New in Elk Grove is a terrific spot called Cafe Yum. Once you taste the scrumptious offerings of this quaint American and Indian fusion cafe where authentic flavors from India are fused with American cuisine, you’ll be coming back for more. Honestly! You’ll have no other choice once these delicious dishes hit your taste buds!
Cafe Yum sits among other trendy shops and restaurants like Moo Moo Cafe and Maru Ramen Bar. Like its neighbors, Cafe Yum’s look is sleek and clean. It’s casual set up is accommodating to diners and students or anyone looking for a spot to work.
With a student corner set up towards the back, students and anyone who wants to borrow some wifi and a space to work can sit themselves down, enjoy some tea on the house, order a tasty smoothie, and get to working.
Two TVs are located on opposite walls of the cafe, either streaming Indian music or entertainment. It’s a chance for customers to see and hear creative offerings from India.
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to sit down for a meal with fellow editor of the Elk Grove Tribune, Sunny, and his wife, Mimi, and one of our writers, Michelle. Sunny, Mimi, and Michelle are true foodies, while I classify my taste buds as adventurous. Together, the four of us were able to review these homemade dishes, and we reached one consensus: YUM. That must be why Cafe Yum is called Cafe Yum.
Off of the Stone Baked Naan Pizza options was this Tandoori Chicken Pizza made with house marinara, herbs and spices, fresh ginger and garlic, tandoori chicken, and cheese. The complimentary flavors with a kick on a crispy base was what made this pizza. I definitely went in for another another piece!
Samosa Chole is a popular street appetizer in India. It is made with fresh boiled Garbanso Beans, seasoned with savory herbs and spices, fresh red and green onions, cilantro, greek yogurt raita, and handmade fresh mint and tamarind chutney on a stuffed red potato pastry filled with green peas and spices. The homemade chutney, fresh vegetables, and red potato was a melding of flavors that had me reaching for more! Every bite was deconstructing the amazing ingredients and flavor!
This is the ever deletable Butter Chicken! The pizza and samosa chole were the perfect lead up to this tasty protein plate. Butter chicken wasn’t new to any of us, but once we tasted Cafe Yum’s steamed basmati rice and stone oven baked naan covered in rich creamy sauce and chicken, we knew the magic was in the homemade sauce! We couldn’t stop loading our plates and mouths! It was rich, creamy, and balanced in flavor and my favorite dish of the night, and quite possibly, my favorite dish of the year so far!
Up first for desert was Gulab Jaman, a milk-solid-based sweet. This treat was incredibly rich in sweetness. The doughy balls are typically made of milk solids, flour, and a leavening agent and served in a sugar syrup. The dough balls maintained their solid texture, even drenched in the syrup. If you have a sweet tooth, this dessert was made just for you!
Ras Malai consists of flattened balls of chhana (cheese curds) soaked in malai (clotted cream) flavored with cardamom. This dessert wasn’t as sweet as the Gulab Jaman, so it was perfect for me. Mimi and I especially enjoyed this treat. I am a fan of expanding my list of desserts, and I’m glad to add Ras Malai to it!
The surprising finish to our meal was this delicious Tumeric Spice Smoothie. The name had me raising an eyebrow, but ever curious about the smoothies offered at Cafe Yum, I wanted a taste of this! This was absolutely the best finish to an amazing meal! Consisting of oat milk, turmeric spice, bananas, mangoes, lemons, and greek yogurt, it was a balanced blend of richness and sweetness that wasn’t overpowering in any aspect.
About the Owner
Owner Rajvinder Kaur is one of the kindest souls I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. She was eager and proud to talk about her history, her food, and the process she uses to ensure high quality in every dish she puts out.
After spending the majority of her lifetime as a devoted wife and mother, her kids, now grown and successful themselves, encouraged her to share the food they enjoyed growing up with the rest of the world. Kaur set out to build Cafe Yum with her own hands, and in January 2020, finally opened shop.
When cooking is your passion, it is a labor of love. “I put my 100%.” She shared with us that her mother taught her that cooking, no matter who she is cooking for, should be like she is cooking for family. All of us can attest that the wisdom of Kaur’s mother was not lost on her. Even with the contemporary, polished look of Cafe Yum, it was like we were sitting at Kaur’s dining table in her home.
Vegetarian Options and Health
As a vegetarian herself, developing vegetarian dishes for her menu was important to Kaur. All of the produce in her kitchen is organic, non GMO, with no preservatives. Everything is cut fresh and plated fresh. She even has a separate kitchen to prepare vegetables and vegetarian dishes. She takes no shortcuts for quality.
People tend to think that flavor takes a hit in vegetarian dishes, but the items on Kaur’s menu proves otherwise. Her knowledge of ingredients and her continued refinement of her recipes throughout the years preserve the goodness of every vegetable while packing them full of special flavor.
Cafe Yum has vegan and gluten options as well.
Since the Elk Grove Tribune’s visit to Cafe Yum, I have already been back to enjoy the Butter Chicken again! It is really that good, no exaggeration.
I also sat down in the student area for a couple of hours to write and edit a video, enjoying both a Coffee Smoothie and Matcha Green Tea Latte Smoothie as I worked, which was so milky good! Matcha green tea isn’t often my first choice, because it usually comes bland and underwhelming in taste, but just like everything else at Cafe Yum, the matcha green tea stands apart from other mediocre versions of it I’ve tried.
I, and the rest of the Elk Grove Tribune team, highly recommend Cafe Yum. Like me, you’ll be planning your next visit as soon as you take your last bite. That’s how good food does it!
Mention code “JAX” for 10% off Butter Chicken or Chicken Tikka Masala until Feb 28!
Location and Hours
8698 Elkgrove Blvd
Elk Grove, CA 95624
Mon – Sun
11:00 AM – 9:00 PM