Dog owners have a secret sorrow. No matter how they try, they cannot love like a dog — and nobody encourages this guilt more relentlessly than dogs themselves. Famous for their devotion and loyalty, canines have a less-publicised side that involves staring, stalking and emotional blackmail. Now, they have a new plea for their “parents”— a café called Puppychino where canines and humans can socialise together. Everybody’s barking about it. It even has cupcakes for pets (and none for “hoomans”).
Puppychino, Delhi’s (India’s) first dog café, is located in Shahpur Jat, in a meandering lane where style seekers try to discover edgy designs in quaint boutiques. An offbeat restaurant for dog lovers fits snugly among the concept showrooms housed in tall buildings. Inside the cafe, the walls are cool and pale, the furniture is minimalistic and there’s synergy in design that caters to two sets of clientele — that come on four feet and two.
Massive dogs chase a yellow frisbee in a play pen, a prim Beagle pushes a coloured ball with its muzzle, a little girl wraps herself around a handsome Siberian Husky while her mother tosses a plastic bone at a Labrador. The enclosure, where around 10 dogs can romp at a time, is uncluttered but for two benches. An in-house trainer watches over the troops in the play zone and the air, thanks to the dispenser, is fresh. People and animals bond over games that involve a remarkable amount of running, rolling and being whacked by tails. Dogs are social animals, and the ones who visit Puppychino are at their best behaviour.
The door separating the play area from the dining room carries a board instructing, “Don’t let the dogs out, no matter what they tell you”. It’s easily ignored. The 25-seater dining space, on a weekday evening, has drawn groups of youngsters with or without pets. On a table overlaid with pizzas and tall drinks for humans is a toy Pomeranian called Louis digging into a Woofsome Cupcake (made with cornmeal, coconut milk and yoghurt but without sugar or spice). His owner is a student from College of Art, Delhi, who has turned up with her gang that plays guitars between conversations.
Two sisters in their twenties started Puppychino because they were guilty of leaving their own dogs behind when they went out. “Every time we left them, they would tear the mattresses and rip apart the furnishings. It was their way of showing their anger,” says Nayani Tandon, the proud mum of two dogs, who sports a paw tattoo on one hand and silhouettes of her dogs (which became the logo of Puppychino) on the other and ear studs resembling bones and paws. Her sister, Mallika Tandon, is a communication design student, who has worked on the décor and the menu.
Their commitment to dogs extends to the functioning of the café, including the menu for dogs and “Hoomans”. The former is based on innovations of human food and include Strawberry Risotto with Mint Curd, Snoopy Spaghetti, which uses whole wheat spaghetti, fresh vegetable and parmesan cheese, and Toothsome Pancakes, in which gluten-free wheat is mixed with cornmeal, coconut water and peanut butter. The Hooman bulk of the menu comprises shakes, sandwiches, pasta, pizza and burgers that the girls created with a stress on comfort food. The owners serve at the table and clean up later, not because wait staff is unaffordable, but because their dogs and dog lovers by nature like personal rather than professional interactions. Let’s wag to that.
Address: 3rd Floor, 119, Shishan Bhawan, Shahpur Jat; 12-10 pm.
Call 33105862 for reservations.