Preface: The year 2020 had been hard for us all; the hospitality sector being one of the worst affected. The billion-dollar industry that accounts for 10 percent of the world’s GDP is slowly adjusting itself to the new normal. Kolkata too saw a rise of many new eateries in 2021 and I take the opportunity to introduce you to SIX new kids on the block that are currently nascent and yet, show a promising success in the coming months. Let’s explore!
1) Chefy’s Barbecue
What does it serve: Barbecue grills, kebabs, momos, and biryani
Timings: 6pm – 9.30pm. Closed on Mondays
Location: AK 285, Salt Lake, Sector-2, near 8no. island
Launched : February 25, 2021
It started when Srijata – my classmate from school – asked me to visit her friend’s culinary venture that opened on February 25, 2021, and give my valuable feedback to her. I thought to myself, “Why not go there unannounced and do a mystery eating like I always did when I started out blogging?”. Roped in a couple of fellow food bloggers and micro bloggers in this plan and we reached Chefy’s Barbecue
Chefy’s Barbeque is the brainchild of Beeyas Bhattacharjee – who left her corporate job in Taiwan and came back to India to pursue her love for food. She undertook a course in the culinary arts , but before she could look at the road ahead, the pandemic struck. A year later , and after much deliberation, she decided to kickstart her culinary journey and that’s how Chefy’s Barbeque was born. Currently, she’s working out of a small driveway of AK 285, Salt Lake, Kolkata where she sells a minimum menu of Kebabs, Grills, and Momos between 6pm till 9:30 pm only. (Monday’s Closed). The grills are juicy, succulent, and perfectly seasoned because they have been marinated for a minimum of 12 hours. I would highly recommend their signature Murgh Tikka, Murgh Malai Tikka
Beeyas is planning to change her menu every week and even incorporate vegetarian items, biryanis, and summer grills as well in the coming months. For now, she’s a happy child following her passion and yes she even caters to corporates on a pre-order. If you love your kebabs and are in Kolkata, don’t forget to visit this hidden gem soon! And yes PAY for your food because they are reasonably priced (not going above INR 200) and one should support small businesses without a free collaboration.
2) Craft Coffee
What does it serve: Coffee on the go, cold brews, coffee mocktails, fusion coffees
Timings: 11:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Location: 17, Park Street. Entry via Trincas or behind Apeejay House
Launched : March 4, 2021
What used to be the bakery section of the legendary Trincas has now been converted to a swanky Coffee Bar called Craft Coffee, but mind you, it is not just another café – rather more dynamic in nature. Emphasis is given to a coffee on-the-go concept and yet Craft Coffee wants to educate you on choosing the right coffee for your taste buds and making artisanal coffee more fun to explore. The best part, it has collaborated with the noted Roastery Coffee House (popular in Hyderabad and Kolkata) for sourcing their coffee beans and recipes for its patrons. In a way, you can say it is a Roastery Express of sorts. Coming to the coffee, absolutely no complaints, rather floored. I took my contemporary food bloggers ( Jude Martin, Tashmin Majumdar, Ritika Jaiswal, and Aerica Sardar) along with me and we tried 5 very different blends. Since it’s “Coffee on the go”, these were served in Paper cups. The blends were as follows:
a) The Pour Over
b) Pomegranate Cold Brew
c) Tender Coconut Cold Brew
d) Chocolate Cake Blend
e) Ice-Cream Blend
All of these come highly recommended in terms of taste and presentation, especially the tender coconut cold brew that had the perfect blend of cold-brewed Arabica beans with coconut water that instantly connected created a refreshing wave on my palate. If you’re a sucker for desserts then their ice-cream and cake blends are a must-have.
3) Motherland studios & cafe
What does it serve: Healthy Global cuisine with a twist. Some dishes have egg or chicken but majority of the menu is vegan or vegetarian and gluten free. They also have great coffee, desserts and detox drinks too
Timings: 9.30 am – 8:30 pm. Open for breakfast on the weekends at 9 am
Location: A/3 Kyd Street, Ishaque Road, Chowringhee Mansion
This is one place that’s a gem, rightfully hidden amidst the hustle bustle of the city and that’s a great thing for those seeking solace from the madness of everyday life. Located right inside the compounds of Chowringhee Mansions, Motherland Studios started out as a co-working space and it still has a functional stress free work environment we all dream of. It was only in March 2021 that the team decided to open up a café within the premises , comprising of food completely off beat from quintessential delights one is used to seeing on European turfs.
The menu is 90% vegetarian and vegan with an exception of Chicken and Egg items restricted to only 2-3 dishes when I Iast visited, but it’s subject to change and I believe there are some amazing non vegetarian items added, including Pork. I’m a hardcore non vegetarian but to be honest, I actually didn’t mind relishing the vegan options at all. I fell in love with their signature Buckwheat Crepe, Parsi Akuri with croutons and their homemade blueberry ice-cream with lemon cake.
While it’s difficult to not step out and I’m not encouraging anyone else to do so myself, please do give them a try by ordering on delivery platforms suited to your location. They even do exceptional sour dough breads which is par excellence and a must have!
4) Hugo & finn
What does it serve: Coffee on the go,
Location: 5B Little Russel Street
Launched on: February 23, 2021
The establishment when newly opened back to the public in March (unofficially opened in Feb) and was gaining a momentum of good reviews. The curious culinary enthusiasts that we were, exploring the same for ourselves had become inevitable.
For once waking up on a Sunday morning paid off, since we had Hugo&Finn in its entirety for our lenses and tastebuds alike to soak in the atmosphere. The menu-effortless and contactless-was decent, though I believe a bit too pricey for my liking. However, I absolutely loved the Eggs Benedict on a bed of caramelized onion jam and hollandaise sauce alongside a glass of Affogato.
Special mention has to be given to their Smoked Salmon Bagel and Ham and Cheese Croissant. Also, their Fruit Muffin and Cold Brew coffee comes highly recommended.
Just for everyone’s information, Hugo & Finn are names of Two most adorable Doggos of the owner whose picture you end up seeing right as you enter the cafe. Thus, it’s no rocket science to understand that the space is pet friendly and you can bring in your fur/feather babies with you, anytime.
5) ASIA! ASIA! ASIA
What does it serve: Asian Street Food
Timings: 6pm – 9.30pm. Closed on Mondays
Location:DN-37, 1st Floor, Sector V, Salt Lake (Above Rang De Basanti Dhaba)
Launched on: March 24, 2021
I was lucky enough to make my visit to Asia! Asia! Asia! (yes the name couldn’t have been more specific to define the type of cuisine available ) just a day after it launched and quite honestly, was completely in awe of what I experienced. If you miss the streets of Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia et al, Asia! Asia! Asia! has it all under one roof and should be bookmarked not just for their rustic street style ambiance but for their equally delectable food. While the décor bears nuances of painted graphitis, neon lights, collapsible gates , and community tables, the menu covers street style cuisines from 8 countries, namely – Thailand, Japan, Indonesia, China, Vietnam, Singapore, South Korea and Malaysia
The menu is digital and is divided into weekdays and weekends – subject to change every 15 days. The centrepiece of the restaurant is the Robatayaki, a traditional Japanese hot charcoal grill, that gives patrons an opportunity to experience the popular tradition of Asian street-grilled food. .Patrons will also get a taste of street style grills LIVE on their tables along with some good ol Ramune Soda (traditional Japanese drink comes in Ginger Coconut and Lemongrass flavours) on the house if you avail their buffet options.
The concept behind starting Asia! Asia! Asia! as I was told, is to bring ‘Asianess’ under one roof. What do I mean by that? the best food is found not in fancy restaurants, but in the carts and stalls lining busy streets and quiet alleys; in other words, street food is a sort of microcosm of life – you get to understand a place’s culture, history and people just through their street food!
If you found this information useful, don’t forget to share it with your friends and food lovers alike.
Till then keep your eyes and your taste buds intact with A Pinch of Salt.