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It is undoubtedly one of the most recognisable coffeehouse chains in the world, known for their signature hot and cold coffee brews. In fact, the beverage cups that have the staff write your name with a marker is instantly recognisable too. Starbucks, which set foot in India a few years ago, is now spreading wings. Looking to celebrate their 6th anniversary in India, the brand is now brewing in a swanky new space in Chandigarh. Incidentally, Chandigarh is the first non-metro city where ‘Tata Starbucks’ has made an entry, making it a total count of 8 outlets in the country.
Housed in Elante Mall, we decided to check out the new outlet and find out the specials on offer as well. The first thing that strikes you about Starbucks, Chandigarh is the location. Facing the mall’s courtyard, it is the perfect location for sunny views and offers easy access too. Arguably one of the biggest cafes in the city, the outlet has an open feel to it. The brand’s long coffee bar is housed on one side and here is where all the brewing action happens. The outlet has been designed to reflect the city’s architecture and it is most noticeable in the accents in the interiors, the furniture design and the wood-stamped concrete walls. We also noticed a colourful tapestry created using local weaving and embroidery techniques. The interiors and subtle accents give the store a warm and rustic feel. These days, the festive spirit of Christmas is hard to miss too.
So what does the menu offer? There is a range of Starbucks offerings, including the Starbucks signature espresso-based beverages like Cappuccinos, Americanos, Lattes, and an extensive food menu comprising Indian and international favourites. Apart from the all-time favourites such as Cafe Mocha, Java Chip Frappuccino, Signature Hot Chocolate and Caramel Macchiato, the new arrivals include Red Hat Mocha and Cocoa Snowball Dark Mocha. You can choose your size of the cup and even the smallest one packs in quite a bit. The Cappuccino we had was perfect. However, the Hibiscus and Passion Lemonade was rather dull in comparison. There is also a range of teas, including the Starbucks signature tea innovation – India Spice Majesty Blend.
To complement the beverages, the food menu is well curated. Choose from a line-up of pastries, sandwiches, croissants, muffins, cookies and more. If you are unsure about what to order the first time, do try the Egg White and Chicken Ham in Multi-grain Croissant. Paired with a hot cup of coffee, it is almost the perfect breakfast. Starbucks has also introduced 2 new food additions to celebrate the flavours of Chandigarh. The Chicken Makhani Croissant Bun is a buttery croissant bun layered with chicken and onions in a makhani-mayo sauce. Then there is the Chole Masala Tortilla Wrap which has Punjabi chole wrapped in a tortilla with onions, jalapenos and spinach complemented with Chutney and Mango Murraba.
A visit to Starbucks would be quite incomplete if you did not try the Blueberry Muffin. The portion is good for 2! A meal for 2 comprising of coffee with small eats would cost around Rs 700. Weekends can get pretty crowded and finding a table can take a while.
A seasoned journalist, Jagmeeta has worked with The Indian Express for 16 years writing extensively on food, popular culture and fashion. A Master's in English, she completed her honours in Journalism from Delhi University and started her career in journalism with New Delhi Television (NDTV) as a reporter. She was part of the launch team for NDTV.com. Having turned a freelance writer and editor in 2016, she has been writing for The Hindustan Times, Chandigarh and is also a contributor for The Voice of Fashion steered by IMG Reliance Ltd as well as Chandigarh's popular lifestyle portal - simplythecity.com. When she's not reviewing food or dissecting the season's trends, she likes to travel with her daughter and husband, a professional photographer. A photography enthusiast herself, Jagmeeta has also curated photo exhibitions and calls herself a collector of cookbooks and recipes and a proud 'fauji' daughter and sister.