This cafe in Kolkata serves French food with a touch of Bengali panache
Cafe Je T’aime is a brightly lit 25-seater diner,and is run by a passionate Kolkata-based restaurateur Shakuntala Majumdar.
Being one of the city’s busiest neighbourhoods lately, Hindustan Park sees another café sprout on one corner of Lake Street Road. Cafe Je T’aime is a brightly lit 25-seater diner,and is run by a passionate Kolkata-based restaurateur Shakuntala Majumdar. The former media professional believes that whether it is literature, cinema or even football, Bengalis and the French have a lot in common.
"The concept of the café stems from its name, which in French simply means ‘I love you’, and is basically a tribute to relationships,” Shankuntala tells us, as we ask her about the French connection. Having owned a restaurant on Baga Beach in Goa in 2016, she is not new to the hospitality industry. Within the bright interiors, we can’t help but be distracted by the pink and yellow bursts of colour. The signature French windows with fairy lights adorning the walls emanate warmth as soon as we enter. Miniature hand-painted art adorns the walls, and a large colourful heart made from yarn strung together, makes the café ideal for a cosy dinner. The menu is primarily Continental cuisine with a touch of Bengali elements, as it also serves up some popular fare from across Italy and France.
Still soaking in the ambience, we start with a simple bacon wrap from the live kitchen. It comes loaded with perfectly fried strips of bacon and cheese with onion and capsicum and fries on the side. The Prawn Croquettes turn out to be a different take on the classic bacon-wrapped prawns, as it is served baked like a lasagna, with the delicious prawns dunked in loads of cheese. The café also serves Chicken Escalope, which is the French equivalent of the Bengali chicken cutlet.
No café in Kolkata would be complete without a fish dish, and Je T’aime offers Pan Seared bhetki (sea bass), which is battered and coated with mustard to give it that strong yet delicious flavour. There is also Au Gratin, a dish popular among the French in Canada — in vegetarian, chicken and pork options. A classic Hot Chocolate Brownie made in-house makes for a perfect sweet ending to our meal.
Meal for two is Rs 1,000 + taxes.