Dear readers, are you ready to discover your next favorite hangout spot in Shillong? Well, we just discovered this cafe called ‘ML 05’ on 5th Mile, Upper Shillong. With its custom-themed decor and ambiance reflecting the owner’s love of sports, bikes, and travel, it is indeed the perfect retreat/haven for bikers and travelers alike.
We spent a cozy evening at ML 05 Cafe on an evening stroll around Upper Shillong, and had some yummy comfort food like wai wai thukpa, onion bhajia – with our favorite cup of hot chai. Located right beside a pine forest, the outdoor view was just as pleasant as the ambiance inside. This new cafe has only begun operations in May last year (2016), but it comes as no surprise that it is already one of the favorite spots for locals and tourists around the region.
We had a tete-a-tete with Vatsala Tibrewalla, who manages the cafe along with her brother Deval Tibrewalla, who also co-owns the Dylan’s Cafe with her.
How did you come up with the idea for ML 05 cafe?
Vatsala: Deval my brother and co-owner, is a hotelier by profession, and a motorsports enthusiast with a passion for cars. He has completed the world’s highest car rally called Raid de Himalaya twice and knows everything there is to know about cars and bikes. I was pulled into the project mid-way through the conceptualization phase and gave a few inputs on the creative side, helped with menu planning and setting up the overall operations.
We came across this space for the cafe in Upper Shillong, a few months after launching Dylan’s Cafe in Shillong. By looking at Dylan’s popularity within a few months, we found that the concept of a theme cafe was being well received. So, we decided we wanted to do something fun with our next project as well. While thinking about the core concept of ML 05, we again wanted to capture something which everyone from Shillong can relate to. Upper Shillong is an area where most locals go for their Sunday drives and picnics. It is frequented by biker groups and tourists as well who go there exploring.
“An average Shillong local is an avid car & bike enthusiast and everyone, from a taxi driver or a college student to a luxury car owner, invests in accessories and spruces up their cars. The concept was clear to us. We zeroed in on a cafe celebrating the love for cars and bikes that a lot of people in Shillong share among themselves. The name speaks for itself. ML 05 is the prefix of license numbers for vehicles in East Khasi Hill.”
Tell us more about your famous interiors..
The most striking of all our installations is a Royal Enfield bike that hangs from the ceiling bang in the center of our cafe space. In addition, we used real car headlights as ceiling lights and steering wheels as door handles. We have also used other spare parts from cars and bikes as props all around the cafe.
We also exhibit some customized artworks. For example, we showcase a mural celebrating vehicles that evoke nostalgia amongst Shillongites. It depicts Willy’s jeep, a Bedford Bus (Shillong’s local city bus), an Ambassador taxi, and a Royal Enfield interspersed among some quotes that are centered around the love of biking or driving. A creative light installation using metal pipes compliments the rest of the artwork. We also used Naga shawls to make cushions and used locally woven Khasi bamboo mats at the low seating area to give the space a local touch and create a relaxed lounging area. The rest of the lights are built out of local cane moorahs.
What sort of cuisine does ML 05 feature on its menu?
We serve all-day breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Our cuisine is a mix of local favorites, quirky street food-inspired options along with hearty Italian & Chinese main course items, a range of hot and cold beverages, and dessert.
Cafe ML 05’s special – Wai Wai Thukpa served warm.
Most memorable snack was their bhajias accompanied with hot chai!
Don’t miss the absolutely stunning pine forest leading to the cafe! We are surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes on all sides and are literally nestled in the lap of nature. We also rent out bicycles so our visitors can explore the nearby areas while building up an appetite for our delicious menu.
On your next visit to Shillong, make sure you visit ‘ML 05’ cafe on 5th Mile, Upper Shillong, Inside Horti Hub Compound, on the way to Elephant falls & Cherrapunjee.
ML 05 Cafe also rents out bicycles for visitors to enjoy the pine tree forest outside. Check out their Facebook and Instagram for more updates.
Passionate bikers photographed outside ML 05 cafe, Shillong
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