Foodcation to Puducherry
The little, southern union territory of Pondicherry, with its provincial roads, European buildings and hotpot of cultures, is the perfect destination to satisfy your yummy-in-the-tummy rumbles. Tucked into corners, you can find cafés and restaurants housed in brightly-hued structures, designed to placate any palate - be it Indian, Italian, French or simply sweet-toothed cravings. If you’re planning a foodcation to Pondicherry, here’s a roadmap to get you started on your journey.
With the boutique café trend well and truly here to stay, Coromandel Café ticks all the boxes with its pleasantly European atmosphere, elaborate Franco-Indian menu and wildly popular cocktails. Located in La Maison Rose, a striking coral-hued French villa in White Town, Coromandel Café is the perfect place to transition from coffee to cocktails after a long day of sightseeing.
Bread and Chocolate
Need I say more? Indulge in a buttery croissant and rich hot chocolate at Bread and Chocolate, the land of dreams. Not into the guilt that comes after such sinful indulgence? Bread and Chocolate’s got you covered! Satisfy your craving for carbs and dessert with their smoothie bowls, sourdough sandwiches and vegan ice-cream, and skip the post dessert jog.
Perhaps one of the most coveted spots in town, Baker Street on MG Road is every bit worth the praise. This French patisserie will reel you in with its fragrance of freshly-baked bread, and leave you astounded at its never-ending rows of desserts and baked delicacies. You will find yourself spoilt for choice with selections of croissants, palmiers, and quiches. Start your day with a light breakfast here and duck back in come evening, to relish their eclairs or pastries (or every dessert on display, if you’re feeling oh-so indulgent!).
This stunning heritage property, bang in the middle of White Town, comes highly recommended. Originally built in the 18th century for the “Maire” Mayor of Pondicherry, it still exudes European charm with its pebbled paths, arches and tall doors. Take your pick from Indian, Continental or French cuisine and pair it up with a drink of your choice, at the restaurant. Whether you’re the ‘French onion soup and wilted spinach risotto’ type of person, or a lover of poricha kozhi and biryani, you will not be disappointed! Le Dupleix is also a boutique hotel with gorgeous rooms, if you feel like staying the night.
One of the lesser-known haunts of Pondicherry, this rooftop wonder is the highest on our do-not-miss list. Massimiliano Morsiani from Bologna runs this Italian restaurant that abides by its authenticity to the point that he swears most of his ingredients are flown down directly from Italy. Though the service here is rather laid-back, keeping in tune with the town’s relaxed air, the food is worth the wait! Ask for the four-cheese ravioli and in-house sangria for a guaranteed food coma.
Have you really experienced a place until you’ve had a taste of the local cuisine? Hit up home-chef Pushpa for a sumptuous, traditional meal at her house. The dishes, which are a curious mix of Tamil, French, and Portuguese influences, and served on a banana leaf, will keep you coming back for more. You can find Chez Pushpa on Facebook, and communicate your preferences in advance for a customized delight!
A trip to Pondicherry is incomplete without a visit to Auroville - the small, universal community of unity and compassion just outside the city. En route to the Matri Mandir, stop at Auroville Bakery if you can. The chocolate croissant will melt against your tongue while the lemon cake will floor you with its surprisingly moist texture! The outdoor seating is also a perfect place to chill for a bit.
Though this list is hardly comprehensive, it’s a start to exploring one of the most diverse food experiences in southern India. Get ready to nurture your food baby!