It was good to be back in the normal flow of work, with a day long meeting ending with a red-eye back home. But this time, there was a cafe I wanted to check out close to where we had lunch. In Mumbai a cafe is a misnamed bistro. But in Kolkata, a cafe is exactly it says. When I walked in with two colleagues for a post-lunch espresso, we were a little bemused by the looks of the place. One of them said “It’s name tells you what the colour scheme is.” The illuminated wall opposite the entrance was covered with pink hearts. “Grrrl power,” it proclaimed.
The waitress explained that espresso is bitter. We nodded. The statutory warning was done; clearly the usual clientele has a sweet tooth. We were given a small menu to look at, and decided to share a pastry. The dessert at lunch had been quite satisfactory. There was only one of the lemon strawberry cakes left, we were told. It suited us. The cake was good. The espresso was aromatic and bitter. The cake knew what it should be. The biscuit at the bottom was crisp but not hard. The dome was crackly, the lemon filling was aromatic and sour, and nicely cut through the sweetness of the strawberry. Rentals in Kolkata haven’t gone through the roof, so a small place like this can still survive charging a fraction of the price that you would pay in Mumbai. The experience left a pleasant taste in the mouth.