This Unique Tramcar-Turned-Café In Kolkata Is Serving Nostalgia

Welcome to the Kolkata street food tram restaurant in Eco Park, where you can relive the city's heritage while savouring delectable delights
The charming 20-seater restaurant caters to the palates of food enthusiasts with a diverse array of street food offerings (for representation only)
The charming 20-seater restaurant caters to the palates of food enthusiasts with a diverse array of street food offerings (for representation only)Shutterstock

Once celebrated as Kolkata's lifeline, trams are gradually fading into the background as alternative modes of transportation gain prominence. However, a unique haven awaits those yearning to relive the city's heritage while savouring delectable delights – welcome to the Kolkata street food tram restaurant near the popular tourist destination Eco Park in New Town.

The Tram Café

This charming 20-seater restaurant caters to the palates of food enthusiasts with a diverse array of street food offerings, ranging from the crispy 'khasta kachori' to the mouthwatering 'papri chat.' Nestled opposite the Mother's Wax Museum, the traditional wooden seats of the tram have undergone a transformation into tables and chairs, offering a quaint setting for patrons. The interior retains its original charm, featuring hanging fans, wooden log floors, and passenger notices scribbled on the walls.

Adjacent to the tram café, a pillar adorned with illustrations pays homage to Kolkata's iconic ambassador taxis and hand-pulled rickshaws, evoking a sense of nostalgia from the 60s-80s when black-yellow taxis dominated the streets before giving way to yellow taxis. Despite the diminishing presence of trams on the city's streets, this café serves as a poignant reminder of the heritage and culture associated with this vintage mode of transportation.

Reviving Nostalgia

Adjacent to the tram café, a pillar adorned with illustrations pays homage to Kolkata's iconic ambassador taxis
Adjacent to the tram café, a pillar adorned with illustrations pays homage to Kolkata's iconic ambassador taxisShutterstock

Environmental advocate SM Ghosh emphasized the environmental friendliness and nostalgic value of trams, urging an initiative to introduce the younger generation to these vanishing forms of transport in an era dominated by app cabs.

Café manager Tarashankar Chatterjee said that the eatery welcomes visitors from noon to 9 pm, attracting a significant crowd during evening hours on working days and throughout the day in the winter season when tourists frequent the area.

Debashis Sen, managing director of the West Bengal Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (HIDCO), said that Café Ekante spearheads the initiative under HIDCO. Café Ekante, a restaurant chain established by HIDCO, not only oversees the tram café but also manages a spacious dining area in Eco Park and several small coffee outlets in New Town.

In a nod to architectural planning by legendary architect Charles Correa, a tram-shaped tea shop emerged in front of City Centre-1 mall at Salt Lake in the early 2000s. The spokesperson of the Ambuja Neotia group, which operates the mall, informed of the premium offerings of Makaibari tea at this unique establishment.

With inputs from PTI

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