Laata in Dehradun, someday soon. Tag me on your stories and posts with @foodicted.fellow on Instagram and let me know your views.
Disclaimer: Aritro Chattopadhyay (I) was invited to try out a few dishes at the café/restaurant. However, the reviews are true to the core and totally based on my personal experience.
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