DISCLAIMER : We’re going to chalk up Aisha’ gushing to a cat-induced haze. A corruption inquiry is also pending.
Let’s get this out straight away — we LOVE Black Cat Cafe. There’s literally nothing (in our humble opinion) to dislike about this place. They have a really concise and focused menu specializing in sandwiches, great coffee and a limited array of wonderful and homemade juices. To add to that, they have a spacious and well-lit room with shelves of a wonderful selection of books, and two adopted kittens that they picked off the streets.
Plus, they also have a bed and breakfast, and good music. Great place really, just go there already.
Food and Drinks
They just have six sandwiches on their menu (and one secret one off it. Ask for the machang, a pol sambolese favourite, I was told), each prepared with ingredients fresh off the morning market. Should orders fill out and they run out of the stuff they bought in the morning, you’d find yourself short of a sandwich. I went for a Portobello (Rs. 650) and my friend picked an Alaska (Rs. 700), which was just straight up amazing.
Let’s start off with the Alaska, since that was the best.
Do I even need to elaborate? Because the picture speaks for itself.
The salmon was super fresh, and there were plentiful amounts of it. They haven’t skimped on the toppings, and the cream cheese bed it was on gave a welcome sour tang. My only gripe that it’s not enough in quantity: this is great for a snack, but if you’re really hungry (like we were), you’d need to get something more (which we did).
Next up is the Portobello, in which the mushrooms gave off a slightly sweet flavour which went quite well with the grilled chicken. Once again, nothing was skimped on. There were generous doses of mozarella, chicken, and mushrooms in our beautifully grilled sandwich.
It looks rather colourless, but don’t let that deceive you. It’s not at all spicy, so dip it into the sauce if you want any heat. It’s Sriracha sauce, and I can’t even begin to overstate how amazing Sriracha is. If you love chilli and heat, you’ll dig this until you cry happy (and painful) tears. The sandwich in itself was great, with the components blending together beautifully and each flavour standing out on its own without overpowering each other.
My friend and I were still hungry after these two (don’t judge), so we asked one of the co-owners what else he’d recommend, and he suggested the smoked turkey breast one — Boxing, priced at Rs. 650. It comes sandwiched between swiss cheese and cranberry jam, the combination which could be strange to the local palate as we’re not used to mixing jams and meats. It was delish, and completely filling; we were stuffed after that.
All of the sandwiches comes with a side of crispy and well-seasoned potato wedges with Sriracha, so, happy times.
Their drinks are just as amazing. Priced in the 300 – 350 range, it’s worth every penny. I tried their homemade ginger beer (which, if I’m not mistaken, they harvest from their own ginger patch), and it was … *gesticulates wildly*. I got a light undercurrent of the taste of honey in it, and was told that they use wild bees’ honey instead of sugar as a sweetener. So much win.
Their soursop and lychee iced tea is equally amazing. it’s all very subtle and light, so it’s a refreshing boost in our tropical weather.
They come in huge glass jars, and we love the composition.
A friend told me that the coffee here trumps the coffee at Whight, so I (once again) asked the proprietor what his recommendation would be. He first asked how full I was, and then listed a couple of drinks which wouldn’t be too filling but would be just right. I settled for the macchiato (Rs. 310).
I love how the surface of it literally has a single spot of white on it, living upto the name of what a macchiato is — spotted. As in, an espresso spotted/stained with milk. Maintaining the high bar set by the preceeding meals and drinks, this didn’t disappoint. The coffee was flavoursome, not hideously bitter, and gives you a very light, happy little buzz. That might even just be me because I was really happy about having a cuppa which didn’t make me sad.
Another friend kindly shared her Flat White, and it was light, airy, and had a subtle yet definite punch of good coffee in it. It’s not my type of coffee, but I still liked it.
Service and Ambience
Moving onto service, they’re stellar. Friendly, welcoming staff who knows the menu inside out and who could reliably make suggestions and recommendations. It’s run by a duo who rented out the space by winning out a bid made by Pizza Hut and a Chinese restaurant, because they promised the owner of the property that they’d retain the mansion’s integrity and originality. True to their word, they’ve done little to change the original building. The furniture is simple, minimalistic, and mostly DIY — the tables are made of old Singer sewing machines, with sandpaper-smoothened doors as the tabletops.
They have some retro posters framed and hanging up on the walls, with a few of them available for sale should you wish to own some.
There’s a reading room with some amazing comics (Neil Gaiman, Calvin and Hobbes and stuff like that) and old books you’d be very hard pressed to find in any of our regular bookstores. You also get more popular ones like Chinaman and a few other books by local authors though.
Upstairs are five bedrooms, four king-sized ones, and one with twin beds. Even the bathroom furnishing is quaint and upcycled. Check our gallery for more pictures, because I’ll be flooding this post with everything I found fascinating if not.
Just go there and camp out already. The kittens are somewhere in the garden and are utterly adorable.
If you love books, coffee, and cats, this is the perfect place in SL for you (you get cat cafes in other parts of the world). If you don’t, why would you go to a place which christens itself ‘Black Cat Cafe’?