I walked into Potboiler Coffee House and felt it was just the right place for me to unwind… to relax, sit back and sip on The Theory of Flat White with a book in my hand! It is simply my kind of place! The Theory of Flat White is a perfect companion to the book in hand…a Signature coffee brew—a hot caramel vanilla flat white.
The concept of Potboiler Coffee House was that of Sonali Lakhotia, the woman behind this interesting coffee house, whose popularity is increasing every day.
“I am an avid reader who loves cafe hopping. I always wanted to create a space where everyone felt warmly welcomed…a place where they could leave their worries at the doorstep and unwind in the cosy confines.” tells Sonali.
“My love for books and coffee has translated physically into Potboiler, and it is what I wanted it to be! Every corner, every poster has a personal story to tell. What truly inspired me to open Potboiler was my desire to open a space I could call my own—as a first step towards becoming an F&B entrepreneur,” adds Sonali Lakhotia.
Potboiler Coffee House opened in August 2019 but was located at a different address. Post -pandemic it shifted to this cosier Keyatala address at P-468, Lake Terrace Road, Keyatala, Kolkata, recently. “This place is ‘ME’—coffee, books and food,” says Sonali Lakotia proudly.
Situated on the ground floor of a colonial-style house, the interiors of Potboiler have been designed tastefully and exude warmth. Fresh whitewashed walls lined up with bookshelves, cosy seating arrangements, colonial-style windows and fairy lights, have all added up to create this café where people would certainly feel like spending a few quiet hours alone or with dear ones.
The high point of Potboiler is the perfect blends of coffee that they serve. Even their menu card is so different…on the top edges the café’s name is printed inside a coffee-stained circle, a typical trail left behind by a cupful of coffee.
Talking about her specialty coffee, Sonali says, “Right from where and how the coffee is grown, to how it is roasted and brewed, impacts the final cup. We take great care of the brewing method, the water temperature, the size of the ground coffee beans and their storage, and the water-coffee ratio. We use different cup sizes, as the amount of milk and foam going with the espresso should be different for a cappuccino, latte and flat white. To achieve consistency, dialling the espresso 2-3 times a day is what we do to set a recipe for the espresso that everyone follows.”
They have more varieties in the manual selection, and are trying to keep 3-4 coffee bean options from different roasters for a wholesome experience. Their beverage menu is different and they love being experimental with coffees and also the food that they serve. There’s variety and the servings are quite satisfying.
What is so unique about Potboiler Coffee House? The theme for Potboiler has been defined by coffee, books and the community they serve. Emphasis is not on the interiors or what the ‘sales’ figures are, but on what kind of experience they are offering to an individual removed from the stressful daily bustle. What makes the coffee here different is the effort that goes behind every cup that they brew. Its patrons can get a wholesome experience of the bean-to-cup story of specialty coffee.
“What makes our cup stand out is our motto of maintaining consistency, transparency and quality control. We use set recipes and weigh every ingredient while brewing to ensure every serving tastes the same every time no matter who brews it for you,” informs Sonali.
Where food is concerned 95% of the items listed on the menu are latest additions, a change consciously incorporated ever since Potboiler Coffee House relocated to its present venue. This thirty two-seater outlet has definitely seen an increase in footfall ever since the lockdown restrictions eased. Customers love the new food menu, which has been thoughtfully curated to complement the beverages on offer. Accent is on fresh home-style preparations.
All the dishes have been curated by the house chef and Sonali herself, keeping the health-conscious present-day clientele in mind. All the items in the menu are light, low on calories and easy on the body.
Try their Cucumber and Mint Salad, Creamy Mushroom and Coriander Pesto Bruschetta or the very filling Grilled Chicken with Coffee and Sriracha Rub served with coffee salted caramel sauce. Their flavourful Reminiscence Cheesecake has a Parle-G biscuit base, and the caramel coating reminds us of the childhood favourite—Alpenliebe toffees.
One must try their Breakfast of Hobbits – a full English breakfast platter with the name inspired by the appetite and feasting habits of Hobbits from JRR Tolkien's classics. I loved their Anda Kejriwal…and to clear everyone’s doubt…it has not been inspired by the CM of Delhi! It was a certain Prof. Kejriwal, a regular customer, who wanted sunny side up eggs to be customised to his taste with grated cheese, jeera (cumin) powder, turmeric and finely chopped chillies as toppings…and thus, Anda Kejriwal came to be plated with boiled potatoes and toasted brown bread. Miss not their Pancakes, served with Honey, Chilli-Butter and Maple Syrup…a new definition in deliciousness.
Match your food with brews such as the Theory of Flat White—a creamy caramel-vanilla warm delight or any of the cold brews—The Sun Also Rises…a punchy mix of ale-like coffee concoction that’s sure to take your breath away with its mildly sweet apple flavour. Orange Palace is another winner with its unique citrusy notes that’s not available in any other city cafés.