I read a short novel called Life is What You Make It by Preeti Shenoy. It can be categorized in the Chetan Bhagat genre of novels as in the main character goes to college and there are the joys and throes of youth, the tribulations of career, love and romance. But the book is beyond that, it delivers a strong message. It reminds us that mental illnesses are to be considered as any other disease. There is a full branch of medicine dedicated to that, in fact. In India, there is not enough awareness about psychiatric illnesses and the patients are subjected to social stigma. One has to understand just like any other disease, any psychiatric disorder can affect someone at any time without prior notice, it is never in the control of the person. The story is also about hope and determination. I was deeply moved several times while reading. It was a birthday gift from two years ago, I am glad I finally read it.
The best cafe in town, may be not so much for the food, but surely for the classy atmosphere. Very laidback and delayed waiting which is good for the conversationists. The place is always packed with a long waiting queue in the evening. Menu offers great variety and prices are really low. According to my statistician friend Arijit Sarkar, what would cost 350 here would make a staggering bill of 1700 at Starbucks. They use Twinnings tea-bags in their teas. If coffee is your thing, have the wise owl special cappuccino. You must avoid the lemon iced tea which has lost its earlier zing and tastes very bitter these days. The muffins are always great. They have stopped selling the cookies, a regret. A good indulgence would be the ‘Avalanche’, a big bowl of chocolate mousse and vanilla ice cream with a dash of chocolate sauce. They serve great breakfast too. One must place the order by 11 am as they are quite strict with the time.
From the food to the interior, everything is eye-candy. Very warm atmosphere. Great Darjeeling tea that is served in a beautiful glass tea-pot. Bite sized eatables - perfect to keep the conversation going! The miniloafs and teacakes taste amazing and go great with the tea. For those with a sweet tooth, there is an array of cupcakes.
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The city finally gets its Feluda-themed cafe on Rajani Sen Road - Baithak. Don’t I just love the concept of it! The cafe is very neat, not too bright and shiny - a small and cosy place to have an informal adda with your friends (and enjoy the free WiFi too!) While you are at it, you can choose from a variety of tea and coffee and leaf through the Sandesh magazine. An overwhelming list comprising myriads of sandwiches and shakes is in the offering. The ‘Meghraj’ chocolate shake or the ‘Brown Saheber Rohosso’ (bread based fritata) are interesting names on the menu that any Feluda reader will be thrilled to find. The very charming Swaralipi, who runs the place with her husband, was present herself on Saptami evening and she helped us decide what to order. We had Nathmull’s second flush tea and the crabmeat sandwich, mysteriously named as ‘Kankrar Khutinati’. The second time I visited the place was after a long day and Soumya (Swaralipi’s better half) recommended the refreshing Kokum shake. ‘Very berry Kokum’!
I first visited Bohemian during Pujo last year. And what an amazing experience it was! Each and every item on the menu reflected sheer brilliance and, thanks to our large group of school friends, we had tasted and savoured almost everything on the menu. Well, almost! I also had the opportunity to talk to Chef Joy Banerjee then, the man behind the adventure. I revisited Bohemian on last Sunday, only to be pleasantly surprised again.
Bohemian is clearly different from other Bengali eateries, for it is at Bohemian that the global adventure of Bengali food begins! The adventure comes at a price though, but the incredible experience makes up for it. Where else would you get a delightfully tasting concoction of chicken, pomegranate and spicy mustard! Delicacies like bacon wrapped chickens, served in a tangy gravy of aam kasundi, to choose from. Or the Mutton Vindaloo for that matter. And desserts like Gondhoraj Julep to wash it down with. Then there is also the Gondhoraj Souffle of course, and, if you are not the calorie freak, you could also order your ‘Death by Chocolate’. The menu in fact can be a bit overwhelming and the knowledgeable staff do give some helpful pointers.
I am yet to try their pastas and hope to try on my next visit. I have heard a lot of good words about the Gondhoraj Bhetki preparation - that is on the list too!
The theme of the place could be labelled Gothic, as someone has pointed out in a review, yet very tasteful; it only gets louder on the walls of the washroom! What I don’t like though is how the washroom door opens right into the seating area, something you may not really appreciate while occupying the two-seater at the far end of the restaurant.
When a friend planning to visit Gangtok wrote to me asking what are the good eateries in the hill town, I refreshed my memory from 2010 and replied back.
I believe the best food is at Darjeeling and not Gangtok. That said, Cacao and Bakers Cafe are two great cafes on MG Marg to spend the leisurely evenings. Both these places rock and while the cookies and tarts taste better in Bakers Cafe, the ambiance is more suited for a conversation at Cacao. I recall a great restaurant, probably called The Square (I am almost certain it was The Square), with great food and an equally appealing decor. We were not too happy with the restaurants till we discovered The Square, in fact. We chould have explored more if we had more time. Oh there is a CCD too in Gangtok. I recall a small roll joint that goes by the name of Roll House and sells mouth-watering cheese rolls - not for the strict health-and-hygiene-conscious though. Apna Dhaba is a standard Indian joint. For more, look up Trip Advisor.