In Rua Comendador Campos Melo in Covilhã there is this small place called Ananda Cafè. What is it? It is difficult to explain. First at all it is a cafè and restaurant where you can eat excellent vegetarian and vegan dishes like these in the pictures.
But it is not only a cafè, it is a space “where the people can open up, talk, find alternative soul and create connection between them” say Shiila.
Shiila and his son Jishnu opened the cafè on October 2012, it is the first vegetarian restaurant in Covilhã and as they told, the first year it has been a real struggle, because in a small town is always hard to introduce something new, especially a vegetarian restaurant! It is a project that Shiila and Jishnu want to do, to be engage in and they worked and still work hard and hard, to promote vegetarianism and health well-being.
There many things it has to be said about this place and the people there. A little bit about the story: many years ago Shiila lived in France in a big house surrounded by many artists who they visit her, enjoying her food and talks and in that moment come up the idea to make cultural nights. In fact, since the beginning at the Cafè are organized such a wonderful dinner with people from everywhere and sometimes with good foreign music. Because at Ananda Cafè they believed that culture is a really important issue and with this culture nights the foreigner people can get integrate themselves in the town but also they can share their own culture!
Also the Cafè is a spot where the people can get inspired by the all big project in which Ananda Cafè is included, that is the Master Unit (Ananda Kalyani) project that comprehend a land in Paul and also organizations like Amurt, Rawa and Prip.
It is a pleasure to see Shiila cook, “the most important ingrediend” she uses to say “it is love” and she speaks seriously, in a small kitchen she moves elegant between the pots and oven without to do any noise while she cooks amazing dishes!
In the last year the restaurant got an help from two italians, Federico (also called Prahlad) who is with Shiila more than one year and the newcomer Laura who is trying to convert all the clients in Italian speaker. It is funny to see how the people converse with Laura, who doesn’t have any Portuguese (until now!)
So there are a great team for extraordinarily customers!
There are some customers who come to eat at Ananda who know Shiila since the beginning more or less and they spend their lunch time at the restaurant and the are aware about all the project. They didn’t choose this place just because the food but also because they do or they want to do yoga, meditation and to have an healthy life. The words come up about Ananda Cafè are various and different: charming, familiar environment, innovative food and people with different and alternative attitude. Speaking with clients show how they appreciate food and environment, we can see all people feel comfortable, sit at a table in four or just eat alone and have a chat with Shiila.
There is a woman in a green dress who express: “I love this food because when I come here is always different, innovative”. And there is this man who says that it is good to have a lunch at Ananda because you feel more light but you eat really well. Other customer are more reserved, they sit alone at the table and don’t express any words but we can meet them every day at the Cafè, possibly at the same table!
A good way to know better Shiila, Jishnu, Laura and Federico and to learn how to cook that extraordinary food could be to spend some time with them, to work with them and to enjoy the atmosphere of the Cafè. There is the possibility to do volunteering service at Ananda Cafè, to get involved in this alternative path and to make a change in your life. If you want to know more just contact Ananda Cafè’s staff, or go there personally and have a chat, they are always happy to talk with everybody!
There are many other things to say about this place but we have to conclude, and my suggestion is: go to see by yourself and experience your feelings, taste the food, chat with them and smile!
Music suggestion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luM6oeCM7Yw