If there’s one gourmet coffee pub in India where you are sure to get organic, single-estate coffee, it’s Amethyst Café in Madras.
It’s was setup by Marc Tormo, a Spaniard who’s made Auroville his home. Starting out in 1993 in Barcelona, he brought his talent in opening and operating cafes that radiate élan and atmosphere to India, to Pondicherry, to Madras, at the turn of the 21st century, at the cusp of the café revolution. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect, nor the espresso, or so say the devoted regulars at this gem tucked away in a corner of Chennai that’s forever Madras.
Situated in the verandah of Amethyst, an eclectic boutique in Sundar Mahal in the erstwhile Jeypore Palace, the ambience captures an earlier more leisurely, more gracious era, with an aura that sets it apart from any other coffee shop in town. Surrounded by a landscaped green garden, it is an oasis of peace and calm, the pride of Kiran Rao who runs Amethyst and who lovingly restored the heritage building and turned it into a hip store cum coffee pub. Ragtime or sixties pop plays softly, softly in the background, filtered sunlight streams through the cane chiks that hang down from high ceilings…This 100-year-old colonial mansion set in a leafy garden is a green, peaceful oasis of calm in this big, dusty and noisy city.
The lounge, veranda and gardens have been transformed into a café and restaurant where you can sit among potted palms with a good book, a good friend, or your laptop. They have yummy homemade cakes, which are also difficult to find.