I had the faintest idea of this establishment when we arrived. In fact, I was not even aware it was in our itinerary since the entire trip was planned by my travel mate and I did not research on the trip before getting on to the plane. I was vaguely told that we will visit a cafe which is operated as a social enterprise while we were in the car on the way to the location.
We arrived at this extremely colourful and somewhat young and kiddish cafe in terms of decorations and only when you take time to learn the story behind this place then you would understand why the place decorated in this style.
Right at the entrance of the cafe, you can find this huge wall where many people pen their thoughts and encouraging words. To give some context to Sheroes’ Hangout, India till date still has hundreds of woman falling victim to acid attacks yearly. These victims range from teenagers to middle ages and most of the time, their life is destroyed and compromised from these very painful and life-threatening attacks. These attacks are mostly carried out by people closest to them.
The documentary played in the cafe shows many true cases of such survivors. Such attacks were meant to take away the right to live normally because of petty reasons like the refusal of marriage, the denial of sex, and the sexual rejection towards men and boys. Such attacks are a way of showing control over the female face and body by the men in a still patriarchy society. The cafe was started as a social enterprise to help these survivors to continue living their lives in ways that are meaningful to them and also reintegrate into society through work and events at the cafe.
There was only a couple of tables and chairs placed in the middle of the cafe for dining with many different areas where you can find books and crafting areas where many social events and activities are being held for survivors as well as the general public to drive awareness to the social problem of acid attacks to women.
There is also an area where handmade crafts are displayed for sale where items are made by the ladies who have an interest in making crafts with their hands.
The menu is simple since this is a basic cafe and food is just one of the purpose of Sheroes Hangout. You can tell that there is no price on the menu as everything within the cafe is based on donation.
We had a few simple dishes since we were there to just fill our stomach. We had the paneer butter masala which has cheese cooked with tomato gravy and butter. There was a nice nutty flavour to the gravy which was great with rice
The aloo gobhi is a common dish in most Indian food stalls which is potato and cauliflower fried with Indian spices. The potatoes were cooked till soft with a nice flavour from the spices.
This is the dal makhani which resembles the first dish is a combination of black lentil and kidney beans cooked with butter and cream gravy. The beans and lentil were mashed up nicely and complemented the cream gravy nicely.
We had 2 naan roti each which were perfectly baked and cooked
As we had lots of gravy left, we ordered another serving of rice so we do not waste the food served to us. The food is generally nice and while not fanciful, reminds you of a warm homecooked meal. The menu is entirely vegetarian so do not expect to find any meat here.
At the end of your meal, you can browse around the cafe to purchase any crafts or proceed to the counter to make your donation for the meal. For recording and audit purposes, they make a record of your order as well as your donation and gives you a receipt. There will be no judging on how much you decide to donate but do be mindful that these donations do help these survivors rebuild their lives since most of them have difficulties to find jobs and the social enterprise needs these donations to keep the establishment running. So I just hope people don’t come here to take advantage of them and get a super cheap meal. Personally, this was a fantastic meal as it not only warms my stomach but my heart with these amazing survivor stories and how they fight back on such injustice. They really deserve our support.
Address: behind Go Stops Hostel, Taj Nagari Phase 1, R.K. Puram Phase-2, Agra, Uttar Pradesh 282001, India
Operating hours: 10 am to 10 pm