Even American actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s recommendation, which was partly responsible for turning the avocado toast into a trending food in the 2010s, could not make me try it because I dislike the earthy buttery taste of the fruit. Finally, it was La Macario Café that changed my perception with The Ultimate Chimichurri Avocado Toast (Rs 360). Probably it was the layer of chimichurri that did the trick, the tangy taste balancing the bland taste of the fruit.
Situated on Kolkata’s tony Wood Street, this café specialises in international food in a vegetarian avatar (with some concession to eggs). The name of the café has been derived from the Greek word ‘macar’ meaning happy.
The interior looked cool and classy with a predominantly white and brown palette, rush of daylight through large windows, hanging lamps, and potted plants (real ones) on the window sills. Do not miss the vintage chandelier or the bell-shaped lamps as you enter. They have a separate room for those who want to smoke Shisha.
Divided into several sections, the menu consists mainly of Italian dishes, along with a smattering of Asian and Mediterranean dishes. However, each section has a limited number of dishes, which makes ordering easy. The beverage section offers plenty of choices from hot and cold coffees, tea, shakes, lemonade and house specials (such as Nutella Sea Salt Chocolate, Rs 210). Although they do offer a menu card, you can also order by scanning it.
Apart from the avocado toast, the All Day Brunch menu included Rosemary Mushroom Omelette (Rs 210), Smoked Barbeque Beans on Toast (Rs 360), etc.
The Start Me Up section listed dishes such as Fresh Green Peas Falafels (Rs 300), Zucchini Parmigiana (Rs 330) – zucchini and mozzarella rolls served with salsa rosso; Charred Babycorn and Mushroom Platter served with creamy tomato sauce.
There is also a choice of soups (such as Roasted Tomato Bisque with Kashmiri Mirch, Rs 210) and salads (such as the Thai style Som Tam Salad, Rs 300). If you are looking for a healthy but filling salad, Greek Style Quinoa salad (quinoa, lettuce, greens, feta and nuts) from the summer special menu may be the answer. They also have house special fries, wraps and sandwiches, and pasta.
I skipped the healthy Salad Pizza from the special summer menu and opted for one of their more popular ones, the Spinach Formaggi (Rs 465), a crispy hand-rolled thin crust pizza base layered with mozzarella, ricotta and parmesan cheese and topped with cherry tomatoes and shredded spinach. You may also try Picante (bell peppers, jalapenos and oven-dried tomatoes, Rs 420) or the Quattro Formaggi (a four-cheese pizza, Rs 550).
The Big Plates section was more partial to Asian dishes – Pad Thai noodles (Rs 330), Thai Red Curry and Rice (Rs 370), Japanese Udon noodles (serves three, Rs 495), Burmese Khao Suey (Rs 495), etc. La Macario also offers Platters for Sharing – of which the Mezze Platter for Two (Rs 420) is the most popular, according to the café.
Although the menu focused on giving a quaint twist to classic dishes to attract the millennial crowd, according to co-owner Radhika Jalan, they also want the café to be a family destination. Keeping the choice of the elderly in mind, they also have a small section devoted to Indian dishes, including Dal Makhani with Laccha (Rs 390) where the Laccha comes as mini rolls to be eaten dipped in the creamy Dal. If you are a vegan or on a Keto diet, they can adapt many of the dishes accordingly.
Although the regular menu listed desserts such as Chocolate Mud Pie (Rs 315) and Choco Fudge Brownie with Ice cream (Rs 285), the Mango Tart with Vanilla Ganache from the seasonal menu seemed inviting on a summer afternoon.
The restaurant, which opened just before the country went into lockdown mode in March 2020, began offering do-it-yourself kits and multipurpose cooking jars so that people could prepare their own gourmet meal at home. It became so popular that the café has continued offering them --DIY Sushi Kit, Udon Noodles Kit, Khow Suey Kit, DIY multipurpose cooking jars of sauces and dips such as Creamy Mushroom Sauce, Peppy Pesto, Beetroot Hummus, to name a few.
What: La Macario Café
Where: 10 Wood Street, First Floor, Kolkata 700016
Timing: Open every day, 11.30 am – 10.30 pm