You may easily lose track of time at the tiny Hill Station Café in Kothanur, but it’s likely that your tummy will thank you for it

Amidst empty plots and dusty untarred roads sits an adorable little café in a place where you’d least expect it. Hill Station Café is a tiny haven for those with a sweet tooth, a cosy nook where you can gorge on all the ice cream and cookies you want without the outside world noticing.

Step in, and the smell of baking hooks you by the nostrils. The small counter has an array of cookies and rolls, and above it is the menu written in chalk, announcing home-made ice-creams, nachos, hot and iced coffees, ice-cream cookies and ‘Italian sodas’, among other things.

With a small menu and just four tables (and a fifth one outside), service is prompt and extremely friendly.

Tranquil hideout

It’s a quiet place with rough-hewn wooden floorboards and walls the colour of dark chocolate, decorated with framed posters of hill stations and free-hand drawings. You may easily lose track of time here, but it’s likely that your tummy will thank you for it.

Ice-cream enthusiast that I am, I was disappointed to learn that there would be no ice-cream cookies that day. But to compensate, I ordered and demolished their home-made chocolate ice-cream, much to the dismay of my companion. It was rich, creamy and deeply chocolatey: all good reasons for not wanting to share.

Their nachos, unremarkable but comforting just the same, come with the luxury of choice: chilli cheese, sour cream and tomato are the dips you can pick from.

On to beverages

A colourful row of bottles lines the counter, each containing syrup in flavours such as blueberry, hazelnut and apple pie. These are combined with soda to make the ‘Italian sodas’. My interest piqued, I tried the apple pie-flavoured soda, apart from being light and refreshing, tasted slightly odd and was, on the whole, unexceptional. Their iced mocha was enjoyable, with a strong punch, but a word of advice: don’t ask for a strong one unless you truly mean it.

Cookies to die for

The baked goods are easily the café’s best offering. Their cookies, when we got them, were warm and soft with generous chunks of chocolate. Hill Station’s friendly, bespectacled, apron-clad owner, who wants to be known simply as Stanley, says he bakes the cookies using a family recipe.

Most of the café’s food is baked or made right in Kothanur, and their cookies are even sold independently, labelled ‘The Great American Chocolate Chip Cookie’.

Stanley is from Kansas, but moved to Kothanur a few years ago. He goes up to each table to ask customers how the food was, and is quick to give refunds (unasked) if he feels the dish didn’t come out right. And for now, Stanley wants to keep his little coffee shop small and low-key until he manages to get everything just “perfect”.

(Hill Station Café is at 103, Narayanapura Main Road, Kothanur. Call 9886360808.)

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