Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91
Vol. XXXI No. 12, October 1-15, 2021
The R’VIVE Cafes are at opposite ends of Chennai’s gastronomic landscape.
What makes the first one different is that it’s on the premises of the outpatient’s department of the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) at Ayanavaram.
The second R’VIVE Cafe is at Mahabalipuram.
Any project started by the City’s own “Hotbreads Mahadevan” is bound to kindle one’s interest.
“Doesn’t it sound a bit like a packet of starch?” I ask him.
We have been known to be sparring partners ever since he launched his first “See-through” automated bakery with Japanese equipment at what used to be a premier mall on Montieth Road. It was an elegant French-style boulangerie with blond wood and cafe style seating. You watched bakers as they removed their puffs and pastries hot from the oven. It was baking as performance.
“No. It’s spelt differently,” he replies, as crispy as the veg spring roll that is placed before me at R’VIVE Cafe at Ayanavaram by Chef Anthony.
Along with his Winners Bakery and Writer’s Cafe staff, he has trained nine of the inmates, as they are called, from the IMH, to work in two shifts at the Cafe serving behind the counter and at the tables.
“This was a project I have wanted to do in a long time. I was inspired by Dr. Sharada Menon to do something to help the patients who are in remission due to the advances in treatment with newer drugs. They are bright and eager to take on the responsibilities entrusted to them. Each of them will receive a small stipend,” he explained.
He put his arms around a young lad Kannan and introduced us.
“What will you do with the money?” I asked.
Kannan hopped nervously from one foot to the other. He pointed to his chappals and said. “I would like to buy new shoes.”
Jaya in her twenties is smartly dressed and groomed.
When I asked her what she would like to do with the money, Jaya said “I would like to invest in gold. I love wearing jewellery.”
Mahadevan explained that the profits of the R’VIVE Cafe would go to the IMH.
It’s an airily designed Cafe with a glassed-in rooftop and large glass panels on two sides looking onto a busy main road. It has a Mediterranean tiled floor with its small tables and metal chairs.
The once crowded area of small shops and narrow pavements has now been gentrified with tall apartment buildings that speak of an affluent new middle class. There are Jain-friendly pizzas, chocolate and cream pastries and puffs and patties.
“The place belongs to the Corporation,” Mahadevan said pointing to the prominently displayed signboard. “We had to translate everything into Tamil but retained the English names.”
“Sooda Roti” instead of Hot Breads?” I ask.
“How would you translate ‘Hot Dogs’ in Tamil?”
Meanwhile, at Mahabs, the second R’VIVE is rocking it amongst the monuments as Mahadevan meets the great Mammalla.
Will it be called the Pallava Pizza Palace?
– Geetha Doctor