A “happy” cafe for work and relaxation – The New Indian Express
Express press service
KOCHI: “Merak” in Serbian means happiness or a feeling of oneness with the universe that comes from the simplest of pleasures. This is exactly what Ajay Paul, a 25-year-old journalism and mass communication graduate, wanted his customers to experience when he launched Cafe Merak last year in Kakkanad. “A happy place – that’s what I want this cafe to be,” he says.
This restaurant located in Kochi’s IT hub, with its tranquil, no-frills ambience and delicious offering of hot drinks, pancakes, burgers, sandwiches and shakes, is guaranteed to have a certain “merak” for foodies. However, what makes this one different is its conceptualization as a “workspace cafe”, with three-tiered seating, pleasant lighting and, most importantly, convenient power outlets.
Ajay says it was his “days in Bangalore” that inspired the idea of creating an environment for those who want to work while enjoying a coffee or a meal. “When I was in Bangalore for my graduate studies, I observed that the city had several cafes that provided workspaces for customers,” he adds. “I haven’t seen many such restaurants in Kochi, so when I came up with the idea of opening a cafe in Kakkanad, which is home to Infopark and some colleges, I thought that a coffee shop workspace would be a good idea”.
While IT professionals and students are regulars at Café Merak, families also often come to enjoy some quality time. “I was particularly concerned that the food appealed to both students and families,” says Ajay. The menu is mainly continental. I can enjoy Chicken Alfredo Pasta, Caramel Banana Pancake, Crispy Chicken Burger, and finally a brownie to top it all off. Mea culpa!
The penne pasta with white sauce was cooked to perfection in the creamy sauce. The chicken was soft and went well with the cheese flavor. Merak Cafe opens at 10am and offers an interesting variety of breakfast items. Ajay thinks Kochiites have developed a fondness for “Western breakfast”. Banana and caramel pancake, he says, one of the hot sellers.
The golden pancakes, topped with thin slices of banana, served with cubes of freshly cut watermelon and pineapple, and honey and creme fraiche were sumptuous. (I’m told the choco-Oreo pancake is also a popular choice.) The burger was a classic with meaty crispy chicken, lettuce, onion rings and a generous helping of mayonnaise. My favorite, however, was the thick brownie shake.
“Next time you should try our ‘Monster Shake’,” says Ajay. “It is a complete package – with cakes, muffins, cream and various other toppings. I have seen this in many foreign countries, so I wanted to present it here. Cafe Merak, port-airport road, Kakkanad