Under a mango tree

“Everyone can see and acknowledge each other, it’s intimate,” says Namrata Sundaresan, a food entrepreneur who delves into multiple cuisines, about her experience with the city’s new event space in Adyar.

Bungalow 12, like a number of other small businesses in and around the area, comprises a cosy little building that is part of a larger residential space, but operates independently of it. Some of them use refurbished outhouses, others take up the basement — in this case, it’s a sunny verandah at the back of a house. With a view of different varieties of mango trees, frangipani and palm trees to boot.

Most of the trees are about 100 years old and far outdate the building, informs Suneethi Raj, founder, Bungalow 12. “The house is about 50 years old, and my family bought it in 1984,” she says, “It has been just an open verandah for the last 20 years, but we hardly used it due to the Chennai heat, and because it was so difficult to maintain. My sister and all my cousins have had their wedding functions here. And during private parties, people would love to sit out here whenever the weather would permit.”

With the combined shade and scents of mango trees such as Banganapalli, rumani, totapuri and neelam, four coconut trees and frangipani of different shades, who can blame them? Suneethi first began to use the setting to her advantage with LocalXO, her startup that curates food, fashion and lifestyle events in collaboration with local businesses. “I would hold events like supper club dinners here,” she says, adding that a lot of the people kept coming back not only for the food, but also for “the vibe of the house.”

It was the recurring footfalls that first suggested to her the idea, that the space could hold its own as a venue as well. But the main conflict, she recalls, persisted: a soothing outdoor setting, but with humid weather too stifling to let a large group enjoy it. “That’s when we decided to make the verandah usable, but retain the exact look at the same time,” she says. So buzz went some ACs, and up came walls of clear glass, and “a 20 by 20 skylight so the mango tree is always visible above.” Now, Bungalow 12 comprises 1,500 square feet of clear space, surrounded by the view of ancient trees on three sides, and a leafy canopy above.

“We will be doing markets and dining events frequently, but the space can also be rented out for personal events like bridal showers, kitty parties and smaller parts of a wedding ceremony, like mehendi,” says Suneethi, adding, “Our seating capacity is between 60 and 100 people.” The small number is a deliberate decision, not only because of the dimensions of the space, but also because the entire point of Bungalow 12 is to have intimate gatherings, where everyone gets to know each other. After all, it is a business inspired by family memories. As Suneethi’s explains, “I was born and brought up here, and it’s the only home I have lived in, in Chennai.”

Bungalow 12 is located in Shastri Nagar, Adyar. For details and bookings, call 9840337822.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2021 12:27:56 AM |

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