India is primarily a tea-drinking nation, but recently the cafe culture has become part of our lifestyle. The coffee culture is not new in Kolkata, where it has its oldest coffee house on College Street, founded in 1876. Global coffee chains transformed the concept of coffee houses in the country with air-conditioned spaces and a cosy ambience. A wide selection of coffees and teas is available, served with light snacks and simple dishes, perhaps with an extensive range of pastries and cakes.
In Kolkata, there are so many cafes cropped up lately, maybe a global or a local chain. Cup e Bong is a story of a boutique cafe that might not have a plushy interior, but the ambience reflects the comfort of our living room—just a perfect place for adda.
The cafe is managed by Amit Halder, who himself is an abundance of positivity and cheerfulness, and carries on his shoulder the burden of struggle he faced to reach this feat. Till today the only single-handedly managed cafe in Kolkata. A journey from a corporate professional to a restaurateur.
The cafe has a selection of the best Arabica coffee beans and the finest tea leaves to feature in its menu, along with an ever-evolving food menu.
What do I like to order?
Fish and Chips
Fish & Chips is the dish I first order when I step into a cafe. The good old British recipe is prevalent in this part of the world. A perfect cafe dish goes so well with my double-shot espresso.
The fresh bhetki (barramundi) fillets were wrapped in a light crispy beer batter fried to perfection. The outside was crispy and had a golden brown colour. The inside was popping hot, soft, and super tender. But I prefer thick white fillets to get a bite full. The perfectly crispy fried masala cladding potato wedges make a perfect combination with the tartar sauce.
If there is one dish for which I will keep on visiting the cafe, that will be the Pork Meatloaf.
Pork Meatloaf is simple but full of flavour. The ground pork, spices, and veggies are then baked in the oven. A very traditional Austrian dish is probably the best available in the city. To make it a little saucier, I prefer to have it topped with tomato ketchup or barbecue sauce. Must relish this with the aromatic cold brew.
Made from select cuts of pork and a unique blend of seasoning and fat makes a perfect Pork Sausage for the sinful pleasure. Again an ideal espresso washes it down with its alluring aroma.
The filling of the sausage makes the difference. A perfect balance to strike with ground pork, spice mix, onion, green chillies, chopped parsley, and diced fat. The sausages release their juices, seep liquid fat and some very heavenly aromas! The sausages are not chewy due to the usage of goat intestine casing instead of a pig.
The Chili Pork prepared in this cafe is unique on its own. Amit makes this with a lot of love.
A perfect cube of juicy pork belly retains a 70:30 meat and fat ratio. Semi cooked meat is stir-fried with garlic, soy sauce, onion, and capsicum. The chilli pork can be a standalone dish or enjoy this with steamy rice as a rice bowl combo. Do not forget to get your cold brew to soothe your taste buds after having this fiery preparation.
For some best Pork Belly in town, I look no further. Pork Belly is stuffed with bacon, salami, herb rice, and cheese and rolled up into a barrel. Meat tied with butcher string, the pork is slow-cooked for 3 to 4 hours. Another attraction of the preparation is the delicious crackling on top.
I would love to pair it with Pinot Noir, but a cold brew would serve the purpose in this case.
The cafe recently added versatility to the menu by introducing kebabs and chaanp in the menu.
The Kakori Kebabs are made with minced mutton, marinated with raw papaya with a range of Indian seasoning. The minced meat roll is wrapped around bamboo skewers and grilled in an oven: the outcome is extra-tender, succulent, and melt-in-the-mouth kebab.
I would love some pita bread with it. Sometimes I wonder, was Amit one of the royal rakabdars in his previous life?
Why do I keep coming back?
Amit’s passion lies in cooking every individual dish with care and utmost attention that goes into recipes, sourcing ingredients, live-cooking, and so on. The taste is not like a commercial kitchen but reflects the simplicity of homemade food. Here is the only place where I prefer to have my coffee because of the freshly roasted coffee beans picked from Chikmagalur and keeping the price affordable. Always inspects, accepts feedback, learns, and adapts. A true craftsman inside the kitchen and every preparation has stories behind building his small businesses.
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