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A walk through the transition

  • Published at 09:55 am January 8th, 2019
Mermaid Cafe
Photos: Ahmed Hasam Rabbi

Mermaid Café 2.0

Mermaid Café started its journey back in 2008, a time when we hardly had any cafés in the capital. It is the only cafés on the beach serving authentic seafood cuisine. Shahin Thakur has been working with the café as a chef since the very beginning. In fact, the entire menu was designed by him -- it was his idea to run a mouth-watering cuisine throughout. His kitchen has 16 people altogether, to ensure that your taste buds are way more than satisfied when you head back to your hotel. 

I still have vivid memories of my first visit to Mermaid back in 2012. I had never seen such an aesthetic café in Bangladesh. The entrance would give away a spooky vibe -- as you enter the café, crossing through a deck-bridge with parts of vehicles half-sunk in a pond. Alongside your choice of fish, the aroma of the sea with some good music in the background would make a perfect meal. 

The reconstruction changed the infrastructure of the café and took it to a different level. The area was expanded giving room to a new ambience. The pond is no more; instead, they gave it a new traditional vibe by bringing in a few open huts scrambled throughout their area. One unique layout of an open hut worth mentioning -- half-cut beds being used as chairs with a table in the middle of the bed. This design seems to be cost-effective but, also, is worth mentioning.

The moment you enter the café, it gives you a traditional vibe -- the aesthetics of this cafe attracts people of all age-groups. Anisul Haque Shohag, the owner of Mermaid Café, and all the other Mermaid enterprises started this café with a vision to bring a change in his town. Starting off with providing quality service to his customers so that their first visit to the café does not remain the last. So far, he has been successful enough to carry out his vision.  

However, in the past four years, the tourism sector of Cox’s Bazaar started booming. With the huge flow of Rohingyas in Ukhiya, the number of NGO workers increased rapidly. Ukhiya does not have a suitable infrastructure to host people working for aid organizations which give the platform to Cox’s Bazaar to host all the aid workers. The temporary boost in the population of Cox’s Bazaar has been profitable for all businesses. Similarly, Mermaid Beach, Mermaid Beach Resort, and Mermaid Eco Resort are enjoying a rapid increase in revenue. Alongside, aid organizations like Save the Children, IMO, UNHCR, and UNICEF can also avail discounts on services. 

Not only the customers, but even the employees are more than satisfied with their jobs. Such satisfaction is hard to find in any firm or organization in our country. 

“I never worked in the seafood sector before, I previously worked in the catering sector for 15 years. I always wanted to work beside the beach and now, as I am doing so, I will say that the experience is mind-blowing here. This is my first job in Bangladesh and I really enjoy it, my time passes by really fast here,” said Iftekher Hossain, Operation Manager, Mermaid Café.

If you ever have the chance or time to go to Cox’s Bazaar, after enjoying the sea and the waves, sit by the water to enjoy organic food with amazing customer services at the Mermaid Café, which is situated in between the Shugandha and Kolatoli Beach. Welcome the night with full moon parties, fresh food and dip your toes in the sand while listening to the sound of the waves. 

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