Brazilian treats and a relaxing retreat
Thanks to the high density of students and freelancers around Central Square in Cambridge, going to most coffee shops in the area means you’ll never be more than a foot away from someone talking really loudly about their startup. That makes Bom Café, a small Brazilian spot a couple blocks east of Inman Square, an even more valuable find. On a Tuesday morning, the brightly painted café was never annoyingly crowded, the background soundtrack consisting of lively music rather than chatter.
Bom offers indoor and outdoor seating, and every table is adorned with a vase full of colorful (albeit fake) flowers. It’s located in the old home of Muqueca, a popular Brazilian seafood restaurant that has now moved to a larger space down the street. Both restaurants are operated by the same couple, Antonio and Fatima Gomes.
The café’s standout dish is pao de quiejo, a Brazilian cheese bread that comes in two sizes: small for $1, and large for $2. The rounded buns are gluten-free because they’re made with tapioca flour instead of wheat flour, which also gives them a stretchy, almost rubbery texture inside their crisp crusts. They’re served warm, and they taste so good (and so strongly of cheese) that I went back and bought another one after I finished my first. Bom also offers other baked goods, including muffins and cake, but they can’t match the flavor-to-size ratio of the pao de quiejo.
I complemented my double-serving of cheesy bread with a smoothie. I chose to combine mango and pineapple, but other options include acerola cherry, acai juice, cashew fruit and fresh-squeezed orange juice. My smoothie was deliciously tangy and fresh, and well-sized considering its $4.50 price tag. However, it was a little too thin to provide substantial nourishment, which further justified my choice to double up on carbs. Other beverages on offer include soft drinks and a selection of coffees, teas and hot chocolate.
In addition to their lighter fare, Bom serves brunch and lunch food including made-to-order omelettes for $7.95, which allow you to pick three fillings from a list that includes meats, cheese, veggies, and palmito (palm hearts). They come with a side of yucca fries and bread, and the menu’s assurance that they use real eggs is comforting, if not entirely necessary. Bom also offers an assortment of hot and cold sandwiches, salads, and a fruit-packed, icy acai bowl for $6.50. For those who feel compelled to work while they eat, there’s wifi and plenty of outlets, as well as two small shelves of books.
BOM CAFÉ. 1093 CAMBRIDGE ST., CAMBRIDGE.