Kolkata, a city of deep history and culture, is embodied in Artsy Cafe, a place for every flavour of arts and expression you can imagine! Authors, musicians, visual artists and more gather in this hub to support each other and create a thriving community of artists.
Created by a mother-son duo, Manjyot Kaur and Arshdeep Singh, Artsy had been a long-time dream for the both of them. We had a lovely conversation with the duo to see how far the cafe has come and what all is just around the corner.
Hello! Thank you for inviting us to your cosy corner. Please introduce yourselves to our eager readers.
Arshdeep: My name is Arshdeep Singh. I was born and raised in Kolkata. I have an undergrad degree in Business and have worked across various industries (Development, EduTech, Policy and Hospitality). I simply love collecting experiences and knowledge each job has to give. Along with Artsy, I also run my own Branding & Design Studio – Kwa:zi which is based out of New Delhi.
Manjyot: Hi I’m Manjyot and I have been in Kolkata since 1991, I came here to pursue computer applications masters from Jadavpur University in Kolkata. Since then I have juggled bringing up children and teaching computer science at the graduate level. In a dramatic breakaway from teaching, I set foot into the food & beverage industry with Artsy.
Tell us about Artsy cafe! How it came into being, and more.
Arshdeep: Artsy – Coffee & Culture began on November 25th, 2017. When I travelled to Kerala, in 2016, I visited Kochi’s famous Kashi Art Cafe. Though Kashi and Artsy differ majorly in look and feel, Kashi made me wonder why a city like Kolkata which boasted of a diverse cultural fabric, did not have a space that brought these eclectic elements together.
“I created Artsy to fill the niche spot of having a cultural hub with the leisure of a modern yet creative cafe. It was made for the people to have a space of liberated expression.
We’ve had a plethora of events over the span of 18 months or so. We’ve hosted Aanchal Malhotra – the critically acclaimed author of Remnants of a Separation, a multilingual poetry soiree, musical talents spanning almost every genre, the highlight being our resident Jazz band – The Big Other. Not to forget our 15 different artists who have showcased their work over the course of this time. Creating an environment as alive as the city itself!”
Tell us a little more about why ‘Artsy Cafe’ is special…
Manjyot: We realised that in our city, young artists needed more support and exposure. We envisioned Artsy to be a platform that allowed young artists a viewership of around 2000 people per month as well as a place where they could sell their work – to help encourage and support them to live off their passions.
Artsy today is a seamless blend of a coffee house and a gallery. On the other hand, for the general public, it’s a place for mindful contemplation and meaningful conversation.
“Immersed in art and culture, we hope to enliven freer and more diverse thought, cultural integration and provide intellectual stimuli. Nothing makes you more ‘artsy’ than when you are drinking a cup of mind-stirring coffee while being surrounded by soul-feeding art.”
The Instagram-famous art installation, named ‘Our Window Wall’ on the outside of the cafe.
How do you think your upbringing has helped you on this quest?
Arshdeep: I have grown up in Kolkata and my mother also has been here for quite a while. This close bond to the city really helped us envision a space that was truly intrinsic to the nature of this metropolis. We felt we had the ability to capture what made the city special and translate it into Artsy.
Give us insider details of the tasty treats on your menu!
Manjyot: Artsy serves gourmet cafe food featuring some well-loved recipes from around the world. There are Asian, European and American dishes to excite your taste buds with.
“My personal favourite is the newest addition to our menu – the whipped and airy pancakes in brown butter caramel sauce. They’re super light but very indulgent. “
Fluffy pancakes in brown butter caramel sauce |Artsy Cafe
“People also cherish our tea cakes – Banana Walnut Bread and Dark Chocolate Zucchini Bread, they’ve been constants through our 2 years! They go best paired with our coffees. We offer farm to cup coffees with roasts from Blue Tokai and Bili Hu and teas from Goodwyn Tea. We pride ourselves on keeping things as natural and organic as possible!”
What can we catch if we head down to the cafe during the next 3 months?
Manjyot: Presently we have our bi-monthly Artsy Live active, which is live performances by local musicians. They take the stage on select evenings to get the crowd grooving to their sound and have an intimate, interactive performance.
“We have also just launched our new coffee blend- The Artsy Blend especially created by Bili Hu, the coffee roasters. The blend is a fantastic amalgamation of flavours – it consists of washed Arabica beans and Robusta beans from globally renowned Kalledevarapura estate and naturally fermented Arabica coffee beans from a diversity-friendly plantation called ‘Tat tvam asi’. These beans when blended together bring out a full-bodied cup, with balanced acidity and a sweet, lingering aftertaste. Makes for a life-changing Cappuccino!”
Upcoming winter, we will have a special winter curated menu and an array of workshops ranging in cinema, photography and creative writing.
Follow them on Instagram – and visit them at ‘Ground Floor, 230/B, Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Rd, Minto Park, Bhowanipore, Kolkata, West Bengal’
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