|Easy-going swing-seating at Mocha
Its not in Calcuttas food corridor Park Street, nor is it in a mall, but national cafe chain Mocha has finally arrived in Calcutta and hopes to become a destination for GeNext.
Located at Karnani Estate, a landmark at 209 AJC Bose Road, Mocha has picked an old-world space — opposite Padatik — and pepped it up with quirky and contemporary designs, as is its signature style across locations.
Mocha has always been a destination. We dont like being in a high street, in fact it hurts us when we are because Mocha has always been a place where you can kick back and indulge in conversation over coffee. An unhurried experience, so to speak, said Riyaaz Amlani, CEO of Impresario, Mochas parent group.
The stark white entrance to the 100-seater cafe is broken by vibrant colours and a larger-than-life chandelier. Funky furniture with dog feet, easy chairs, swings and bold colonial chairs fill up the space on the ground level. They are conversation pieces, explained Riyaaz. It starts up a conversation, is non-intrusive and makes you want to put your feet up and relax. The more informal the surroundings are, the better the conversation is.
| Lazy Breakfast at Mocha (top); Lava Lava dessert (below). Picture of swing by Bishwarup Dutta
The eight-year-old coffee chain opened its doors to Calcutta officially on July 30. Spread across two levels, the spacious Mocha is one of its largest in India. Mocha currently has 19 outlets in nine Indian cities and the three that run the best are Mocha Arthouse in Vasant Kunj (Delhi), Mocha in Nungambakkam (Chennai) and Juhu (Mumbai).
The 21-page menu is split into Desserts, Coffees, Teas, The Great Shakes, Something Substantial, Coolers and Lazy Breakfast sections. Its fun, bachelor food, and probably what you can also make at home but with a twist, said chef Brainard Colaco, whose kitchen back home in Mumbai is like a lab!
Firsts on Calcuttas cafe menu include Croque-monsieur (a cheesy French sandwich), Poutine (French fries with cheese curd) and Maggi! In the lounge upstairs, drench yourself in fruit-flavoured aromas of Egyptian hookah. The prices are slightly more than what Calcutta is used to shelling out in cafes and a meal for two will comfortably cost Rs 600.
The Mocha management agrees that the brand took a long time to come to town. Calcutta is not adequately serviced when it comes to places to eat out. It was a chicken-and-egg syndrome for us. While we had to wait till we felt there was a demand for the brand here, it was equally important to create an avenue in the east. We had been receiving one call a week for the past seven years from people interested to bring the brand to town, he said.
Franchisee Nikhil Chawla has been persistent in his efforts to get Calcutta its own Mocha. I was adamant and wanted to open a cafe that would create a buzz. I couldnt wait, said the 26-year-old.
The timing could be just right. With coffee shops springing up at every corner, Mocha is a welcome addition at the high end of the scale, open from 11.30am till midnight.
- Two quirky
Alice In Wonderland
door to the loo
Coolers come in carafes; yoghurt smoothies
in jam jars
Calcutta cafe firsts: Croque-monsieur, Poutine and Maggi.
Must-haves: Oreo Cookie and Fudge Brownie Shake, Lava Lava dessert, Kheema Ghotala, Panini and, of course, coffee!