Mitti Cafe is a chain of cafes whose staff has adults with physical and intellectual disability and walks the talk when it comes to inclusivity. Bindu Gopal Rao
Located in a quiet corner in Bengaluru’s Jayanagar, Mitti Cafe is a new addition to Bengaluru’s growing wellness restaurant space. The chain interestingly has 14 cafes within institutions such as Wipro, Infosys, Accenture, Wells Fargo, ANZ Bank and IQVIA, among others and works to create awareness about inclusion and disability rights.
The newest addition is a 2000 square feet café in South Bengaluru at Jayanagar which is a feel- good space with al fresco and covered seating. The best part of this 35-seater space is its cosy ambience and the fact that it is managed by adults with intellectual and physical disabilities.
The menu has a clear focus on food that is good for you and is tasty and flavoursome. Many options are also vegan and gluten-free. To start with some drinks, we ordered a few coolers like the seasonal Aam Panna, a delightful raw mango drink, the cool Rose Lassi and the refreshing Go Green detox drink, a mix of mint, cucumber, amla and apple.
The Mitti café is a collaboration between the erstwhile Enerjuvate and Mitti Café. The menu was designed by Darshana Nahata, the Creative Head. Alina Alam, the founder, works with people who are specially-abled to give guests a meal that comes with making a case for inclusivity.
Alina says, “We hire a lot of adults with disability from the road who are either begging or are homeless. We are also a part of Disability NGOs alliance. A lot of our recruitment happens through partner NGOs and we utilise experiential training to train our team. We use pictorial training, role plays and have a buddy system in place for our adults with intellectual disability.”
For soups I suggest the flavourful Tomato Basil Soup, that is served with garlic bread and packs a spicy punch. You can ask the staff to alter spice levels to your palate. For starters, choose from the Snacks/Small Plates section where the Loaded Nachos is a clear winner. This is a mix of baked maize flour chips, salsa, beans and has a vegan cheese sauce. The Hummus and Pita Platter comes with pita pockets, pickled beetroot, hummus and lavash. Even the chaat has a twist; the Aloo Papri Chaat comes on baked ragi crackers.
The Mummy’s Special Chola Bhatura was unlike any other as the Bhaturas are made using jowar and wheat flour and are non greasy, making it fluffy and light. The Chola is flavourful and has the right masalas and the dish shines through its base ingredients. The Pav Bhaji is a good option too as the bread is made using wheat flour. The menu also has a selection of wraps, sandwiches, pizzas and fusion meals. So if you want a colourful momos platter, a chilli veggie noodle sizzler or build your own pasta, the choice is quite endless.
To end your meal on a sweet note, try the Enerjuvating Brownie made with Ragi and Almond Flour and dark chocolate that makes for a great guilt-free dessert. They have a cake of the day that is made using whole wheat flour and natural organic jaggery. I also sampled a delightful carrot cinnamon cake that was light and tasted divine.
The Mitti café also has a coffee kiosk by Oak + Hill and you can sample some excellent single origin coffees from Chikmagalur. There is also a small retail space on the premises where you can buy products that have been sourced from other NGOs as well as inhouse products. You can also buy whole bean specialty coffee from Oak + Hill, DIY Hot Chocolate Sticks and Jus Truffs Bean to Bar Pure Chocolates when you are here. For me it was the stories of the staff, each of whom have an inspirational background that was a winner here.
Little wonder then that Mitti Cafe has been featured in the Forbes list of 30 under 30 and is a Zero Project Awardee. This is a restaurant with its heart in the right place and has food and ambience to match.
Address: 716/2, 22nd cross Road, Krishna Rajendra Rd, Banashankari Stage II, Banashankari, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560070.
Phone: +91 9538374593
Timings: 11:30 a.m. to 10: 30 p.m.
Cost for two: Rs 500 plus taxes