There is so much beyond the stage at Ranga Shankara (JP Nagar, Bangalore). One among many is their Cafe, a place that has grown beyond catering to just theatre goers. People around town now visit the cafe on regular basis regardless of whether their watching a play or not. Credit to this goes to Anju Sudarshan.
For those of you who know about Ranga Shankara, I need not stress on how it transports you to the world of art, theatre and creativity. For the others, here’s a little and well deserving dope. A place that caters to the unending needs of seekers of art, Ranga Shankara now has become a landmark in JP Nagar and reflects exuberance, creativity and talent. A place done up with that extra touch of art, culture and tradition, everything there instantly lets you identify with what I would call ‘the parallel’. Well, the walls, the painting, the flooring, the bulletin boards, the interiors all reflect culture. I must add here that the crowd that can find at the place adds to creating the feeling. Stereotypical as it may sound, it is a very welcoming feeling.
At a corner of the ground floor, one can find a restaurant with unconventional seating (wooden benches minus the cushions). Regardless to say, they are probably more comfortable than any other plush restaurant. An ideal place for one to hop in and re-discover the creative bend in them. Or just be surrounded by a warm and lively atmosphere.
I googled about the cafe and found out that Anju lived for long in Mumbai. May be that’s why one can find a lot of Maharashtrian favourites on the menu – Saboodana Vada, Samosa, Vada Paav. They have a large variety of mouth watering sandwiches – tuna, kheema, peanut butter (yummy), mayo or just tomato and cheese. To quench one’s thirst, one can pick from cold coffee, lassi, lemonade, milk shakes, hot chocolate, coffee or tea. Adding to the local flavour in the menu they have akki rotti and ragi rotti. It’s not just this, a variety if pasta and parathas are also listed on the menu. I personally love their sandwiches, saboodana vada and coffee. Not to mention the cold coffee is tempting as well. The pasta has home-made feeling to it (I’m however not complaining about the taste; for there it scores a good 4/5). The food here has no frills attached. It’s just what you order that you get. No fancy dressing to make you feel that ‘wow, now I have a great meal in front of me’.
What I like the most about the Ranga Shankara Cafe is that it’s simple, nice and relaxing. It makes me unwind easily. Since it’s just a 15 minutes’ walk from home, I couple it with a walk, see if there is a play I want to watch (if there is a TP Kailasam play then there is no missing it) and snack on something tasty. It’s pretty much like home cooked food – not a lot of oil and ghee, no fancy presentation, no soda (seems like it, but I’m not sure) and yet absolutely yummy. Anju’s smile adds in to the warmth at that place. I’m sure one won’t stop with just one snack. It will soon go to the second and then the third. Mind you, that place is addictive.
If you are someone who loves art, theatre and food; this is probably the best place for you. Artists, celebrities and familiar faces are common there; especially if you are a localite. Nobody really cares if you sit there for hours discussing work, life or just admire all the familiar faces. Drop in there sometime and experience the liveliness of the place. It is something I cannot really explain. It’s a feeling that you would want to linger on to. Again, I repeat myself, it is addictive.
Sometimes I wish I could tell everyone that a visit to Ranga Shankara is something everyone owes to themselves. It is something you have to go while in Bangalore, if not to catch a play at least to relax, grab a bite, gossip at length over glasses and glasses of hot filter coffee and just unwind. It’s truly refreshing.