Cafe Hustoh! at Palarivattom specialises in rich chocolate cakes
A yellow-flame tree rains flowers, offering a warm welcome as I park outside Hustoh! I’m at the month-old café as the internet is buzzing about their face-printed coffee. The interiors of the 36-cover eatery—set opposite the Bismi hypermarket close to Palarivattom junction—is styled to resemble that of many popular chains yet with a distinct purple colour scheme. Even though a glass shelf of fancy-looking cakes look inviting, I maintain decorum and seat myself on a comfortable couch.
The efficient wait staff spring to action and I am served a pink martini (of course, virgin). They have mastered what most places miss out on—a great welcome drink. The salt-rimmed glass holds a sweet elixir for relief from the sun but the highlight is the hit of spiciness which follows it.
“We have a brand on the mind rather than a theme. We are building an individuality which includes at least one signature dish in different courses right from drinks to desserts,” says owner Shafeeque Shaikh, who also runs a rice export business in Kozhikode.
As I skim through the temporary menu, they inform me that a permanent card will be ready by the weekend. I skip the snack section which sports names like beef cheese fries/paprika wedges and settle for peri-peri chicken at their insistence.
The portion size is perfect and the grilled meat is served with a tangy and herb-loaded peri-peri sauce and lump of rather bland mashed potato. “Other than our raw ingredients, everything is made in our kitchen, including the burger buns and waffles,” says Shafeeq, as I bite down on their garlic bread.
Steaks have become a staple in the cafés in Kochi, so I try Hustoh’s (the name, by the way, is an unconvincing abbreviation for the phrase: hunger stops here) version of beef stroganoff. Buttered parsley rice is set on top of long cuts of beef in a mix of brown and pepper sauces and the platter is also designed as a wholesome, satiating meal.
Now, I’ll let you in on why I skipped on the starters—rich chocolate desserts. “Starting from Kochi, which is a hub of foodies in Kerala, we are planning to branch out to the other cities in the state soon,” says the young owner, as I dig into their marquise made with imported Belgian chocolate.
From 11 am to 1 am.