To me, milkshakes are synonymous to the little joys of childhood. They induce a strange sense of nostalgia, a longing for simpler times that are now gone. Shakes are no longer the simple flavoured blends of milk and ice cream either (chocolate, banana and strawberry were all I grew up on), they have morphed into flamboyant feasts that arrive in fancy glasses boasting quirky mixes of flavours, and a truck load of goodies thrown in. Here are a few pop picks for a shake junkie. These are places that take their shakes seriously.
The Street, the walk-through diner-style café at The Park Hotel Kolkata has introduced an exciting selection of freak shakes – they call these Insane Shakes – that are not only stunning visually, but also pack in some delicious mix of flavours and max in decadence. Each one is a complete meal really and crams in a host of goodies. Take for instance, the cotton candy berry shake, a velvety concoction of strawberry and black currant ice cream that comes speckled with gems, strawberry wafers and a blob of strawberry cotton candy – it is a carnival of colours in a glass, half of which, in turn, comes coated with multi coloured gems (kids do act crazy when they see this one).
Or, try the seasonal specialty, mango and marshmallow shake topped with a cloud of whipped cream, a drizzle of mango sauce and pretty pink marshmallows. Another decadent pick is the sweet and salt peanut butter cookie and chocolate insane shake – a bestseller and quite the looker. My personal favourite here, however, is the nolen gur and tender coconut shake that comes topped with desiccated coconut and toasted almonds.
Mythh, Hotel Hindustan International’s round-the-clock coffee shop turns out a few equally decadent numbers. There is the aptly named sinful nougat – a blend of nougat, butterscotch ice cream, milk and sugar syrup poured into a glass smeared with chocolate (on the inside of course) and topped with scoops of butterscotch ice cream, candy sticks, more crushed nougats and a drizzle of honey. Or, ask for the sticky crunches – a winner. This one is a blend of milk, sugary, chewy jujups, and chunks of fresh mangoes, strawberry ice cream and crushed ice. A fistful of gems is thrown into the mix and it is topped up with a scoop of ice cream, more jujups and wafers. It is chewy, it is crunchy, it is delightful.
Afraa Deli, on the other hand has a small but delicious selection of milkshakes. Their signature shake is the rang rassiya that comes with a desi accent. It is basically a shake trumped up with ras malai, flavoured with saffron. Another dessert shake on the menu is the apple pie shake, a blend of apple pie and ice cream, served in pretty mason jars. Plus, there is blueberry and marshmallow shake and Keventer’s Eespeshul which attempts to recreate the famous chocolate shake from the legendary Keventer’s.
Woodstock 1969, a tiny café behind the Greek Church in Kalighat, has a rather quirky menu, their shakes are no exception. Of course, there are usual numbers such as the Oreo shake, which is a bestseller here, but the menu also includes a meetha paan shake and a deliciously thick soan papdi shake. The stand out shake on the menu is a meaty number – the bacon and chocolate shake. Plus, there is butter beer (think Harry Potter) – a blend of butterscotch and beer (non alcoholic), flavoured with a hint of cinnamon (well, this is not a shake in the strict sense of the term, but then it is a must try here).
Or, head over to BJ’s Sports Café cum Lounge, a swanky sports themed café on Sarat Bose Road, for their selection of unusually thick shakes. The list is long; they turn out shakes out of anything and everything delicious and decadent. The strawberry or chocolate bursts are your best bet here, but you can take your pick from choices such as banana and caramel, brownies, hazelnut, Oreo or kulfi, and even Kit Kat, Perk and Dairy Milk shake! These shakes are not exactly adventurous, but they are big on taste.
Bon Appetite café also has a fantastic selection of shakes that packs in a few quirky numbers such as the midnight cookie shake, a delicious concoction of chocolate cookies, home-made chocolate fudge and vanilla ice cream which comes with a toppy of wispy whipped cream and crumbled cookies, and the black forest shake, a chocolate and cherry shake topped with whipped cream, cherries and a slice of decadent black forest cake. They also make an apple pie shake finished with a mound of cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
An independent journalist based out of Calcutta and a dedicated food enthusiast, she writes mostly about food and travel, and has worked and written for publications India Today, The Telegraph, Live Mint as also Lonely Planet India’s website. She also loves to experiment in her kitchen and runs a food blog – allthatsdelicious.com. But mostly she eats, frets about how much she eats and then eats some more.