As the short-lived Kolkata winter gives way to mellow spring and the barometer inches up, it is time to move indoors. So we jog your memory about some of the best tea cafes in the southern part of the city where you can enjoy hot and cold brews accompanied by some delectable food.
One of the biggest attractions of staying at The Cochrane Place in Kurseong is its restaurant, Chai Country where you get a mind-boggling range of tea, and tea-based concoctions and desserts. But do not fret if you are stuck in Kolkata. Savour some of the charm right here in the city, at the Ivy House and its tea room, Karma Kettle. Enjoy their signature blends, including some soothing herbal teas, which may contain as many as 10 ingredients. ‘Like a culinary orchestra, every ingredient has a role to play in imparting the flavour’ believes the enterprise. And if you want to try some of their best teas at home, choose from their wide range on sale. And yes, do not forget to check out their tea accessories on sale that are not only perfect for your home but also make excellent gifts.
Karma Kettle is open noon to 8pm, Tuesday to Sunday.
Where: 4 Swinhoe Street, Kolkata- 700019; tel: 8777090903.
The Tea Place by Manjushree
Located near Gariahat, the busy shopping district in south Kolkata, this elegant tearoom done up in white, recalls an old Kolkata mansion. It has seating arrangements suitable for couples to large groups. Or if you are alone and want to read a book while sipping your tea, retire to the glass-enclosed porch. Designed like a quaint tea parlour, it has a bookrack filled with an eclectic collection. There is a wide range of teas available, including black, white, and green teas, special Darjeeling blends as well as teas from across India. The food menu included sandwiches, pastas, etc. Try their set breakfast platters served on weekends, when they open early. If you are in a hurry, there is a counter on the ground floor selling tea and savouries, fronted by an informal seating area.
The Tea Place by Manjushree is open daily from noon to 9.30pm; opens early on Sat and Sun for breakfast.
Where: 256 Purna Das Road, Kolkata – 700029; tel: 9073927934
The Whistling Kettle
Located off the roundabout in Golpark in south Kolkata, The Whistling Kettle is the next best thing if you are pining for a ‘Darjeeling’ fix but cannot wend your way to the hills right now. Enjoy an assortment of tea from Nathmulls and food (especially the pork platter) from Keventers, two iconic brands from the Queen of the Hills. They also serve coffee, including Vietnamese Coffee, and milkshakes. There is a corner dedicated for musical performances by new and upcoming bands. There is hardly any patron who does not linger at the narrow passage leading to the tea room during entry and exit. On one side of the passage is a long counter selling a range of teas while on the other is a glass case displaying dainty but very utilitarian tea ware.
The Whistling Kettle is open daily, 9am to 10pm.
Where: 23/3 Gariahat Road, Kolkata-700029; tel: 4601-1435
Again in Golpark. But hidden in a narrow alley in the middle of a residential area. With table-chair and sofa seating, this spacious café is as charming for its variety of tea as well as its décor. Tea paraphernalia, including miniature locomotives reminiscent of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, books on tea, etc. adorn the walls. A good place to hole up if you are in the area and alone, if you want to wait for a friend or just want to enjoy a lazy afternoon. Depending on the time of the day or how hungry you are, you may choose from the extensive menu, which includes finger foods to sandwiches to plated signature dishes.
First Flush is open daily, from 8am to 10pm.
Where: 21/2 Gariahat Road, Kolkata-700019; tel: 4001-7708.
Dolly’s The Tea Shop
Although tea drinking has been an integral part of Kolkata, buying tea meant the mom and pop stores in the neighbourhood. A visit to a tea room meant a journey to Park Street. But all that changed in the late 1980s, when Dolly Roy, India’s first woman tea taster and auctioneer, opened a café-based store in south Kolkata. Located in the ground floor of Dakshinapan Shopping Complex, it was the first to make the lay buyers aware of varieties of tea, distinguish between first and second flush, etc. The café became popular among shoppers and college students. It still is and the limited seating can thwart your plans for a quiet time. They still sell excellent tea but unfortunately the service and food has been receiving mixed reviews.
Dolly’s The Tea Shop is open Mon to Sat, 10.30am to 7.30pm.
Where: G62, Dakshinapan Market, Dhakuria, Kolkata 700068; tel: 24237838.