A slice of Belgium in Bangalore!

It’s a place my friend and I used to visit often whenever we wanted to catch up. And I’ve taken a few other people there too. Last month, on such a visit, we noticed the ‘closing down’ sign and were quite upset.

After all, where can you sit in relative peace and quiet in Koramangala and catch up with friends over a cup of coffee? And where else do you get really delicious Belgian waffles and crêpes? The answer, dear folks, is this rather well hidden café on 80 feet Road called De Lekkerbek. Somehow due to the lack of publicity and it’s slightly tucked-away location, it’s been a well kept secret. Is it any wonder that we were upset when we heard it was closing down?

A few days ago, however, I got a forward from a friend about De Lekkerbek and how it was being renamed and revived as the Belgian Café – De Lekkerbek. Attached was the story about how De Lekkerbek was going to close down, until a couple of enterprising people got together and decided they would try and save it.

Belgian Café

The enterprising two – Ranjeet Ranade and his friend Riad Mahmood – also frequent visitors to the café decided to take on the challenge. Ranjeet recounts tracking down the owner: “She said that she had put in a lot of effort and heart into it and hence she too was very sad. She was looking to sell the assets but was also open to the idea of shoring up the place… After an interesting discussion, Jaya had a proposal for Riad and me. She would let us control and run the place for the next 3 months. We would bear the running cost and take the revenues while she would put nothing and get nothing.”


Well, they did manage to work out a deal and are now in the process of giving it a fresh lease of life! Ranjeet and Riad now have the unenviable task of getting the Belgian Café back on its feet. I had put a few questions to Ranjeet about what’s in store about the place and these are his responses below:

Their background: Ranjeet runs his own company called ETC Partners that focuses on providing training in project management and soft skills to the corporate clients. He is also a visiting faculty at Indian Statistical Institute in Bangalore where he teaches computer science topics. Riad runs a successful school called Headstart in Koramangala. The school is based on the Montessori method. They are currently splitting their time in looking after the cafe. Ranjeet is usually there in the early morning until 10.30 or so. Riad normally drops in at 9 and they discuss any operational issues. He then spends some time during lunch at the cafe. Both of them normally stop by in the evening also just to check if everything is OK.


Day to day running of the café: The day begins with the previous day’s accounts, cleaning the place, doing a quick check of the supplies. We, along with the cook, make any last minute changes to the “day’s special” menu based on what is selling the most. The cook freshly prepares and serves breakfast and lunch items. As the day progresses the person who makes coffee and drinks comes in. By 4 pm or so, the cook finishes the dinner preparations for entrees and leaves. The second guy then takes over and uses minimal cooking to serve entrees. He however is quite comfortable making items such as waffles, pancakes etc. No we didn’t take much advice although we constantly get advised! The major challenge is to filter out the advice that is critical and implement it while “nice to have” can be put in the queue.

Any makeovers? Yes we have – Decor, Facade, Menu, and Table arrangements. These are the four main areas where we have made changes.


Their challenges: Three of the major problems are: a) We have a full café on Sunday morning and only a couple of us to handle the load b) Large periods of black-out over the weekend and we need to plan the generator load c) Inefficiencies and irritants of the serving staff.

What about publicity: We have publicized the café in the nearby complexes such as Raheja Residency and Oakwood. We have advertised in Headstart as well as Natasha Golf View. The promotional emails are doing rounds – thanks to our friends! We had The Hindu visiting us a few days back. We are planning these – contacting other prominent newspapers, putting some more posters, visiting IT companies in Koramangala to make them aware of the cafe etc.

Special treats! Authentic waffles and pancakes. Specialty desserts like lemon poppy-seed cake, guilt free chocolate chiffon cake etc.

Banana Crepe

Their USP: A neighborhood café where one can hang out, watch the traffic, relax over a cup of coffee, open one’s laptop or read comics stacked in the cafe, taste some authentic stuff without worrying about the price.

Seating: We seat 22 comfortably and we can squeeze in another 4 or so.


I recently visited the place along with a few friends after the renovation and noticed a marked change in the interiors, which is brighter and cheerier now. The waffles continue to be delicious and it also boasts of a new menu. The fare is quite limited, but among what I’ve tried, I liked the waffles, the minestrone soup and the sandwiches. Also, you might need to be a little patient about the service till they get firmly on their feet.

What can you do? Well, visit the place, at least once! Try out the food and if you like the place, please do pass the word around :) It’s definitely a place that you’d go back twice, there’s no doubt about it! And Ranjeet and Riad will definitely need all your encouragement and patronage to keep Belgian Café going strong.

Belgian Café

The Belgian Café blog

2 Comments so far

  1. rubic_cube (unregistered) on July 25th, 2006 @ 11:38 pm

    Fabulous. I will visit this cafe with my family this coming weekend for a treat of Belgian Waffles!

  2. passing_thru (unregistered) on July 31st, 2006 @ 11:52 am

    Visited the cafe this weekend.. My takes on the food is to give the English Breakfast and garden omlet + toast combo a pass.. – not much to rave about these combo’s.

    However, dont forget to try the Waffles with Maple syrup – which are really good.

    I’d say that on the whole it was a satisfactory experience – the food is a little too pricy if you ask me. However, I look fwd to trying the rest of the food items.

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