Growing up in Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar has been one of those places where our family visited frequently. Jhaobon, Poushee, Dhanshiri were embedded in our everyday menu. However, as of recent, Cox’s Bazar has become a place of dishes beyond the regular maach bhaat.
Mermaid has become a must visit now due to the ambience their locations provide. Whether it’s their Beach and Eco Resort or their Cafés, they promise to provide top notch ambience and service. During my visit to Cox’s last week I finally managed to drop by two of their branches: Mermaid Café Chill n Grill in Kolatoli and Mermaid Beach Resort in Marine Drive Road.
My first visit was to the Beach Resort where a bunch of my friends and I decided to stay for the sunset (ditching Inani Beach). Upon entering, you’ll feel like it’s more of a forest in a secluded area compared to other restaurants in Kolatoli Road. The entire place is lit up by candles and lanterns giving you a cozy and romantic feeling. Once we reached the restaurant of the Resort, we were amazed at the view! It had props such as boats, a turtle cave, surfboards, swings and more. To top that off, you had a beach view which could be enjoyed sitting at their outside seating area.
Their menu consisted of various segments including seafood, duck, quail, vegetarian, beef, desserts and drinks. Since I already had my fair share of prawns, lobsters, and dried fish at the Bengali restaurants, I opted for a simple Margherita Pizza and a Grilled Chicken. My friend suggested that the Lemonade here is a must try so despite a hefty price, I chose to splurge on the drink too.
It took about 20 minutes for them to serve and I am still trying to get over how good the food tasted here. The Margherita pizza had both mozzarella and parmesan used in it giving it a very cheesy and nutty taste. The tomato base infused with olive oil went well with the cheese overall giving me a tangy taste. The crust was thick and yet the slight burns gave it a rustic taste. They had served chilli flakes, chilli and a garlic mustard sauce alongside the pizza and surprisingly, it was the kick of the mustard sauce that I found the best to go with the pizza.
As for the Grilled Chicken, it came with sautéed vegetables and a mashed potato. What brought a smile on my face was the vibrant color of the plate and the presentation. If more restaurant owners would step up their presentation game, customers would happily pay more for the dish. Coming back to the taste of the entire dish, the sautéed veggies might have been slightly overcooked but the star of the dish, the grilled chicken, definitely made up for it. It was charred perfectly yet had a sweet glazing and the chicken itself was very juicy. The mashed potato also had some mozzarella in it giving it a very creamy and rich texture. The lemonade was what you say “Simple er moddhe gorgeous”. With ice cubes made of the lemonade itself, the drink was really refreshing and the bamboo stick gave the drink a very nice touch. I returned home with a happy heart and stomach that day.
That very night we visited the Mermaid Café as it was close to our hotel and I was craving their Grilled Chicken again. We also ordered a Mushroom Soup and two lemonade. However, this time we were slightly bumped at the presentation. Gone were the vibrant plate and banana leaf. Served in white basic plates came the chicken, burnt vegetables, and weirdly presented mashed potato. In terms of taste, the chicken was definitely the same: succulent and smoky but the mashed potato had no creaminess or the use of any cheese. The Mushroom Soup was quite decent but I would have preferred it having more cream and the bread, toasted. The drinks were the same as of Beach Resort, so we were pleased with that. The ambience of Mermaid Café was quite nice at night with a candlelit setting. But they definitely have room for improvement in terms of cleanliness.
I don’t know how but the next day we wound up at Mermaid Café for a light snack. I decided to go back to ordering a Margherita and regretted it so bad! The pizza was nowhere close to the one I had at the Beach Resort; neither in terms of the look nor the taste. The dough was undercooked, the base under seasoned and the look sloppy.
While the prices are quite on the expensive side and the ++ doesn’t help the wallet either, I would highly recommend anyone visiting Cox’s Bazar to drop by Mermaid Beach Resort during evening. I know a lot of tourists choose to go to the Café instead of the Resort due to the location but in spite of having the same menu, Mermaid Beach Resort provides food and service which is a hundred times better. Honestly, I have never felt so at ease in any other restaurant of Bangladesh as I did here.
It’s very unlikely to order Indian food at Cox’s Bazar however, after my recent trip there, I choose to believe otherwise. In fact, it is widely believed that Cox’s Handi is far better than that of Dhaka’s thus, when a friend recommended me to visit Koyla near Laboni Beach for lunch, I jumped at the opportunity.
Koyla’s location is exactly next to the entrance of Laboni Beach yet despite being in such a prime location, they were quite empty at 12.30pm. They have rooftop, indoor, and outdoor seating space and since it was quite windy, we chose to sit outside. You’d require taking off your shoes to sit on their elevated garden seats. The waiters were quick to provide us with a menu and to our surprise, they had naan/paratha available on their menu. Why was it surprising for us? Because we had been on the hunt to find them at Cox’s but all the places had them available after 5pm only. We placed an order for Chicken Reshmi Butter Masala, Garlic Naan, Sweet Lassi, and a Lemonade.
The order arrived a little after 20 minutes but we were happy with the presentation. Not only was the food served in antiques, the Lassi arrived in a Matka (earthen pot). We were also served some salad and achaar as condiments. The Naan was buttery for sure but what upset me a little was its flakiness since I prefer them to be slightly plump. However, it was the succulent chicken that won me over. These bite sized creamy boneless chicken was unlike any reshmi chicken I’ve had. It was soft and melted in my mouth due to its proper marinating with curd. Reshmi Chicken tends to have a mild, sweet, and nutty taste and this dish delivered it all!
The Lassi was overpriced for what was offered. Of course, the presentation was a nice touch but in terms of taste, the Lassi was too thick to be consumed with a regular straw and there was nothing extraordinary about it either. The Lemonade was a much better choice compared to this Lassi as at least it was refreshing.
I am so glad that during this trip, I chose to be spontaneous with my picks of where to eat. Most tourists tend to stick to deshi food everyday (which is completely fine). However, it is about time we give a chance to the other cuisines this place has to offer. Koyla will definitely be a place I will make sure to visit every time I’m in Cox’s Bazar and you should make sure you do too. If not for their Indian food, you may give their Bangla food a try at least.
Dhaka, Sep 20, UNB -- Everyone dreams of a unique wedding to make their D-Day a memorable one. But German aerial artist Anna Traber took things to a whole new level after she tied the knot with her partner Sven Lier at a ceremony, literally hanging in the air! The usual venues like a church or a pristine beach or a scenic park were replaced with a crowded market area with curious onlookers snapping pictures of the unusual scene, reports The Indian Express
For her special day, the 33-year-old bride and groom were both suspended from a tightrope sitting together on a flower-covered swing. Even the registrar was lifted off the ground for more than 20 feet in the air. Yes, seated on a trapeze opposite the couple, the ritual was quite high on energy.
The one-of-a-kind ceremony began when father-of-the-bride Johann Traber, drove the duo over the thin cable on a motorcycle! And the registrar, Breisach’s mayor Oliver Rein (CDU) was driven by the bride’s brother Falko Traber on the tightrope on a motorbike as well, BiLD reported.
The wedding took place on a sunny Saturday afternoon in the market square of her hometown Breisach near Freiburg and drew a big crowd. Later, photos of the ceremony went viral online.
Dhaka, Sept 18 (UNB) – The 14th edition of National Children’s Drama and Cultural Festival, a joint venture of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) and People’s Theatre Association, is going to be inaugurated at BSA on 20 September, Friday.
This year, a total of 10,000 children from 94 drama troupes and 64 districts will perform and exhibit 85 performances every day at 8 venues of BSA from 20-28 September.
The nine-day fest is scheduled to be inaugurated by Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader. Cultural Affairs Minister K M Khalid, legendary artist Mustafa Monwar, Bangladesh Centre of International Theatre Institute’s President of Honor Ramendu Majumder and Bangladesh Group Theatre Federation’s Secretary General Kamal Bayazid will attend the inauguration as special guests.
A press conference took place at National Theatre Hall’s seminar room on Wednesday, where the festival’s convener, People’s Theatre Association’s founder and BSA Director General Liaquat Ali Lucky briefed about the event.
Started in 1995, the festival is considered as Bangladesh’s biggest drama and cultural fiesta solely participated by children.
Kathmandu, Sep 14 (AP/UNB) — Devotees pulled a girl believed to be a living goddess, Kumari, around Nepal's capital on a wooden chariot as tens of thousands of people lined the streets to get a glimpse and receive a blessing.
President Bidhya Devi Bhadari and other top officials were among those seeking a blessing Friday from the girl, one in a long series who have been worshipped as a living goddess.
Indra Jatra is an eight-day festival celebrated mostly by the Newar community, the native residents of Kathmandu. It is also known as the festival of deities and demons. It especially honors Indra, the Hindu god of rain, to mark the end of the monsoon season.
Indra Jatra begins a festival season that runs until October, during which both Hindus and Buddhists celebrate with family, feasts and merry making.
Families gathered Friday for feasts and at shrines to light incense for the dead, and men and boys in colorful masks and gowns representing Hindu deities danced to traditional music and drums, drawing throngs of spectators to the city's old streets.
The masked dancers, one of the highlights of the ceremony, can be fearsome, entertaining and awe-inspiring, depending on the performers' movements.