Overlooking the football field, the café’s warmly lit interiors are spruced up with bright graffiti on the walls and upcycled furniture that has steel pipes for table legs and canisters for stools. A flatscreen TV on one side plays the ongoing IPL season matches while the opposite end opens out to the kitchen.
The menu is fairly simple, consisting of what one might usually expect in a fastfood joint or café — shakes, finger food, fries, sandwiches, pastas… The small plates include chilli cheese spring rolls, dragon cauliflower, cilantro pesto paneer, high spiced fish, two types of chicken wings and peri peri prawns. At this point the café’s motto, which is ‘healthy made tasty’, may stop making sense to some, because it is expected that deep-fried foods not be associated with a sport centre.
The few healthy options include the ABC (apple beetroot carrot) juice and watermelon and feta salad but unfortunately, it seems like skipping out on ingredients is a trend this place tends to follow post 8 pm or if the head chef isn’t available. The pictures on the café’s Instagram page seem appealing. However, what is served is a world apart — the ABC juice might not necessarily have apple or beetroot, and the salad doesn’t come with olives. The hint of lemon juice and chopped coriander with the freshness of the fruit comes as a pleasant surprise though.
Moving on to the main course, if you’re a fan of fish and chips, think twice before ordering. The more reliable options seem like the tuna sandwich or pasta. The pesto variant of pasta has a nice flavour of herbs, while on the other hand, the vegetarian option comes without any vegetables or toppings, which makes it lack character. If something as simple as pasta cannot meet a customer’s satisfaction, it is unclear if the grilled beef steak or beef ularthiyathu roll will.
To sum up, there are some eateries that manage to have an exotic menu consisting a variety of interesting dishes and serve each one to perfection, while some others, despite having limited menus, don’t do justice to them. This little café located in Nungambakkam falls under the second category and it must up its game soon for the benefit of diners.
Union - The Urban Cafe
Address: 1, Pycrofts Garden Rd, Subba Road Avenue, Thousand Lights
Contact: 044 48622822
Timing: 12 noon to 10 pm
Cuisine: Italian, café, fastfood
Must-haves: Grilled tuna sandwich, mixed berries smoothie
Star rating (on 5): 1/5