Coonoor, a hill station in South India is very popular with tourists, especially domestic tourists hoping to escape the heat of the plains. Surrounded by the Nilgiri or blue mountains and the Shola forests, with rolling tea plantations as far as the eye can see, it is a pretty, picturesque place. Summer sees a huge influx of visitors, enjoying several activities-boating on the lake, riding horses, shopping or just strolling. Exhausted with all the pleasurable exercise, the wonderful cold air brings on an unmatched appetite and there is a mad search for someplace to get a flavourful cup of coffee. Although Coonoor has several restaurants, cafes and tiny tea stalls catering to varied tastes and purses, we will take you on an exploration of some of the best loved cafés.
CAFÉ KOFFEE BEAN
On the way from Bedford to WGC Road, not far from Sims Park is this tiny little place. The café has the most amazing views. Cute and cosy, the seating is limited but manned by great staff. There are a variety of homemade cakes and freshly made sandwiches and croissants. Do try their chicken cutlets and lemon cake. My friend insisted that everything was so good, fresh and was served piping hot. Top it off with an excellent cup of coffee or tea.
This is a cosy coffee shop at Bedford Circle. They have the most excellent coffee. Their specialities are the chicken sandwiches and croissants. Then there are the doughnuts, cookies and pastries. Their apple pie is delicious. An ideal place for a brunch, an evening coffee or maybe dessert after dinner. In fact any time is great!
Ced’s is a one man show. Not far from Bedford Circle, this hidden cosy café is a delight. The greatest thing about this place is that their freshly assembled pizzas are completely handmade down to the crust. Packed with flavour their pizzas and sandwiches are yummy. And they are value for money with their moderate pricing. The orders are picked up fast, the staff speak English, Hindi and Tamil, which is a great advantage. The place is also hygienic and clean.
What one notices immediately is that the Café has an amazingly funky look with posters of Harry Potter, Avengers and Fight Club. This converted home has a retro look with old country- road inspired music. It is a small place with just a few tables and benches, giving it a cosy ambience. They serve authentic Texan food, which is absolutely delicious. We tried their Beef Bacon Cheese Burgers, Chicken Corn and Onion Pizzas, Beef Sloppy Joe and Death by Chocolate. Their thin crust pizzas are soft despite being thin crust, whole wheat, and so amazing. They also serve pastries, milkshakes, and grilled sandwiches. Try their brownies with ice cream. Another favourite is the Chilli Cheese Toast that has everybody raving about them. Their service is good and quick. They also use sustainable plates and cutlery. Add to this the fantastic views and it’s an absolute 10!
This quaint café is located on a picturesque hillside with a beautiful garden and wonderful views. This bistro styled restaurant is completely vegetarian. The interiors are tastefully done up with quaint wooden furniture, quirky cutlery and handmade menu cards. They serve fragrant filter coffee and gourmet teas, freshly pressed juices and a variety of home baked goodies. There is a wide choice, especially of soups and salads. Try their Velvety Mushroom Soup, Grilled Panini with Roasted Ratatouille and Cheese or the Mango Avocado Salad. They can customize your pasta or you could choose to have thin crust pizza. Top it all off with an amazing Rosemary Peppermint Tea.
This place is crowded on weekends so do book in advance to avoid disappointment. They are open from 10 a.m to 6 p.m and are closed on Wednesdays.
LA BELLE VIE
This restaurant is part of the 180°C McIver Hotel, a 19th –century revamped bungalow. It has an old world charm with décor to match. There are outstanding views of the surrounding gardens and the hills beyond. They menu promises Thai, French, Italian and Indian. You can also get pizzas. Two items we tried were really good- the Balsamic Chicken and the Lamb Chops were flavourful and succulent. The desserts were good too, with Chocolate Eclaire, Cheese Cake and Almond Cake on offer.
This place is popular not so much for its food as for the ambience and visitors drive long distances to get there. A meal could cost about 400 per person which is reasonable considering the location etc. Do book in advance.
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