It was a weekday evening with lots of traffic and torrential rain. Adding to my woes, my cab driver didn’t know the route, especially the one-ways routes. Well a 30minute drive took me around 1:15minutes, during which I lost my way and more than once enter wrong one-ways, had to walk with an umbrella in my hand in the heavy traffic and torrential rain, fell down in a puddle – hurt my knee and broke my umbrella and finally reach the venue 30minutes late. I was plain angry, hassled and dejected when I entered the place.
When I was about to enter, someone smilingly opened the door. I felt welcomed. I walked up the stairs to a world of its own; everything was warm, soothing, and cheerful. My woes were gone; I forgot about my paining knee, I left my anger behind. My feeling of negativity was quashed by positive charm this place had to offer. Isn’t that the entire purpose of a cafe, to make you feel welcomed, to create an atmosphere of merriment and joy? Well, Café 4/1 with its vibrant atmosphere, welcoming staff, and delicious food just nailed it! Everything at café 4/1 is brown, it’s wood, and it’s bold. From ceiling artwork, to furniture, to mocktail counters – everything is wooden; giving the place a modish flare. The abundance of indoor plants looked distinctively bright among all the brown and added on to the chic vibe! Café 4/1 commits that weather you are working on a presentation, or a novel; meeting friends for adda or colleagues for a conference they can take care of it all!
I was there at the venue as a part of a Food Bloggers Meet and my experience was filled with fun, frolic and joy. The Owner Bhavika Surana is a young lady with a vision. She was a lovely hostess and while Kolkata doesn’t have many young, women restaurant owners she is definitely one of the known faces of this elite class.
Café 4/1 boasts of Chef Abhishek Panja who has had 10 years of experience in the field. His eclectic choice of courses, specially selected for the Food Bloggers Meet allowed us to taste a variety of cuisine and get a peek into the dynamism that this café has to offer. After finishing with our dinner the entire kitchen crew met with us and we engaged in a heartwarming interactive session.
REASON FOR VISIT:
#Wide variety of cuisine: Bengali, Punjabi, Italian, Thai, Chinese, English and lots more
#One of the best vegetarian cafes in town
#Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake
#Mushroom Madness Soup
#Risotto Your Majesty
#Bong Bong Thali
#Pizza Ala Vodka
Without further ado let’s talk about the food. Well, most of the dishes had a mind blowing presentation. They looked different and intriguing! The chef made sure that even if one is full, the basic look of each platter/drink will entice one to try a small bite/sip.
#Mango and Strawberry Tea: A reddish looking summery drink created with tea and chunks of strawberry and mango infused together. I loved the fact that the flavor of tea was strong and the taste of honey just added on to the rest of the summery flavors to create a blissful combination.
#Jasmine Blossom: A strong smell of fresh jasmine flower combined with the mild flavors of tea was very tantalizing.
#Lavender Dream: Green tea, some lemon grass, and a mild lavender flavor!! What more does one need? This was one refreshing drink that won my heart and soul.
#Chatka Mary: Guava Juice, some chat masala, rock salt & sweet-sour syrup – the perfect mocktail for people who do not like sugary-drinks. This was another refreshing concoction.
#Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake: This was the second best drink of the evening. Firstly because it cane in a tall glass (kind of looked like milk bottles) and came with some peanuts in a conical container made of newspaper (the kind we have peanuts at Maidan/Victoria). With such an interesting presentation, I was already very attracted to this drink. Strong flavor of peanut-butter mixed with healthy portion of cream was the perfect mocktail for a sweet lover like me.
#Cold Coffee: It came in a wooden barrel looking mug and even from afar this drink looked very enticing. This was a thick drink with a strong flavor of coffee. This was the showstopper drink of the evening.
#Kokum Cooler: A brilliant drink with a hint of gondhoraj lemon, and mint leaves. It was refreshing to the core. This ideal concoction of Cocum Syrup, Parsley Leaves, Cranberry Juice, Rocksalt, Soda, and Sweet & Soup Syrup won my heart.
#Gems Bubble Gum Shake: A white looking sweetish drink that looked enigmatic yet came with a funny name. The flavors of strawberry and cream blended to create a charismatic mixture.
#Jomato: A thick tomato soup with small chunk of tomato; add to that a dipper with jasmine flavor – What do you get? I say pure bliss!
#Mushroom Madness: Creamy, mushroom, and well more and some more mushroom. This soup engulfed me in its flavors. The was best soup of the evening.
#4/1 Wonton Delight: Saute veggies and fried wonton in a Chinese broth. This was another healthy soup.
#Avocado Land: A green colored sugar free cold soup made of bitter gourd and cucumber. Best for heart and sugar patients! Kudos to café 4/1 – items on the menu pertinent to common diseases.
#4/1 AIB Roast Salad: A colorful concoction of asparagus, iceberg, baby corn, rocket leaves, olives, heart artichoke & corn topped with arugula leaf sauce. Salads came in big jars and looked amazingly pretty.
#Beet it: Did you think salads were boring; well this multi-colored salad will change your mind. Roasted beetroot, veggies & orange salad with honey mustard sauce and orange branding dressing.
#Garlic Bread: Quintessential garlic bread with a presentation worthy of notice- sliced garlic breads with lots of cheese placed one on top of the other giving the look of hung meat for shawarmas.
#Tofu Riot: Pan fried tofu in chili sauce. A spicy, hot dish; it is worth a try.
#Thai Local: Spring rolls made of carrot, cabbage and bamboo; in peanut sauce. spring rolls placed in small tea glasses and served on wired trays; like the ones used by roadside tea vendors. A very well thought presentation.
Both burgers came with potato wedges and were topped with sliced onion, tomato and fresh lettuce leaves.
#The Real Burger King: A prefect KING sized veggie burger to satiate the craving heart.
#Mogambo ‘COUSCOUS’ Hua: Not just a pretty name!! An unforgettable barley burger garnished with cous cous & soya tikka. This is another perfect fit for the health conscious foodies.
Both the sizzlers came with pilaf(portion of herbed rice),portion of bred, sautéed veggies, potato wedges, roasted tomato & jalapeno-cheese sauce topped with salsa and mustard flavours.
#Pouty Poblano: The main sizzler was a minced veggie sizzler with mesmerizing flavours.
#Cottage Cheese Sizzler: A block of cottage cheese perfectly marinated and cooked to retain all its juicy-ness and yet get infused with the flavors of the sauce.
#Risotto Your Majesty: Aborio rice with mushroom & spinach pesto and some grilled veggies. This dish was plain delicious, it wow me from the first bite. I loved how the flavors of mushroom and spinach played around in my mouth to create a ecstatic combination!
#Tandoori Tray: Assorted tandoori veggies, with pudina, garlic and dahi dips. A bright and colorful dish with satiated not only the desires of my tummy but the desires of my eyes too. 🙂
#Bong Bong Thali: You get to sit in a European decor-ed cafe and eat luchi, aloor dum, cholar dal, begun bhaja, home-made misti doi – BEST of both WORLDS!! And frankly, one of the best bengali platters I have had in a long time, and too it was veg.
#Thai Thali: Do you expect some ‘cafe’ to make Bengali and Thai delicacies with the same expertise? Well, they totally astonished me with their versatility. Its not many who can make the prefect aloor dum and thai green curry or misti doi and thai coconut dessert under the same roof. LOVED the multifaceted approach !!
#Made in China Thali: When I thought that I was done with the ‘being astonished’ part of the day, the server brought out the Chinese Platter. Comprising of vegetable rainbow, noodle salad and darshaan this was noteworthy platter.
#Pizza Ala Vodka: Two of my favorites are PINEAPPLE PIZZA and VODKA – put them together and it’s pure ecstasy. When I was getting drunk in college and munching on pizzas, God read my mind, cause these pizzas were nothing less than God Sent!! Perfect sundried tomatos, white sauce, mozzarella, jalapeno, pineapple and well VODKA – HEAVENLY!!
#MI:3: This is the mushroom extravaganza pizza. And when I say Extravaganza i mean it !! Poricini Mushroom, Shitake Mushroom, Button Mushroom, Pesto cooked in thyme, onion and garnished with goat cheese. I was engulfed in a feeling of euphoria with the first bite.
#Vodka Pasta: A deliciously creamy and saucy penne based pasta, and add to that some vodka – PURE BLISS!!
#Coffee Panacotta: Panacotta is a cold Italian dessert made with double cream. A prefect panacotta with a strong coffee flavor that deserves accolades, but the portion was too less.
#Paan Panacotta: THIS WAS THE SHOWSTOPPER!!A picture is worth a thousand words, look below and you will know! Best quality panacotta served on a Pan and garnished with ingredients that are typically inserted inside a pan. A delicious combination, an innovative dish!!
#Chocolava Cake: Quintessential choco lava cake, with all the chocolate in the right places and maybe some not so right, but I’m not complaining 😛 A definite HIT!
#Mango Kulfi: Mango, with the inner seed replaced with some yummilicious kulfi and then sliced into pieces. An prefect ending!
I wish Bhavika and the team of café 4/1 all the success in their future ventures.