After a long time, this post will be not on the food or the service of the new kid in town (basically a global giant taking its first baby steps in our city of joy), but on the homecoming for me. First things first, Holiday Inn has opened their first luxury hotel in Kolkata- just before the City Center 2, new town and we were invited for one of their menu sampling session in their coffee shop, The Social Kitchen. In all these posh five star properties, the service from the very entrance of the hotel is generally top-notch and leaves no area to complain and so was the case here.
But, once we were settling in, I heard a familiar voice. “Hey dude, remember me ?” Now, let me be honest, I couldn’t place him immediately. I could recognice the face, the voice (off course age has taken its troll), but just couldn’t recognize the name. The blank look was probably there on my face for a slightly longer time, and the suave chef once again called me… “You bugger, remember your first job – idiot ? “ And a floodgate of memories came pouring in. He was Suman (executive chef for Holiday Inn Kolkata now) , but was a fresher just like me joining ont of the hottest properties in Kolkata those days, along with me. We both were working in the kitchen- myself in Indian kitchen and he, in the coffee shop. Now, years have passed by, I’ve shifted to pure IT business in due course of time but he had stayed there, learnt a hell lot and today, leading one of the hottest properties in town. Anyway, it was nothing short of a reunion time for me and he casually asked me, “forget about the menu dude, let me surprise you” and who was I lesser mortal to deny that offer ?
After that, the first dish came, which literally was the best dish of the whole meal. It was the Green Tea Cappuccino. As strange as it may sound, the result was simply jaw-dropping. The green tea was dominating but the cappuccino froth was there and paired with an occasional bite of the garlic bread slice, it was pure heaven.
The second dish was feta on Tomato rings and it was okay-ish. But, the next dish, the Murgh Malai Tikka was another surprise. We all are used to this dish and it’s a very standard fare in any of our Indian restaurant visitgs. But, what differentiated this was the softness of the meat. Taste was good no doubt, but the meat was done with such precision that it was just melting in my mouth. So, was the next Kebab. The paneer wrapped dry fruits (I forgot the name, sorry. It looked divine and so was the taste. Hara-Bhara Kebab was next and in my humble opinion, veg food lovers would love that. The Tandoori Chicken was soft again and finely balanced with spice.
Deep fried Calamari rings was next and frankly, it can’t go wrong. The subtly spiced batter complemented the chewy calamari meat and the result was heaven. I was missing my beer. But hell, it was a working day lunch for me.
After all of these, we were kinda stuffed and as per the instruction of the chef, I had to go to the buffet. The highlight of the buffet was the dessert counter. The honey glazed nuts was the new thing which I found that and a spoonful of it was there on my plate. And the usual fare of mousse and puddings- only a much larger spread than the regular ones. And, then there was something which is very very rare to find in the city- Lamington. Lamington is an Australian dessert. Basically, it’s dices of sponge cake, rolled in fruity sauce (or chocolate off course) and sprinkled generously with desiccated coconut. It was the firangi version of our very own Sandesh. These guys made it and needless to say, it was a hit.
Now, honestly, I couldn’t go beyond the dessert and some lovely chicken-asparagus soup in the very beginning and was full with the surprises of Chef Suman. The buffet priced at 800/- (All inclusive) for lunch and 900/- (All inclusive) for dinner is quite a steal for the spread that was on offer, is what I felt.
Will I come back again ? Hell yeah. I need to taste the full buffet again.
Bon apetit !!!
Comments and critics welcome.
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