All-day cafe The Country House offers delectable food and a great ambience
What we liked most about The Country House is the ambience it offers. Tucked away on Allenby Road, a quiet alley off Elgin Road in South Kolkata, the all-day cafe is housed inside a building – a mansion dating back to 1910 – that also makes room for a slice of Europe with bougainvillea plants adorning the white-washed facade of the eatery. As we climbed up a flight of wooden steps lined with Victorian-era wrought iron railings, we were impressed to find at the landing, a wall-to-wall fresco in vibrant colours painted by designer Ayushman Mitra of fashion house Bobo Calcutta.
The décor of the 1,500 sq ft, 35-seater diner in black and white is minimal with wide arches and floor to ceiling French windows. The beautiful wrought iron lamps in different shapes and sizes hanging from the ceiling add to the old world charm. As we settled into the white garden chairs at one of the round wooden tables, we were greeted with a smile and an in-house special cinnamon coffee, served by owner Vikas Choudhary. The coffee, made with Blue Tokai, cinnamon and fresh cream, has a creamy consistency, while the cinnamon infused in it lends the drink a sweet flavour, neutralising the bitter taste of the strong, freshly ground beans.
“I had been away from Kolkata for about a decade because of studies and work and when I returned I observed that hookah bars were the only hangout zones for the youth in Kolkata. I wanted to give the city a feel of the cool and sophisticated café culture prevalent in Mumbai,” tells the 31-year-old engineer, whose had always dreamt of opening a café in Kolkata.
The menu offers an array of continental dishes, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian, and the egg dishes from their dedicated all-day breakfast menu are very popular with the customers, informs Vikas. The fish and chips from the seasonal menu was the first dish to arrive at our table and we relished the authentic taste of the accompanying tartar sauce. The basa fish was fresh and the coat of fluffy egg batter was not oily at all. The French fries were crisp and less salty.
You can also opt for Peri Perirubbed grilled chicken or barbeque chicken wings, which are zesty and succulent -- a good option for an evening out. The main course has plenty of options that you can choose from including the Exotic Veg Grilled Sandwiches and the Hotdog sandwiches.
The café, which will turn three years old this March 18, plans to celebrate with a month-long prawn festival. “We have only chicken and basa fish in our non-veg section and we thought of introducing a few interesting prawn dishes for the seafood lovers. The festival will have such dishes as Beer Battered Prawn and Tiger Prawns with sautéed vegetables among others,” informs Vikas.
The young entrepreneur is also almost ready with his online retail portal, from where one can buy the purest of honeys and handpicked teas and coffees. “Initially there will be five varieties including wildflower, organic, acacia and multi-flower honey. Gradually we will also include items like jams, compotes and sauces.
Beisdes the good food and great ambience, the café also organises open mic sessions every Friday 7 pm onwards, where solo and band performances and poetry reading sessions are held.
Price for two: Rs 800 (AI)