Kolkata has already been swayed by K-pop and Korean beauty products. Add another item to the line-up of things from Korea coming to Kolkata, Korean food. Located right opposite 8th Day Cafe off AJC Bose Road, is King's Bakery, a destination for all things Korean – from Korean TV shows, to K-pop music and some of the best coffee in town.
Run by a trained Korean barista and his wife (a baker) this is where you should head to when you are in the mood for a hearty and comforting bowl of bibimbap. This is their second outlet, the first one is in New Town.
Walk in and you will be greeted by display cases of their bakes, and a smell of coffee. We have already been there twice. The first time we went, we grabbed a seat by the long window, and ordered plates of sweet bakes and some coffee. The Einspanner, a Viennese coffee with two shots of espresso and lots of whipped, very light cream, was heavenly. The Korean coffee was light, of the instant variety from Korea. The cream choux were feather-light, we ordered several more after the first bite. And the lemon poundcake was buttery and quite sweet. Their other bakes include sweet red bean bun, and soboro bun, madeleines, cupcakes, scones, doughnuts, brownies and waffles with ice cream.
They also have a range of breads you can take home, including corn cheese, and peanut butter.
Before we go on to the mains (which we tried on our second visit), a word about the cusine. Most Korean food is on the healthier side, using minimal oil. They are known for the side dishes like kimchi, which uses fermentation. So they are loaded with probiotics which are excellent for your gut.
The menu here has tons of soups and stews, such as the Kimchi Jjigae, a concoction of kimchi, noodles, and vegetables or meats. We had a bowl of noodles which was soupy and savoury, and with slicks of chilli oil shimmering on the surface. The bibimbap was deeply comforting (they also have bibimbap in a 'triangle' version, like a sandwich). The Dubu Steak has tofu. Tteokbokki has sticks of rounded rice cake as the main ingredient. Other mains include pasta, hearty omelettes and sandwiches. The Korean spices and sauces is what gives the food here a unique depth of flavor.
We washed it down with Sujeonggwa, a traditional cinnamon punch laced with ginger, and perfect for the winter chill that is still lingering in the air. Or you can choose something from their range of tea, fresh juices and shakes.
The decor has faux brick walls in a dull shade of beige-grey in the main area. The giant TV plays Korean TV shows from Netflix. They also have two smaller, cosier seating areas. The portions are generous, one course with small accompaniments is enough for two people.