It is at ‘Bhalobasa’ that love happens over a cup of perfectly brewed coffee. Must be wondering what I intend to say? Very simple! Bunaphile occupies the ground-floor space of the internationally renowned literary personality Nabaneeta Dev Sen’s house, which she lovingly called ‘Bhalobasa’—meaning love in Bengali.
The house, now a heritage property, reflects what Nabaneeta Dev Sen held dear to her heart...love for people, love for the creative world and love for life. Bunaphile was created with love for the people of Kolkata. In fact, it is a gift of love by Sonika Dey.
“The name Bunaphile combines two words—buna, which means the traditional art of making coffee and phile, which means love or obsession”, informs Dey.
Dey was obsessed with the idea of opening a café in a heritage property, after having successfully scripted the story for 12 branches of Krazzy For Waffles within the city limits. Her determination, hard work and a bit of luck helped her find the place of her dreams! And, Bhalobasa it was! Spread over 1100 sq ft at 72, Hindustan Park, Bunaphile welcomes the first timers with its addictive warmth. Enter once and you will want to go back again.
There’s something very special about Bunaphile…and that is its unique charm. With its indoor and two outdoor seating arrangements, totalling 60 seats, Bunaphile’s interiors spell class. Sonika has made optimal use of the entire space where stark white walls, period inspired furniture, potted greenery and exquisite chandeliers…have all come together to create the perfect ambience most suited to a heritage Art Deco property.
The highlight of this cafe is the variety of coffee it has on offer.
“Bunaphile is here to cater to a contemporary palate, combining specialty coffee and good food served in a heritage setting,” says Dey.
With soft music playing in the background, a calm and relaxing ambience, this is the ideal place to sit and work, meet friends, schedule a date with your love, and have a family outing. The two outdoor seating areas—one small and cosy, and the other a little bigger—are the smoking zones. Rich and abundant potted greenery adds vibrancy to the entire atmosphere.
Not only coffee, Bunaphile’s well-curated menu lists a delectable spread that is in sync with its beverages. It has an excellent mix of breakfast platters, salads, pastas, pizzas, sandwiches, burgers, appetizers, main courses, a variety of bread-based items, desserts and a section of the chef’s special signature dishes.
The coffee section boasts of several all-time favourite brews. Reasonably priced, a meal for two would cost Rs. 1000, including taxes. Its doors are open on all days from 7am to 11pm.
Drop in and don’t forget to try their Peri Peri Chicken Poppers (recipe below) along with Chicken Roulade and Grilled Fish in Lemon Butter Sauce. I loved the Peri Peri Chicken Poppers…a bite into one brought out a burst of cheesy-herby flavours.
It was perfect! Being a true Bong, I love fish…and so it was the delicately done Grilled Fish ( Bhekti) in Lemon Butter Sauce that stole my heart! For dessert, Dey served a crispy waffle! I wanted to relish that large crispy round waffle all by myself, but felt a bit shy. Next time I shall!
How and why did Sonika think of getting into the business of food? “Pregnancy craving!” …she puts it simply! Then she goes on to explain that during her pregnancy, her cravings for waffles made her research online about the methods of preparation at home. She succeeded and that made her crave for opening an outlet for waffles.
After childbirth, she gave up her high-profile corporate job and opened Krazzy for Waffle in 2018, when her child was just five months old. The first outlet was in Jadavpur, and right now 12 outlets are crazily serving flavourful waffles in Kolkata.
She will also come up with other outlets of Krazy for Waffle in Delhi and Bangalore soon. Bunaphile, her long-cherished dream, which is now serving good food and specialty coffee, is an experience. Savour it!
Recipe for Peri Peri Chicken Poppers
Minced chicken 150gm
1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
1teaspoon of garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon of mixed herbs(thyme and rosemary)
1 teaspoon of paprika powder
A pinch of white pepper powder
1/2 teaspoon of peri peri spice
Salt as per taste
1/3 beaten egg
Mix all the items in a bowl. Next make 6 balls. Now beat another egg, dip the balls in the egg and coat it with panco bread crumbs.
Heat oil in medium and fry till dark golden brown
Put the peri peri chicken poppers in a paper towel to soak the oil, sprinkle some peri peri spice on it and serve it with peri peri based dip.