Sip coffee & feel the warmth of Dpei

By Jeremy Majaw

Cafés around Shillong have become a recent staple in the city’s ever-growing hangout culture. Dpei Café in Mylliem is one of these staples.
Started a month ago, the café has already garnered a good amount of following.
The café is located along the Shillong-Cherrapunji road and is visible to passers-by. It has a large storefront window that provides a good amount of natural lighting. This is paired with an array of filament bulbs hanging from the ceiling.
Dpei has two rooms — the first is the main dining area with the left side from the entrance having sofas with throw pillows and the right having bar stools and smaller tables. Bamboo woven baskets hang above the sofas and traditional Khasi jewellery and locks hang on hooks on a wall.
The other room feels more like a Khasi household with an abundance of bamboo furniture and stone kettles on a shelf. Near the door, a bench with a long wooden table (as found in local jadoh stalls surrounding the area) is set up and next to that is a wall of photographs representing Khasi culture in all its glory strung up by twine. The air is also filled with pleasant and calm music.


The café can be described as modern yet rustic with minimal colour giving the place a classic feel. But this is offset by the presence of flies around the café. Though a zapper is there inside the café, the constant zapping of the appliance cuts the calm vibe now and then.
According to owner Gwenda Ilaker Lyndem, the ingredients are fresh and food is prepared only after the order is placed. It usually takes around 20 minutes for the food to get to your table but this is fine as the food is freshly made.
Their menu is relatively small but manageable for a small café such as this. The pasta is good and savoury, their waffles are relatively soft but a bit on the dry side. Their fried rice lacks some flavour whereas their sides, such as the French fries, are easy to eat. Apart from the main dishes they also have fresh baked goods such as cakes. The cakes and brownies are smooth and tasteful but dry. Even the cupcakes are dry and must be paired with some drink.


The café has a commercial coffee machine. The owners use coffee grinds from Meghalaya Coffee and Smoky Falls Coffee which are both locally grown and sold there. The coffee is good and so is their tea (as good as tea bags go).
Lyndem’s cousin Rimika helps her run the show. They have a cook. Lyndem says all of them are self-taught.
The café’s present location, according to the owner, was not a first choice but she says she fell in love with the view, the scenery and the people which led to its establishment. She also states that it has been only a month since the café’s inception and it has been going good as a trial run.
A few customers, when asked about their experience say the Maggi is really good and so are the waffles. Even though they struggle with the flies, they like the place and the energy it gives off.
So the café is a balance of aesthetic, coffee and local nature and is suitable for those who struggle with the various jadoh stalls. But hopefully it will grow as a point of contact and rest and improve over time.

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