Oevaru Café and Gallery is one of the most recent additions to Male’s budding café scene. As the name indicates, this little café located in the alley next to ADK hospital is as much about art as it is about food, and we have a brief chat with Minnu, who runs the place alongside her husband Afu and her uncle Iqbal, to find out more.
Lonumedhu: Your café looks lovely Minnu, and I’ve already bumped into so many of my artsy friends during the short while I’ve been here; there’s Mamdhuh painting over there, and there’s music upstairs right? I am going to go check that out after we get done with the interview.
Minnu: Yes, tonight we have YJ playing with us here. We initially wanted to create a gallery where all sorts of artists can get together. Not only artists actually, art appreciators, buyers, collectors and so on.
Lonumedhu: So how did food come into the picture?
Minnu: Since it is a gathering place, we thought it’s a good idea to have food, so that people can really enjoy themselves and hang out for longer.
Lonumedhu: How much of work did you guys put in to setting up the place?
Minnu: This premise was previously a ‘sai hotaa’ so we had to make a lot of changes to the interior such as changing the staircase to a comfortable one and so on. We’ve worked on the décor quite a bit too.
Lonumedhu: It’s really nice to see so many artworks from local artists on your walls. I hear you paint too.
Minnu: Yes I do. I got into that when I was studying in India. I’d paint a lot during my free time.
Lonumedhu: I see. Let’s talk about your menu. Afu tells me everything except the Kashmiri rice with chicken stroganoff is your recipe.
Minnu: Peanut butter noodles with chicken, creamy garlic pasta, these dishes are things I actually make at home. And the Kashmiri rice is from one of our chefs Julhas.
Lonumedhu: A couple of my friends attended your opening event. They were telling me about your delicious hors d'oeuvres. They were actually calling it ‘faranjee hedhikaa’ and I thought it was funny.
Minnu: (Laughs) Those are from our pastry chef Ananthu. S; he’s from India and he’s got a lot of experience under his belt, working at Sheraton for five years and all. Here he takes care of the baked items, one of them is our cheesecake, which has become quite popular.
Lonumedhu: Your cheese platter is already quite popular too. Tell us a bit more about that.
Minnu: My family comes to visit me on Fridays, and platters, whether it be cheese or meat, is something I usually make for these family gatherings. I don’t like doing dishes, so serving a platter makes cleaning up afterwards easy, plus there’s no huge cooking process.
Lonumedhu: Will we be seeing a meat platter here sometime in the future too?
Minnu: Yes, we are just about to introduce that. It’s going to include a variety of meats including chicken and beef; it’s for meat lovers. Our platters are actually designed for groups, for sharing; food brings people together, that’s the whole idea behind it.
Lonumedhu: Have you always been into cooking?
Minnu: It’s something I picked up when I was in college in India. I used to do a lot of experiments back then. I studied engineering, although now I’ve moved on to something so different from it.
Lonumedhu: Ah I see. We’ve reached the end of our interview, so let’s conclude it by talking about your envisioned future for Oevaru?
Minnu: We would continue with our efforts to promote art. For example if an artist is holding an exhibition here, we’d clear out the whole place and dedicate it solely for the artist for the duration. We’d like to host pop-up events too. Overall I think we’d continue to bring people together both through art and food.
Lonumedhu: Looking forward to more of your art and food Minnu. Thanks for having me over; love the food and the good vibes here.