Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the central Gairidhara road lies Social Café, which according to the operators is a place for entrepreneurs and change-makers to share, inspire and explore great ideas.
The cafe is part of a three-storeyed complex which also houses an entrepreneurship training room. As you enter into the cavern, you are immediately drawn towards the outdoors where a gentle breeze blows past the lush, prostrate shrubs exude fresh and bohemian vibes.
Inside, the rooms are warm and cozy with jazz playing at just the right volume. You can clearly see that each corner of the indoors is occupied by either this or that. Since the café also supports music festivals, the decor inside is amalgamation of music and aesthetics. That is to say, the corners have been embellished with a mathka (vase) made of mayur pwankhs (peacock feathers), a petite guitar, resting Budhhas and the traditional Nepali instrument, madal. A bunch of flutes arranged on a vase can also be spotted. These minute details truly add aesthetics to the ambiance.
The façade was a treat to the eyes, and a palate to the belly. We started off with the veg sizzler, which was tangy and spicy. Served on a petite wooden board, the noodles on the platter were all homemade. The strands were robust, long and of the off-white, cream colour. The platter was overall, a tasty meal.
The second thing we tasted was Chips Chilly. It was a delectable blend of numerous spices in appropriate ratios for it was pretty spicy. The fried potatoes retained a dark-red colour on the skin and crisp crunches on the inside. It was seasoned with onions, capsicum and garlic and added condiments enhanced its staple potato and onion fashion. The achaar (pickle) was a thick paste and it looked like it had just been ground. Both the taste and colour were fresh and fine and traces of teel (black sesame seeds) could also be found in the pickle.
The café’s specials include Danish Pork or Flaeskesteg which is a popular dish eaten throughout Denmark on auspicious occasions. A thick chunk of pork mounts the platter which is heated for 90 minutes and then served with boiled potatoes and red wine sauce. The pork looks hard on the surface, but, once percolated, it’s soft and chewy.
Another of their specials is Chili Con Carne, a spicy stew with an ample portion of grilled chicken, chilly, tomatoes and red beans. Some mashed potatoes are included.
My personal favourite should be Spaghetti Nepolitana. Dive right into a plate of spaghetti noodles hidden under generous amounts of melted cheese and tiny mushroom heads that encircle the dish.
The tendrils were long and soft while the melted cheese and mushroom heads made it more chewy.
These delicacies were served with Social Café special cocktails, each having a quirky name. One of the best was definitely Ratnapark to Gairidhara. Seriously this cocktail leaves us wondering what is cooler: The drink or its name!
Then came in the chilled Margharitas and Sex on the Beach, both straight out of the ‘Tempo Bar’. Yes, you read it right. An actual ‘tempo’ has been revamped into a bar with liquor bottles, a sink and even a mirror.
The other attraction at Social café is definitely the backyard where live music performances, often accompanied by piano and saxophone, are staged. The comfortable seating under the lunar encampment, the breezy air that flirts with your hair and the sound of live music caressing your ears while the chatter continues intervened by laughter at intervals.
This makes for the perfect Friday evening. Social Café is much more than a dining space.
Venue: Gairidhara, Kathmandu
Opening hours: 9:00 to 22:00 hrs (Saturdays 13:00 to 22:00)