This time I am planning to venture into mother of all the coffee shops in Kolkata- The Calcutta Coffee House, college street. Seldom comes a food-joint which can rise above the stature of a food-place and becomes epitome of cultural history. This is one such place. Calcutta Coffee House is known as the hub of intellectuals in Calcutta, but sadly, hardly anyone has looked into its gastronomic offering other than coffee. This is an attempt for the same. Much has been said about this place by a lot of wonderful writers, this write-up is purely on the food aspect of this place. So, let it be…..
How to go and where to go:-
This is opposite to Presidency college on college street. The albert hall was found in 1876 and Coffee Board had decided to start a coffee joint in 1942 there. Since then the intellectuals and college students have flocked to this place. The reason primarily being cheap coffee and most importantly, here if you occupy a table for 4 hours with one cup of coffee, nobody’s going to ask you to vacate- such is the legacy here. But the main challenge here is to get a free table (though they’ve got a huge huge sitting area). Still, try your luck and go for it.
Its a legacy here in Kolkata. And, the saying goes, if you haven’t been to this place in your college life, then you’ve not reached. Basically its on 1st and 2nd floor of the same building (I personally prefer the view from the 2nd floor but sitting on the first floor- your choice now !!!). Comfortable working sitting arrangement, good number of ceiling fans (yes, coffee shops can be non-AC too) and experienced, seasoned waiters- that’s Coffee House for you. Oops, did I forget to mention- they allow smoking inside- even today…
Here, the biggest catch is to catch a waiter and order. They’ll try to push you with chowmin and all the nonsense, but I would suggest not to go by it- go for their house specialties. We went on ordering.
We ordered numerous cups of cold coffee with cream.It was actually old fashioned which I personally liked. No heavy dosage of cream and ice-cream etc and pure, chilled coffee served in a water tumbler with a straw (thankfully).
Next was chicken kobreji cutlet and Mutton Afgani cutlet. This first item strangely, has nothing to do with the particular style of medical practice. Its that the while the chicken cutlet is getting deep fried, whisked egg is put on it (in the same deep frying state) and the egg is transformed in a crispy yet fluffy coating over the cutlet. Hence chicken coverage > chicken kobreji. Mutton afgani cutlet is simply mutton cutlet covered with a hot, thick tomato based brown gravy with some vegetables. Both are pretty heavy and tasty.
With all the dishes here, we ordered buttered toast as a standard side-dish, which kept on coming. Next was fish afgani cutlet (again with buttered toast). I personally preferred to wipe the last of the gravy on the dish with the toast piece and not to waste anything- you may try the same. The fish given was Vetki (and thanks, not basa) and was quite full-bodied.
My friend, on the other hand, didn’t like this messy, gravy thing and went for the coffee house famed chicken cutlet with buttered toast. Sadly, it was not quite up to the mark. The omlette was heavily oily and the chicken stuffed inside was tasteless and chewy. Didn’t like it.
Cursing, he ordered some chicken sandwich and again cold coffee to gulp it down. The sandwich was a revelation here. Its the old classical chicken sandwich with butter and seasoned boiled chicken inside. We were recently fed up with an overdose of all the mayo, cheese and what not in the standard sandwich joints. This version is an welcome and needed change from the same. We were full, but next time, I am going to order this only.
We were full and definitely happy. The pocket pinch was not really much and adda was priceless. Shall we come again ? Definitely yes…..
Bon apetite !!!
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