“The gust of smoke that greeted us as we set foot indoors really whetted our appetite”
On a November evening, when the chill had only started to grace the winter air, craving something warm and hearty, a friend and I arrived at the quaint little eatery called Matka Cha & Momo.
As I live nearby, the reviews of their unusual beverage had been tempting me for a few months now. Located at the Barek Molla More of Kamal Soroni road (also colloquially known as 60 feet road), the restaurant seems rather underwhelming, but the gust of smoke that greeted us as we set foot indoors really whetted our appetite.
The menu boasted quite a few items that made our eyebrows rise up into the hairline. Aside from the promised tea and momo (which came in a few varieties such as with and without soup, steamed, grilled, and even one with chocolate flavour), they also had an abomination called "Moburg", a burger which had a couple of momos replacing the patty.
A few pieces of momo priced at Tk60 are perfect for a light snack. With soup, the price is Tk75. Two pieces of tandoori momo are priced at Tk70, and two pieces of chocolate momo cost Tk75. The Moburg was priced - Tk100. Matka cha is just Tk35 per cup, though the premium variety costs Tk50.
We stayed clear of monstrosities such as Moburg and chocolate momo, and just ordered the premium "Motka Cha" and some good old steamed momo with soup.
I must say, the "Motka Cha" was a piece of performance art. They have this Tandoor inside the restaurant where they roast the little earthen pots called "Matka". The server took a pre-burned earthen pot or "Matka" out of the tandoor and poured pre-made tea into the "Matka" from a dispenser.
The tea boiled and spluttered as it came in contact with the hot pot. The spilling tea is caught into an ornate metal tray. This process apparently imparts a smoky flavour to the tea, which is then poured into normal earthen mugs and served.
The tea was served, along with a pot of momo swimming in clear soup. I rushed to taste the tea first and found it surprisingly pleasant. It had a lovely, dense, and spicy taste and it had a lot of malai mixed in it. I kept expecting the malai to run out after a few sips but it never did.
Compared to the tea, the momo was almost disappointing. The soup failed to impress us, though the momo itself was average, with an average filling. We ordered a samosa later, which was also quite underwhelming.
All in all, the restaurant with its blocky wood furniture, a cheerful ambience and the famous tea might just be what you need to warm up on a wintry evening.
This is not the end, however. A week later, I was suffering from a nattering cold, which absolutely killed my appetite. When my parents asked what I wanted to eat, the first thing that came to my mind was the 'Matka' tea.
I could almost smell the pleasant aroma, and ordered it instantly. Within half an hour, the tea and a few momos were delivered to my home. I have to confess when I grabbed the well-wrapped takeout cup and sipped the slightly lukewarm tea, it was even better when I had it under a pile of blankets than sitting in the shop itself.
You could also pair up the momo with a homemade soup, which makes it taste infinitely better. Although if you live quite a bit far from the shop, getting the tea delivered to your home might not be worth the effort, as when the tea becomes cold it loses about 60% of its taste.