Located in Mohakhali, Busy Beans is a eatery that opened recently. Situated on the ground floor of a commercial building, the eatery is tucked away in an alley, just far enough from the main street so as to leave the hustle and bustle behind.
I do not like big fat menus; the simpler, the better. Busy Beans scores well in this: theirs is a single sheet. A quick glimpse at the main dishes tells you that it has a diverse mix of foods: from Japanese (teriyaki) to Italian (pastas) to Canadian (poutine), with salads and sandwiches for perhaps the more health-conscious or those looking for a quick bite. There are also drinks, like frappes and iced teas and coffees of various sorts, from the basic espresso to the flavoured hazelnut latte.
I browsed around as I waited for the food. A couple of board games – chess and Scrabble – are laid on the counter for the guests. Magazines lie here and there. Sockets for charging laptops are generously placed everywhere.
The shabby chic look of the café is very evident. Shabby chic is essentially a décor style where everything is made to look worn out or aged. From the scribbles on the sofas to the unfurnished cement-made counter to the copper pipes, everything has been given a feel of ruggedness; left bare and incomplete.
On a wall, a drawing portrays the Eiffel Tower through an open window with a coffee cup. Indeed, elements of France, Italy, and Africa are everywhere - a tribute to coffee, cafe and the coffee-drinking culture.
Two glass walls provide a view of the exterior of the café, where you can also take a seat. Secluded from the neighbouring small local shops by bamboo plants – that add to touch of green to the place – you can comfortably have your meal on the benches outside. A service bell is handed out for those sitting there so that there's always someone at service.
What I ordered
French fries are too mainstream for me! However, top it with minced meat and cheese and voila! You've got yourself a mouth-watering plate of poutine! A version of fries cooked up for meat lovers.
Buffalo wings came flying in next – eight red hot chicken wings stir-fried to perfection in a sauce made with garlic, ginger, tomato, soy sauce and more. The plate was accompanied by a giant jar, so that you can throw away the bones and without worrying about making your plate and table look ugly. The plate, however, did not come with Buffalo wings' well-accepted sidekick, the blue cheese dip. The waiter will nonetheless provide you with mayonnaise if you ask for it.
On the other hand, the chicken teriyaki came with vegetables and a choice of mashed potatoes or fried rice. I'd recommend going for the rice – the strong flavour of ghee makes it super special. Letting the vegetables on the side remain there, I jump onto the chicken teriyaki. It tasted what it should taste like: sweet, not very spicy; mild, not very hot. Busy Beans only uses thighs for their teriyaki, and the delicious teriyaki sauce will not fail to win over your palate.
For dessert, I opted for affogato, because this is a rare delicacy in Dhaka. Three separate items arrived on the tray: nuts, ice cream (vanilla and crushed chocolate) and a shot of espresso. I squinted at the espresso: it's not my cup of 'tea', especially after dinner. Too strong and too bitter. Nevertheless, I poured it and the nuts onto the ice cream and mixed them.
And who knew bitter and sweet can form such a wonderful melody! This coffee-based dessert is the perfect bittersweet ending that will urge you to come again to Busy Beans!
Value for money
Affogato is the most expensive item on the menu: Tk 399 (excluding VAT). One dish should be enough to fill your stomach wholeheartedly. Eight Buffalo wings (Tk 350) is a generous serving. The chicken teriyaki, too, priced at Tk 325, is great for an average person; given that it comes with fried rice/mashed potatoes and vegetables. A cup of cappuccino costs Tk 175.
So, a Tk 1000 note – or a few hundreds more or less – should suffice. Busy Beans might stretch your tummy a bit, but won't put a stress on your wallet.
Address: Venture Tower, 3 Mohakhali. Contact number: 01676222111. Facebook page: www.facebook.com/busybeansbd. Business hours: Opens at 11 am; last order is taken at 10pm. Food delivery options: HungryNaki.
By M H Haider
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed