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    The new Domus offers retro furniture and a healthy menu in a restored villa

    Get a closer look at some curated retro furniture as you snack on a healthy quinoa salad or a berry smoothie at the city’s new address, Domus that opened on November 10. Pondicherry has always been known for its café-cum-boutiques that blend dining with unhurried shopping.

    04December-Lead13Domus, is now housed in a restored colonial villa on a particularly picturesque stretch of Suffren Street. The tangerine walls outside reveal sunlit and white interiors — making it different from Domus’ original, a smaller store inside La Maison Rose, which will remain open till summer. In keeping with its name (Domus is Latin for house), the space is designed to replicate a house, with furniture, fabrics and accessories aesthetically scattered across the rooms. What the mix of textures and materials have in common is that they are all curated by proprietor and French interior designer Claude Dalmais. “I take a week out of every month to travel to different parts of India. But I bring back only what I like,” says Dalmais, who has spent ten years in India and has favourite artisans and shops in Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh and Chettinad.

    Though some pieces are displayed in their original state, you can also find old furniture refashioned or discarded artefacts rethought like a mirror cast in distressed wood to match a chest of drawers. From chandeliers in the entryway to newly upholstered couches in the living room, armchairs and cushions with geometric prints, the ensemble is a mix of contemporary and vintage.

    The dining room has plenty of eye-catching retro crockery, be it powder blue mason glass jars or enamel tea cups that made their way from Czechoslovakia to Chettinad. The back rooms showcase soft rugs, kantha work quilts, scarves, jewellery, soft leather bags, flip flops and simply tailored clothes like cotton shirts, blouses and kaftans.

    04December-Lead12An amble through the store ends in an open courtyard with wrought iron chairs and green foliage– Café Domus. Smoothies (`150), salads and sandwiches (` 250- 350) are the healthy triumvirate at the café, which is a veggie’s delight in the otherwise seafood and steak loving Pondy. Do not expect effusive service, but the salad thalis which offer a combo of three or five salads make for an interesting lunch. The sandwich basket allows you to choose your own bread, cheeses (from Auroville), home-made seasonings and fillings. If you’d rather end on a calorie high, we suggest their home-made Swiss apple tart.
    Open from 10 am to 7 pm
    throughout the week at Rue
    Suffren (near Alliance Francaise).Details:  0413 4210807

    — Olympia Shilpa Gerald

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