Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Reviewing DownTown


Metropolitan cities, like the one I grew up in, have always offered to their youth a slew of coffee shops. They would range from the serene and quaint to the most happening places where you could go to catch up with your friends or spend some time reading a good book, at the same time, enjoying an excellent coffee. After my shift to Kozhikode, I missed the good old coffee shop. Its cousin, the Cafe Coffee Day, did not serve to help because I hated the food there and somehow it never seemed to me a comfortable place. I longed for a place where I could sit down to relax, enjoy and just have some good fun. 

Last year I chanced upon DownTown and thought my wish had finally come through. A swanky looking small place which first attracted me with its decor and later with its mouth watering pastries. I had finally found heaven!
This place has changed much since the first time I saw it, I love bits of it and there are bits of it I don't like. So, here's my honest review of this place.

The first time I walked into this place, I was caught up with the neat looking decor and the handsome waiters. I have now found out that the waiters who serve us are in fact directors/members of the board of this hotel, which is planing to expand to different cities in Kerala. These young boys look real cool in their black mandarian-style shirts and blue jeans. Somehow this personalized attention they pay to this chain makes you feel real special.

About the food, well we have tried many things here, if not all. We have tried the Filter Coffee - which is excellent and at Rs. 50, I think quite well priced. The Cold Coffee with Ice Cream, which is my personal favourite, the Mint Lime with its oodles of crushed ice, which gave Nirmal brain freeze and the Saffron Tea, which was specially liked by my friend from London.
The Cold Coffee with Ice Cream
Filter Coffee!
Their burgers are great. We especially like the Yellow Chicken Burger. What is disappointing here are two things - the sandwiches and the sizzler. The bread in the sandwiches (we tried the Chicken Club) I felt was dry and rough and were cut to amazingly small sizes. It just made our eating experience bland and frustrating. Similarly, the Chicken Sizzler we tried was (for want of better words) just not right. It was high on pepper and salt and tasted like one of those chinese chicken curries with cornflour.
Burgers (Courtesy: DownTown Facebook Page)
What I love about this place are the pastries. They are simply heavenly. I believe that with DownTown opening in Calicut the entire baking industry has gone for an upheaval. If you want to see some of their most innovative cakes, log on to their facebook page and be awed.

Some Samples (Courtesy: DownTown Facebook Page)

 They have for some time been promising Pasta and Lasagna on their menu but whenever we ask, we are told its not on yet. I am keeping my fingers crossed. 

(Courtesy: DownTown Facebook Page)
One thing that I do avoid at DownTown are the takeaways. They have kept some good looking small pastries and some Caramel Donuts in boxes which can be picked up as desert choices when guests come home but they don't stand tall next to the fare served there. The last time I had guests I bought the Caramel Donuts to serve after dinner. After talking about the place for over half hour when I introduced the Donuts to  them, my guests were all excited. However, to our horror and later embarrassment, these donuts were flat out hard and very rubbery. When I put them in the microwave and reheated them, they were still not soft enough and we could barely taste the caramel. Their pastry takeout was another disaster, which luckily my husband and I tried out in the confines of our home.

Before I forget, now that the place has been hip and happening, I find crowd management to be a huge issue. Mostly because, you go to a coffee shop to lounge and chat and basically spend time. But, given the smallness of the place it often becomes too crowded and too noisy. The last time I went there in the evening, I found the music too loud and the place too crowded for me to enjoy anything at all. Hence, I have vowed to go there only in the afternoon's when I know, it will be just the way I want it to be.

P.S.: Oh! and I think I may have tipped a millionaire, 20 bucks.

1 comment:

  1. I think if they don't have a look at the crowd management, they are going to loose customers.
    As for me, for the time being I will take that cold coffee with ice cream :-)