At Dialogues Cafe, eat, work and read for free, but keep an eye on your watch
Last year, the Kasturi Nagar-located The Minute Bistro hogged the headlines for being Bengaluru’s first pay-per-minute cafe. The Mediterranean outlet charges you `5 for every minute spent there. Food, and WiFi are on the house. Taking this time-bound experiment a notch higher is Dialogues Cafe, which opened in Koramangala earlier this month.
Started by former engineers Ankit Gupta, and Saurabh Priya, and marketing professional Uday Kiran, it is being positioned as a ‘social club’, where food and drinks (no alcohol), and access to their WiFi, library, and meeting room are all free of cost. What you do need to pay for is your time here. The first 60 minutes cost you Rs 190. Then, you are billed Rs 3 for every extra minute. If you decide to check-in for a day (10 am-10 pm), shell out Rs 1,000. You can go around the two-floor cafe, which also has a breezy rooftop space with plants, cane chairs and hammocks, before making a commitment. And if you are in for the ‘social experiment’, you can choose between two plans — Rs 3,400 for a week, and Rs 6,900 for a month. We visited them over a weekend, and were welcomed by soft rock music, curious customers, and an upbeat vibe. Their library (with over 450 books) is bang opposite the entrance. Adjacent to it is a boardroom (with a table, chairs, and a projector).
The open kitchen stands on the other end of the first floor. Unlike other establishments, it lets you carry your tiffin box, or have food delivered. That’s why their food and drinks menu, which is dynamic, revolves around small bites, teas, coffees and coolers that can be served quickly (the time’s ticking, don’t forget). But Gupta admits they are already getting requests to expand their offerings, especially to include cold coffee and things as specific as Maggi noodles. Hot beverages they offer, include masala chai, adrak chai, black tea, filter coffee, Americano, Latte and Cappuccino. Each one comes with a plate of cookies (milk, honey-coated, coconut, spiced or salted ). Cool down with a glass of their orange, green apple, and Rooh Afza drinks. If you feel like munching on something, their toast, omelette, sandwiches (with potato patties, or eggs), poha, momos, quesadillas, and empanada should have you covered. Folks visiting the cafe early on weekends can bite into pancakes (honey, chocolate, or banana), cheese omelette sandwiches, and sprouts and chana salads, besides cereals, and breakfast bakes.
Our plate of Poha arrived minus the garnish of tomatoes, and groundnuts, and was noticeably less in quantity from what we spotted on other tables. The Omelette Sandwich, two small slices, was dry, with no tomato ketchup in sight. Our 60 minutes ran by quickly, but our Potato Fry Sandwich never arrived. They duly apologised to us for this and gave us a 20 per cent discount on the bill. Food is not the primary focus at this cafe, but we feel they must better the service when they have decided to offer one. For instance, you need to walk up to the kitchen counter everytime you want to place a new order! Initial operational hiccups, may be, but customers have promised to come back. Read the comments on the softboard at the entrance.At Koramangala. Details: 679532543
— Barkha Kumari