Agni Makes a Promising Debut, Plus a New Boba Tea Option and a Laudable Cocktail at Speck

Check out these hot and noteworthy picks from the Columbus dining and drink scene.

Erin Edwards
Columbus Monthly
Matcha + Strawberry tea from Little Cat, a boutique coffee and tea shop in East Market.

Avishar Barua’s Agni (716 S. High St.), which opened in March, is off to a more-than-promising start, despite some early reservation system glitches. On my visit, the five-course tasting menu, dubbed “The Story,” was more like 10 courses thanks to surprise, off-menu dishes. I won’t soon forget the Bengali shrimp taco on bendy fried paratha, nor the—surprise!—beautifully charred lamb rib rubbed with 30-plus spices. And my wish would be that the dry-aged Rohan duck with duck-fat fried rice never leaves the menu, ever. Finally, if faced with the question, “Should I add the wine pairing option?” the answer is a resounding yes.

Boba tea done right is the idea behind Little Cat, the boutique tea and coffee shop from Koso Hae owner Raymond Kim. Located beside Koso Hae in East Market (212 Kelton Ave.), the shop uses high quality teas and house-made syrups to create fun flavor combinations, like the Ube + Coconut tea or the Matcha + Strawberry tea (pictured below), layered with house strawberry purée, milk and koicha (a thick matcha preparation).

Kudos to Speck Italian Eatery (89 N. High St.) for bringing a damn fine vibe to Downtown Columbus and one of my favorite cocktails: the Garibaldi, named after the Italian general and revolutionary Giuseppe Garibaldi. A cocktail so simple it’s complicated, the Garibaldi is just Campari and orange juice, but Speck’s version employs “fluffy orange juice” à la New York’s legendary cocktail bar Dante. Salute!

This story is from the May 2023 issue of Columbus Monthly.