TAMIL NADU

It is brothers' cup of tea

OLD-WORLD AMBIENCE: For over 40 years, the brothers have been serving tea for hundreds of customers who visit their shop every day. — Photo: T_Singaravelou

OLD-WORLD AMBIENCE: For over 40 years, the brothers have been serving tea for hundreds of customers who visit their shop every day. — Photo: T_Singaravelou  

The ‘Annan-Thambi Kadai' has become a landmark

For most people who visit Café Lune at Rue Suffren Street here, the flavour of the lemon tea that Mohamed Anwardeen prepares has no equal. For the past 40 years, he and his brother, Mohammed Ansari, have been serving refreshments to hundreds of customers every day and have cultivated a fan base throughout Puducherry.

The shop, meaning a café on the moon, and started in 1965 by their father C.A. Gaffur, has become a landmark for the citizens of Puducherry, finding a place in every tourist guide book about this coastal town. Mr. Gaffur was given a place for the shop by the Cluny Hospital for serving the patients “simple food.” Later, the café was moved to the current location but has continued serving the hospital.

The shop has been given various names by the customers including ‘Idiyapam Kadai' and Annan-Thambi Kadai (Brothers' shop). “We were the only shop which served idiyapam during those days. People were also surprised by the way we have stayed together all these years, thus calling our shop Annan-Thambi shop,” explained Ansari.

300 customers

More than 300 customers visit the shop every day. Some of them have been coming here for the cuppa since its inception.

“The tea that bhai prepares is very unique. I am so used to it that I drink tea only here,” said Raheem, who has been visiting the café for the past twenty-five years.

The café also has a steady flow of foreigners during the tourist season. Most of them are fascinated by the way Anwardeen prepares the beverages and also the old-world ambience that one experiences on entering the shop. Most foreigners keep in touch with the brothers through mail and make it a point to send pictures that they take when they visited the shop.

Ansari said that the shop has the unique distinction of being the only vegetarian restaurant run by Muslims in the town.

The shop also serves a special herbal tea which has become a big hit among the customers.

Though their business has taken a beating after opening of new coffee shops in the neighbourhood, the brothers are hoping the shop's legacy will continue to attract more customers in the future.

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