CHAMPA GALI GETS PHOKING AWESOME
A namesake of the white Champa flowers that The Blue Tokai brought in to decorate the street, Champa Gali, the short stretch of street smack-dab in the middle of run-down garages and crumbling walls looks like an oasis in a sandy desert. Perhaps it is this Bohemian air about its location that attracts the writers, the musicians and the artists. A ten-minute walk from the Saket metro station, the place, despite its rather obscure corner-of-a-location, can be tracked through Google Map.
Coming on a Wednesday afternoon, the place is practically deserted. With its pebbled street lined by rich profusions of greenery and quaint coffee shops, the place transports you to a charming European town, complete with fairy lights overhead. While The Blue Tokai has been widely popular with their on-site roastery, The Jug Mug Thela has been gaining steady popularity. With their Reading Room imitating a second hand book stall and a Jug Mug Art and Culture Project, the café has reached beyond its tea and snacks to reach out to art and the artist. It doesn’t hurt for the artists that a People Tree Workshop is sandwiched between The Blue Tokai and Jug Mug Thela; it boasts a wide array of vibrantly colorful and boldly expressive cushions, stuffed toys, wall-hangings, accessories and other bric-a-bracs. You could pick up a bag or a dress the next time you visit.
R’s Just Hair Salon and Morello’s Café on the same street, armed with an intriguing name and a wildly artsy wall and decor, is steadily rising to meet a growing crowd as well.
Perhaps because the place needed a dash of oriental spice, Phoking Awesome, a Vietnamese restaurant, was recently added to the charming area. Painted white with blue for the doors and windows, my immediate impression of them was that of Santorini. Well, we still haven’t moved very far from Europe then. As evening falls, the patio is lighted up with fairy lights and stars. The lights are strung across the trees, and it’s pretty much a perennial Christmas here. Most customers chose a table outside, but the indoors is also elaborately decorated to bring together a meld of Eastern and European ambiance. Flowers, (lots and lots of them) is the keyword to describe the decor in Phoking. Their Bulgogi was nicely done; not too rare nor too well-done. The lettuce leaf accompanying it tasted fresh and crisp. The Dim Sum had a soft consistency and had the right amount of garnishing. The Banh Bao could have been better, and the buns fluffier. Above all, The highlight would probably be the Baoger. The Baoger, a burger with the fillings sandwiched between two bao buns is perhaps the best way to describe the two culture the place tries to tie down together.