Check out Abar Baithak in Hyderabad, ready to make a mark with letter-themed interiors and a hearty snack menu
A few years after creating one of Kolkata’s popular themed cafés, based on Satyajit Ray’s iconic sleuth Feluda, Abar Baithak recently opened its first branch in Hyderabad. Founded by former television actress Swaralipi Chatterjee, this outlet seems to be an ode to all things Bengali like Rabindranath Tagore and Ray.
Located in the interiors of Jubilee Hills, it is housed in a rather idyllic three-storey villa. The pretty white staircase leads to the verandah seating, where we waited for the grub to arrive. It is then that Swaralipi shared, “Apart from the obvious Bengali references, this place also brings to the fore the beauty of love letters.” And that’s why quite a few pages of the menu are dedicated to letters of historical value that might make you feel slightly mushy. It complies letters of Napoléon Bonaparte to his first wife, Empress Joséphine, and John Keats to Fanny Brawne. As we were busy reading through the letters, the first fare for our sampling session was served.
We tried the Eggs Benedict with French bread rolls, prepared in-house from scratch. The well-cooked eggs, flavour of melted butter topped with fresh herbs made for a satisfying snack. We realised that this is best paired with one of their Darjeeling teas, available in first, second and Autumn flush, in 32 varieties. However, if you aren’t fond of teas, then you can try their Mexican Hot Chocolate, that adds a spicy twist to this comfort drink. And as you sip on your drink, you can continue reading the menu, which briefly gives us a glimpse of famous love letter allusions in pop culture as well like the Hindi song Kabootar Ja Ja Ja to Letters to Juliet.
If you have time, you can also look around the shelves full of classics featuring those of Tagore and also rare finds like a book of poems by the Edgar Allan Poe. “I came down to Hyderabad in January and fell in love with the place,” informed the founder when we asked why she chose The City of Nizam’s to open her second outlet. We then took a bite of the Italio Chicken Sausage Cipolla. Topped with onions lightly sautéed and cut in circles, it was slightly more filling than we expected. But the sweet undertone of its sauce was quite palatable. However, what had us reaching for a second helping was the Fish Ala Muniere from their main course section. A French dish prepared from Bhetki fish and doused in chilly orange sauce served with boiled veggies like bell peppers and zucchini, and fresh herbs like rosemary, this one is a must-try because it was delightfully flavoursome. Apart from their Italian starters and main course, there’s an array of Kolkata street food-inspired snacks like Bengali Muri Chop (puffed rice and fritters) that goes well with a cup of hot Assam tea. And if it is drizzling outside, don’t miss this one!
Price for two: Rs 600.
Pics: Sathya Keerthi