How about you binge on your favorite food in a place which transports you directly into the rustic old world away from the hustle bustle of today? How many of us really get to see and experience a place as old as Charlie’s Corner Café, a quaint eatery in Sadar? Not many, we bet! This laid back café is nested inside of a 58 year old house that belongs to Ruella’s grandma.
Ruella D’Souza, a Psychology graduate and a home-baker, is the founder and owner of Charlie’s Corner Café, which is named after her dad who passed away a few years ago. He was a foodie who loved to cook and it was his dream to open a place which would serve freshly whipped home food. Ruella just turned his dream into a reality and here she is doing what she does best, create dishes and serve food with the warmth that’s sure to melt your hearts.
The USP of Charlie’s Corner Café is their unique food menu ranging from an adult Mac & Cheese, to Pizza Bombs to traditional Goan delicacies. Having grown up in Nagpur, Ruella is very well versed with the kind of food and the humungous variety that is served in the city and that is precisely why she wanted to stir (pun intended) things a little bit. Introducing different kinds of food to the people of Nagpur is what excites Ruella to don the chef’s hat every single day. A relatively new venture, Charlie’s Corner Café opened its doors to the people of Nagpur on February 28th, 2017 and is spreading ‘love laden with taste’ ever since.
What’s most inspiring about Ruella is that this young lady does most of the prep work herself. Right from making sure the meat is always fresh and responsibly sourced to the breads and burgers freshly delivered from the bakery; Ruella takes immense pride in the fact that everything in her café is home-made from scratch(referring to the pizza dough)and invariably consistent. And this consistency of goodness in food and the 60’s vibe that it emits once you enter the café is what connects Charlie’s with the youth who deluge this place in search of spicy Chicken Wings tossed in Ruella’s home-made sauce, which by the way is one of the best sellers on their menu.
Talking of best sellers, Chicken Kheema Pav and Chicken Pizza Bombs are lip-smacking and for the vegetarians, Paneer Pizza Bombs and Mayo Potato Wedges are all that you need to satisfy those hungry taste buds of yours. And to cool things down, seasonal punches and shakes are a must try. Ruella points out, “we don’t serve aerated drinks in our café. However, we are more than happy to serve you fresh and organic fruit juices and shakes made from real fruit pulp.”
Charlie’s Corner Café is a ‘chilled out place’ in Ruella’s words and the only real connection you’ll have is with the food and your loved ones because guess what? There’s no WIFI. Yes! So, the only time you’ll take out your phones will be to click pictures and seize those moments and that’s it. And before you ask, ‘Well, what is there to do around here anyways?’ Ruella is quick to answer, ‘board games’. Forget virtual connections and make the real ones. Indulge yourself in your childhood favorite game of Scrabble, UNO, Tic Tac Toe. Another thing that is sure to entice you is the stunning assorted cutlery in the café which belongs to Ruella’s grandma. She says, “The best things in life are old, loved and rescued, and my grandma’s vintage cutlery is my most prized possession. I love that I can share that with the people and nothing makes me happier.”
Starting June/July, Charlie’s Corner Café will serve Sunday breakfast platter consisting of eggs (your style) sausages, baked beans, potatoes and will continue up until March. Sunday breakfast platter looks nothing short of a Continental heaven and every bite is to die for. If you are the one who likes Goan food, do try their Choriz Pav- a traditional Goan sausage preparation. Ruella gets the sausages from Goa and they are on the menu only when she has her stock loaded with fresh sausages since compromising on the quality is something she never settles for.
Charlie’s Corner Café is a cosy yet great place to host birthday and kitty parties for big groups. Speaking of big, the only feedback she usually gets is that their food portions are very big. Ruella laughs and says “I make everything fresh and I love to feed, and when I am feeding I never measure the size of the serving bowl as long as my customers are enjoying every bite of what they have ordered. I value their trust and confidence in me.” Icing on the cake is their super affordable prices. Ruella likes to go an extra mile by offering a weekend special or a birthday special offer for her valued customers. What’s not to like about this café?
The café has a small collection of books, and if you’re looking for a place to just lounge and have good food without any botheration, Charlie’s is an ideal place to be. Find yourself a relaxed nook and order a Maggie tadka or a Maggie sandwich and keep flipping those pages. Ruella says, “I get a lot of college crowd and they love ordering Maggie tadka, Maggie sandwich, overload sandwich, spicy Chicken sandwich and Chilly Corn sandwich. I serve these sandwiches with Mayo dip and Ketchup and the plates are invariably wiped clean.” Ruella loves to experiment with food and that’s one of the reasons you’ll find some new creation in her menu every time you visit the café. If that’s not all, you can also buy her homemade jams, pickles and chutneys. With no added preservatives, slather them on a toasted bread slice along with the masala tea served in kulhars or Madras filter coffee and you’re a fan of hers for a lifetime.
The café is closed on Mondays and they DON’T serve alcohol. But hey! That should give you all the more reasons to go and have an ‘unadulterated’ time at Charlie’s. Ruella firmly believes that, “Charlie’s Corner Cafe is a perfect place to chill in the company of your loved ones. Just come over and lounge and let the café serve you the most delectable food, brimming with sheer love and warmth.” She signs off by quoting Thomas Keller, “A recipe has no soul; you the cook must bring soul to the recipe.” This lady has a soul and so does her recipes for sure!