Bench RestoCafe in Fort Kochi offers a green ambience and great continental platters
The 35-cover outlet is located on Princess Street
Life. That’s the pervading vibe of Bench Resto Cafe. In a time when people consider greenery a hindrance to ‘development’ of a property, the five owners of this two-month-old place sought to save a decade-old climber plant and designed a beautiful cafe around it.
I’m confused whether to choose the long bench by the wall or the wooden tables in the centre as I walk into the 35-cover eatery, but end up on the high stool facing the street. I sip on a calming green ice-tea and run through their card featuring salads, croquette and even a kid’s menu offering mini burgers.
“Young people like us had to go to Ernakulam to have some late-night snacks. After giving it a serious thought, we discussed and learned from our friends at Qissa Cafe and finally picked this spot on Princess Street. We spent six months to turn this rather plain plot into what you see now,” says Arun Raj, a Merchant Navy officer-turned-restaurateur.
The right pick
The mixed mushroom and orange salad accents the pleasantness of the space streaming with natural light. The walnuts in the mix add to the crunch of the brightly citrusy platter loaded with iceberg lettuce. A perusal of the menu helps me to spot a few unusual delicacies namely pulled lamb burger, but I’m not in for a treat on the day.
“It’s difficult to find great cuts of lamb here and we don’t want to mix mutton in there. Keep your eye on our board citing the day’s specials when you walk in,” says Arun. My disappointment vanishes in a puff of smoke as the prawn cocktail reaches out table.
Besides the mayonnaise and Tabasco sauce pairing, what impresses my palate is the sweet and sour magic of the ripe mango and salsa sides.
Three pieces of mahi-mahi are their offering on the fish and chips platter. A mouthful of the crunchy fish alongside tartar sauce, coleslaw and fries is simple yet satisfying.
“Continental cuisine has left behind the idea of a main dish and sides, and we are bringing together whole platters with diverse elements,” says chef Jith Jimmy, who returned from New Zealand after eight years of industry experience.
The grilled chicken breast served with orange-flavoured risotto is one such experiment. I’d totally hit the place to catch the final match of the World Cup with their beef burger stuffed with grilled pineapple and tomato salsa to keep me company.
Open from 1 pm to 12 am.