Monday, May 27, 2024

An avocado and egg pão de queijo at Bom Dough in Cambridge’s Inman Square. (Photo: Tom Meek)

Bom Dough set up shop in Inman late last year in the locale that had long been the East Coast Grill and then Highland Fried, an offshoot of Highland Kitchen that closed during the pandemic. Bom Dough – or “good dough” – is a Brazilian-styled bakery and coffee bar with a wildly eclectic menu. With a wide open space and closing hours of 3 p.m., it would be fair to liken it in ambiance and purpose to Diesel Cafe in Somerville’s Davis Square and Forge, its sister shop down the way on Somerville Avenue.

The signature go-to at Bom Dough is the pão de queijo, small Brazilian cheese rolls. Think of them as dinner buns in a variety of flavors and stuffings such as pesto, smashed avocado and scrambled eggs and bacon. My favorite thing to nosh on at Bom Dough, however, is its soft and creamy scrambled eggs, which come on some of those pão de queijo variations. (It’s also served as a straight-up side or combo with thick, house-cured bacon and a ham-and-cheese or chicken-stuffed roll, like bigger pãos.) They’re fluffy heaps of silky, moist eggs, perfectly whipped and well-tended-to during their preparation. They stand out the way the soft scramble does at Bluestone Lane in Harvard Square.

There are soups and sandwiches, too. The black bean is smooth and hearty, while the tomato basil is chunky and mild. There’s even a classic miso offering on the menu, and you can get ramen at Bom Dough – I wasn’t lying when I told you the menu was eclectic. The ramen comes with house-smoked brisket, which also finds its way into the Wicked Smoked (brisket and fresh mozzarella) sando and a brisket flatbread. Since we’re talking Brazilian influences, naturally Bom Dough has açaí bowls that come in a banana, strawberry and toasted coconut arrangements. And if it’s sweets you want, there are cookie and doce de leite doughnuts – soft doughnuts filled with caramelized milk, or milk jam, and topped with powdered sugar.

Soup at Bom Dough. (Photo: Tom Meek)

The coffee selection is basic but wide, the beans are fresh and the baristas are capable; they brew up one of the best macchiatos in town, if not the best. If I had one druther with Bom Dough, it would be about the combo of tomato soup and gilled cheese (which comes on a choice of a baguette, bagel – yes, they make those too – or brioche bun, which is what I had; can’t say no to brioche). And that would be: mustard, please. Grilled cheese, no matter what kind of cheese and with ham, bacon, onion or tomato or none of the above, just ain’t complete without yellow mustard, in this guy’s mind. That said, Bom Dough is a fantastic little outpost in Inman to read, write, work remote or coffee chit-chat.

At Bom Dough you can order through a scan code at your table for food to magically appear or at a kiosk station; if you like interacting with the friendly help, you can order from the coffee bar. Ordering at the table is great in that you can check out, pay and tip, then roll at your leisure.

Bom Dough (1271 Cambridge St., Inman Square, Cambridge) 


Tom Meek is a writer living in Cambridge. His reviews, essays, short stories and articles have appeared in the WBUR ARTery, The Boston Phoenix, The Boston Globe, The Rumpus, The Charleston City Paper and SLAB literary journal. Tom is also a member of the Boston Society of Film Critics and rides his bike everywhere.