India is primarily associated with tea in popular culture, but owners of the new Coorg Indian Cafe plan to showcase the South Asian country’s lesser-known coffee tradition.
“There are very few places in India that do coffee,” says Preethi Machaiah, who opened the Mount Pleasant restaurant with her husband, Darshan Ayandra. Among them is the couple’s native Kodagu, or Coorg, region, situated north of Kerala.
According to Machaiah, Coorgi coffee has a unique character because it grows alongside spice plants, including vanilla, pepper and cardamom. Machaiah and Ayandra are importing beans grown by their immediate family.
At first, Machaiah says, “We wanted to open with just coffee with some pastries, but then we looked at the logistics. It didn’t look great.” So they rounded out the menu with an array of savory dishes, including a selection of curries featuring shrimp, goat and pork ribs. Coorgi cuisine differs radically from the cooking practiced in places where Hindu and Muslim dietary restrictions prevail. The region is known for its meat dishes and strong liquor.
In addition to coffee, Coorg Indian Café is mixing martinis and margaritas.
Coorg Indian Cafe, 1440 Ben Sawyer Blvd., Suite 1300, is open 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Wednesday-Saturday; 4:30 p.m.-8 p.m., Wednesday-Thursday; 4:30 p.m.-9 p.m., Friday-Saturday; 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Sunday. For more information, call 843-936-3176 or visit coorgindiancafe.com.