Citi presents Gourmet Flavors

I was delighted when the FBAI (Food Bloggers Association of India) invited me to participate in “Citi presents Gourmet Flavours” , Kolkata. I was sent across a list of participating restaurants all of which are dishing out great food in the City of Joy and finally decided to choose Saffron at The Park simply because it had been quite some time since I had dined there and they have served up some excellent fare in the past.

We headed there for dinner and settled down at our table. The Service as always was very good and extremely warm. The menu comprised of a three course set meal where you could select either a soup and starter or two starters, a main dish accompanied by staples and a dal and finish off with a dessert. It was a great deal and there were more than enough options on offer.

We decided to go for two starters and skip the soup. Since we were two of us we had the opportunity to order a greater variety and taste more of the items. I ordered the Mini Cheese Kulcha served with a delicious dip and the Mahi Malai Tikka which is a Tandoor Smoked Bekti in a Cheese and Cream Marination , Lamb Gilauti Kebab and Murg Reshmi Tikka a delicate and aromatic boneless chicken kebab was ordered by my fellow diner. The Kulchas and the Fish were brilliant and totally stole the show. The chicken was very tasty and perfectly done. We found the Gilauti slightly dry though. Overall the starters were really good, top notch stuff and to put it simply we pigged out on them.

For our mains though there were a lot of options we went for Kosha Mangsho , a classic and traditional Bengali Style Lamb Curry and we paired that with Luchi and Cholar Dal from the Staples Section. My co-diner ordered a Chicken Tikka Lababdar , a Dhaba Style Boneless Butter Chicken and we decided to pair that with the Dhaba Dal ( Kali Dal ) and Butter Naan which made for two classic combinations from the North and from the East. The food was brilliant. The Kosha Mangsho was superb perhaps the best that I have had in Kolkata in a long long time , perfectly tender meat and spices balanced to perfection. The slightly sweet Cholar Dal and the yummy luchi’s made for an outstanding combination which we thoroughly enjoyed. Next up we ate the Chicken Lababdar which was very good along with the delicious Dhaba Dal and a Butter Naan but alas we were too stuffed to do it justice. We ended by ordering a Tutti Frutti and Bombay Style Kulfi and Falooda both of which were very good but being a Tutti Frutti fan I was slightly more inclined towards it.

Overall an amazing meal, the Fish Tikka and the Kosha Mangsho were the undoubted standouts for us. My compliments to the Chef and his Team for a wonderful dinner.

Citi presents Gourmet Flavors is an opportunity to sample the best gourmet meals at your favorite restaurants. Choose from a bouquet of options across Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Pune, Hyderabad, Chandigarh & Ahmedabad.

Impeccably curated by top chefs, the Gourmet Flavors menu is bound to tantalize your taste buds and keep your palette asking for more. Book a table now at your favorite restaurant in your city. From August 19th to 28th, 2016. Kolkata Rates Rs.950/-*for Citi Cardholders and Rs.1,150/-* for non-Citi cardholders. Taxes as applicable. Book your table now. Website link http://www.gourmetflavours.in/index.php for all other details and bookings.

Thankyou FBAI for inviting us we had a wonderful meal , hope we have many more such events in Kolkata.

 

DISCLAIMER : The Culinary Commentator was invited by FBAI for this event

Picture Credits : Suneha Saha


Saffron - The Park Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Oodles of Noodles at Ban Thai

Thailand is possibly one of my favorite holiday destinations and one of the most important reasons is the absolutely splendid food you get there. I don’t know if it’s the warmth of the people, the delicious food or the holiday mood but I have very happy memories of all my visits there. There are very few places in Kolkata that serve up good Thai food and Ban Thai certainly tops that list in my opinion. The décor is exquisite and you feel transported to Thailand as soon as you enter. The service as with Oberoi Hotels is exemplary and the staff always go out of their way to make you feel cherished and pampered. Naturally when I was invited as one of the bloggers for their Öodles of Noodles” Festival I was rather delighted.

Thai cooking places emphasis on lightly prepared dishes with strong aromatics and a spicy edge. It is known for its complex interplay of at least three and up to four or five fundamental taste senses in each dish or the overall meal: sour, sweet, salty, bitter, and spicy. Good Thai food is like a symphony in your mouth by a maestro. It’s always good to meet fellow food enthusiasts and all were familiar faces so with lots of banter to and fro we settled down to a fabulous meal.

We began our repast with the Appetizers. Deep Fried Prawns wrapped in Glass Noodles, Stir Fried Fish Dumplings with Thai Chilli on Crispy Noodles and for the vegetarians there was a Tofu version of the Fish Dumplings. Loved the starters the Prawns had great texture, crisp and golden on the outside and beautifully succulent on the inside they tasted as good as they looked. The Fish Dumplings were very good, loved the flavor of the Stir Fried Dumplings and the crispy noodles with the hint of thai chilli … the Tofu Dumplings were wonderful and our meal was off to a great start. The soup followed and for me it was one of the highlights of our meal, it was Cucumber Stuffed with Chicken and Glass Noodles in a Clear Broth which was sublime. Probably one of the nicest soups I can recall having in a long time and I would go back simply for the soup alone. Loved it!

For the main course we were served three kinds of noodles. Stir fried Glass Noodles with Vegetables in Chilli Garlic Sauce which was very good, really enjoyed it and love the gentle heart of the chilli garlic sauce. The Green Curry with Chicken and Rice Noodles was outstanding and the best I have had in recent times ….. a medley of flavors perfectly blended to tantalize your taste buds. I decided to save the best for the last, the Stir Fried Seafood and Soba Noodles with Chilli Garlic and Hot Basil stole the show for me. The spice was like a wave which began gently and then delivered quite a punch , the sea food used was an assortment of Calamari , Prawn and Fish all superbly fresh and cooked to perfection , the hints of garlic and basil added great dimensions to the flavor and complexity of the dish. I would be content to go back simply to eat this and nothing else.

Along with all this delicious food we were delighted to sample their Indie Spirit Menu as well which showcased six unique and specially created Cocktails made of various sprits like Vodka, Gin, White Rum and Dark Rum paired with unique ingredients and beverages that are rather shall we say “desi” like chai, lassi , coriander , ginger , tamarind , betel and gulkand among others. I was rather fascinated and found some of the combinations really good. Special mention to the quirky names which I was quite tickled with Chaitini, Vodka Shikanji , Sharabi Lassi , The Herbal Way , Southern Somras and Mojito Banaraswala. They all tasted great but my pick of the lot would be the Southern Somras which was made with Dark Rum, Apple Juice, Tamarind and Jaggery which was brilliant and the majority of us singled it out as our favorite cocktail.

It was quite an afternoon, great conversation, wonderful food and some delightful cocktails. We really could not ask for more. Thank you to the wonderful Team at Ban Thai headed by Chef Clae and the Management of The Oberoi Grand for hosting us. The fantastic “Oodles of Noodles” Festival is on till month end. If you like Thai food I suggest you don’t miss out on this one.

 

Picture Credits : Suneha Saha

DISCLAIMER : The Culinary Commentator dined as a guest of The Managenent.


Baan Thai - The Oberoi Grand Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Paris Café

Charming is the word that comes to my mind when I think of Paris Café. It truly does have a Parisian vibe and is a lovely place to drop in for coffee or a bite. What was an unexpected surprise was the wonderful dinner that we had. I had visited the newly opened Paris Café in Alipore for our monthly Kolkata Food Fanatics Meet – Up. When twenty food enthusiasts descend on a place to eat themselves silly it must be daunting for the management but I had a delightful meal that certainly surpassed my expectations.

We began our evening with some Mocktails , on offer were  Watermelon green apple freezer , Ginger lemon honey iced tea , Mango mojito , Lemon iced tea. I tried them all but my favorite was the Watermelon and Green Apple Freezer …. refreshing, tangy with just the right hint of sweetness I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Then the onslaught of food began and we were served up Involtini de fungi which I loved though I am not crazy about mushrooms, Skinny fries with truffle oil and parmesan which I devoured because I do love my potatoes and cheese. Next up were some yummy Chicken croquettes which were appreciated by everyone and the hit of the evening for many of us, butterfly prawns with chili rocket salad. Lovely fresh prawns cooked to perfection served up on a bed of salad that was yummy with some lovely dips …. Absolute heaven!

The main course was served and we dove into the yummy dishes. Cannelloni in saffron sauce was vegetarian but beautiful, the silken pasta sheets with just the right amount of sauce and the subtle delicate saffron was a winner. This was followed by a Spaghetti Aglio Olio with feta and asparagus which I did not sample but the vegetarians seemed rather happy with. I am glad I kept a bit of space because the Grilled bhetki fish(barramundi or Asian sea bass) served with cous cous and the Mustard chicken steak served on a bed of pasta were both brilliant. The fish was to die for and the cous cous was wonderful, I don’t care for cous cous so I was surprised to find that I could not stop eating it. The Chicken Steak was perfect , juicy sliced chicken breasts served up on a mound of perfectly done pasta.

We ended this fabulous meal with a sinfully delicious dessert platter comprising of Creme brûlée , Red velvet cheesecake , Salted caramel chocolate dome , Saffron panna cotta and a Macaroon. All of them were very good but the Salted Caramel Dome was outstanding and writing about it just makes me want to go back for more. The only fault I could point out was that the sugar crystals on top of the Crème brulee was not fully caramelized. Other than that it was a great meal and I would unhesitatingly recommend it to one and all. We packed some Rainbow Cake that looked lovely for home and enjoyed it the next day.

Sneha Singhi the lady behind Paris Café was there personally throughout our meal in the kitchen making sure we were served up all this wonderful food. Service was warm and though the staff was a bit overwhelmed with all of us they smiled through service and did their best to keep up. Overall a lovely experience !

 

Picture Credit : Suneha Saha


Paris Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Jamva Chalo Ji …. A Parsi Pop Up

Over the centuries since the first Zoroastrians arrived in India, the Parsis have integrated themselves into Indian society while simultaneously maintaining or developing their own ethnic customs and traditions. Parsi Cuisine has its own distinctive tastes and flavors and is not widespread except in places like Mumbai and parts of Western India. In Kolkata there is not much of it available except at the Parsi Dharamshala or at a Parsi Friends home. However this year suddenly its popularity has grown and I have come across three pop-ups / festivals in recent months and it feels great being a Parsi and having people sample and appreciate the food I love and have grown up eating.

Naturally I was delighted when Zomato invited me as a guest of Jamva Chalo Ji , The Parsi Pop Up Restaurant being held at The Stadel just before Navroz , the Parsi New Year. I was even more excited because it was curated by a Parsi lady , the gracious Mrs.Nilufer Babaycon. The evening was hosted by the elegant Mrs.Rita Bhimani who went out of her way to spend time with all the guests and took great care to see that everyone was well looked after. The dinner was also attended by a number of members of the Parsi Community and many others. Jamva Chalo Ji literally translates to “Come lets go and eat” so it was a perfect name for the Pop-up.

The menu was packed with lots of favorites Mutton cooked with Apricots and Figs , Chicken with Potato Juliennes , Egg and Green Chutney Chops , Rotlis (Flatbread) , Chicken Dhansak , Mutton Kebab’s , Patra ni Macchi ( Fish Steamed in Banana Leaves) accompanied by the Kachumbar Salad and a delicious Mango Chutney. The very traditional Ravo was the sweet note the meal was to end on.

We were served a welcome beverage of iced-tea which was very refreshing and then settled down to chat while we waited for the buffet to start service which it did shortly. Our meal began with Egg Chutney Chop which we all enjoyed ( Hey I am Parsi and I love my eggs ) and the Pea and Potato Chop ( ditto for potatoes ) . We also had some of the delicious Mutton with Figs and Apricot called Jardalu ma Ghosht with the Rotlis. The Chops were very nice and I loved the Mutton which was well cooked and was full of flavor. What won my heart are the rotlis which was a lovely touch and authenticated our culinary experience further.

Next up I had some Sali Marghi or Chicken with Potato Juliennes , I would have liked more Sali but otherwise enjoyed the dish with my Rotli and another Egg Chop. By now I was rather full but no Parsi is going to miss out on their Dhansak so I headed back to the buffet and served myself some Brown Rice and Chicken Dhansak with the Mutton Kebab’s and Kachumbar Salad. I absolutely loved the Mutton Kebabs these are similar to Minced Mutton Kofta’s which are deep fried. They are the favored accompaniment to Dhansak and I really enjoyed it. We ended our meal with some very nice Ravo which was well made and not too sweet.

Service was warm and The Stadel Management took a lot of care of their guests. A special thanks to Milee Banerjee for her hospitality and a big shout out to Team Zomato for inviting me, you made this Parsi a very happy bawi by stuffing me up with some lovely food. Here’s hoping to see more such pop-ups in our City of Joy so the cry of Jamva Chalo Ji can be heard more often.

Picture Credits : Suneha Saha

Disclaimer : The author was invited by Zomato and The Stadel


First Innings Multicuisine Restaurant - The Stadel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fabelle…..The Luxury Chocolate Boutique

If you love chocolate as much as I do then trust me Fabelle will become your little bit of heaven in Kolkata. A lot of people like chocolate but for me chocolate is not just something I eat and enjoy but something I feel. Good chocolate speaks to me and it has been a true friend, cheered me up when I am down , celebrated happy moments and successes , helped me express my emotions of love, friendship , gratitude or apology to people I care about. We don’t really realize how much a part of our lives chocolate has become but we use it as a bribe, a peace offering or just because we feel like having some.

As I have grown older I have started to prefer dark chocolate. I love the slightly bitter intensity of flavors it brings to my taste buds and I certainly prefer it to Milk Chocolate which I loved when I was younger. Is it maturity that makes me feel this way? After all as you grow older you realize that life too is bitter sweet just like dark chocolate!

After reading the above I am quite sure you would understand my blissful glee when ITC Sonar and Calcutta Instagrammers were kind enough to invite me for the #KolkataWelcomesFabelle launch at the beautiful ITC Sonar. The excitement of all the invitees was palpable (like I said most people love Chocolate) and we were taken through an exciting and informative presentation by Team Fabelle.

They shared with us that this brand has been lovingly conceptualized and worked on for ten long years before they felt that they had met the exacting standards their mandate demanded. Fabelle offers us a range of exquisite chocolate creations such as Elements – intricately crafted pralines inspired by the elements of nature, Ganache – velvety soft cubes of exotic cocoas delicately churned with butter & fresh cream and As You Like It – personalized chocolate cup creations offering myriad possibilities of fillings and toppings. In addition, the Chocolate Boutiques will provide a range of exquisitely crafted Fabelle desserts and cocoa beverages, created live by the Fabelle Master Chocolatiers.

We were then divided into two groups and taken in turns to the tastefully elegant Fabelle Boutique located just opposite the Coffee Shop in the Hotel. The understated opulence perfectly matched what their stunning Chocolates represent.

I have to confess I was in chocolate heaven…. all around me like prized jewels were stunningly displayed chocolates. I could not wait to get my hands on these little beauties and I think Chef Ruby one of their highly trained and expert Chocolatiers realized my plight and the tastings began. We started with the Ganache (Creamy Milk and Rich Dark) and they were exquisite …. so beautifully made that all I needed to do was pop it in my mouth and it just melted into this decadent, fantastically flavored chocolate puddle and left me stunned. I simply could not believe that I was eating Chocolate that was made in India.

After a while of savoring the Ganache and taking some pictures I went ahead and tried a sample from their Faballe Element collection. These are inspired by the five elements Earth, Air, Water, Wood and Fire. I choose Water because I loved the sound of it …..  Dark Chocolate Mousse dripping with Acacia Nectar and French Sea Salt in a Dark Chocolate Shell. Just writing about it makes me want to go back for more, fantastic balance of flavors and loved the synchronization of flavors of the Acacia Nectar and French Sea Salt. An absolute winner it was and I will go back soon and try all the other Elements.

A few bloggers volunteered to try their hand at the As You Like It collection where they stepped into the open-kitchen section of the Chocolate Boutique and created their own chocolates using various combinations of fillings and toppings. It was great fun and it sure brings out the kid in all of us. Then came the Fabelleogram which was a software that measured our brainwaves after we had tasted these stunning chocolates. I was the first to volunteer and I was set up in front of the computer with some kind of device fitted on my head and made my very own Fabellogram. It was a unique experience and they gave us a framed copy as a memento of our very first Fabelle experience.

But wait there is more we were escorted back and the Master Chocolatiers displayed some fantastic and I mean out of this world Desserts and Beverages for us to sample. They looked divine and tasted heavenly and I know when I want to make a gloomy day brighter or celebrate something special this is where I will be heading. We had a Dark Chocolate Petite Cake with Fleur de Sel and that was gorgeous and the one I liked best but others like Black Forest Revisited were no less delicious and will be available at the Boutique. They also made us try a few beverages both hot and cold which I did not sample as I was too full but will certainly go back for as soon as possible.

 

Fabelle is undoubtedly and unhesitatingly the best chocolate available in the country and is a head and shoulders above anything else in the market at present. Its absolutely international class and that truly excites me. It made me feel very proud that we now have a home grown brand that can stand tall beside all the international giants.

 

DISCLAIMER : The Author was invited by Fabelle for this tasting but the views expressed are entirely their own.


Fabelle Chocolate Boutique - ITC Sonar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato