For a middle aged bong like me, Russia means primarily the Russian folktale books. When I was a kid, they used to come pretty cheap, like some 10/- a piece and I still remember myself returning from the bookfair with few packets full of them. But, times change and in my youth, another russian thing, where I found interest, is the russian TV channel TV-6 or TB-6. Let me be honest, it used to broadcast Tom-And-Jerry-show-For-Adults in midnight- literally. But, it took me long enough to understand that there can be another interesting segment called Russian Food and that’s not boring either. And, I’ll try to share about the last russian experience here- Russian Food at Kolkata.
The location is quite strange. It’s tucked inside (yes, literally) the Gorky Sadan near Minto Park. And once you reach the gate, the gatekeeper will give you a suspicious looks. Tell them you want to go to the cafe and you’ll be handed over a slip and shown the way. Once you’re over with the food experience, the condition is, you’ll need to get the slip signed from the waiter to come out of the premises. Don’t worry, the waiters themselves will ask you for the slip.
The ambience is pretty good, as you can check from the pictures and service, decent. The servers know what they’re serving and thankfully, are able to guide idiot clients like us, in the journey of Russian food. I was with the noted Food Blogger Sabyasachi da from Hyderabad on that day. He comes almost twice a year to Kolkata and this time, when we were discussing on which new joint has opened up, this one came to my mind (though not new really). A few phone calls and here we were discussing on what to order, with the server.
Now, personally with unknown cuisine, , I prefer to be an one-time idiot, than act like a know-all-fool and always prefer to seek the help of the restaurant team. And seems, it was the same with Sabyasachi da. So, as per his suggestion, we started with a cup of Russian Tea each. And, once it came, it was almost reddish-purple in color and I am not exaggerating. The tea was flavored with dry berry, or rather strawberry in particular and it had a floral aroma. Maybe, a slightly acquired taste was needed for that. And, simply out of curiosity, I asked for the dried ingredients. Now, I’ve seen, if I ask for something politely, most of the times, thinking of an idiot customer, restaurants do oblige and this was not an exception.
I was quite clear of the next dish. I had tasted it in their stall in Ahare Bangla food fair 2017 and it was Bliny. Now, bliny is one of those everyday russian snacks and they tend to stuff it with almost anything they can lay their hands on. It was basically pancakes, extremely soft and smooth textured pancakes and I chose the mushroom stuffing. Please remember reader, your first love making. Remember even her earlobes- yes, absolutely, those soft nice smelling part she loved you to chew on. These beauty was like that. Softest pancakes with creamy mushroom stuffing and topped with creamy white sauce. You can just have a portion of those and be happy. For a spicy person like me even, that non-spicy dish made my day. P.S: apart from mushroom, they make a killer ham and cheese bliny.
The next dish was suggested by them, the Uzbek Pilaf. Please pardon me, but again I’d request you to remember your long forgotten lovemaking session. Remember, her smell, the smell of the pheromone from her neck- yes, back of it, where she used to have goosebumps when you shoved your nose in. Yes, close your eyes and take a deep smell of this dish before you eat. It has got that wild smell of meat (I guess the pilaf is cooked in the mutton stock) and carrot. Basically, it’s a lovely heap of orange colored pulao with boneless chunks of meat and plenty of carrots. The taste was good, I understand, so was hers. But the smell was intoxicating. Seriously. Lovely dish and definitely recommended- especially, if you go there with your special someone, as it’ll make you wish to smell her once again- it’s that simple. Russian food is interesting, we told ourselves.
Again we asked them about our next dish. And, non-veg Pirozki (with chicken stuffing) was suggested. Pirozki was again one of those rustic oval shaped stuffed meat breads. For me, the bread was quite dry. But, the stuffing was again very very less spicy, and thankfully, they provided some tomato ketchup with that. Frankly, nothing special.
And, finally, while we were looking for our last main course of the day, we were served Pork Pelmenis. In layman’s language, they are kinda momos in strong thyme flavored stock, served with white sauce. Please go back to your session once again, I insist. Remember the kiss. You’ll remember, the taste of lipstick was kinda taste-less (flavored ones came up pretty recently or I was missing on something ? ) and main taste lied in your partner’s lips. It’s the same thing here. The pelmeni is cooked without or with very, very less salt, but once, you apply a layer of the white sauce on it, it suddenly transforms itself into something magical. Close your eyes (as you always did) and enjoy the subtlety and mildness. Now every beauty need not shout out loud. As they say, a good wheat colored skin hardly needs a tan.
And, as once every morning used to start with a previous night’s smelly wet kiss, this meal also needed a great ending and we were suggested the Sweet Bliny, and we were quite apprehensive. But, imagine the soft bliny getting stuffed with strawberry flavored cream and topped with pomegranate seeds. I still love strawberry, but for different purpose. However, this dessert was simply mind blowing and I’m ready to have a couple of them while reading someone’s eye on a lazy lazy afternoon there. The sweetness is not subtle and perfectly balanced and I loved them.
Everything must come to an end and the final bill made us actually happy. Will I come back again ? Hell yes … I’ve heard they make some lovely coffee there. So, definitely I will.
After long , I’ve found something worthwhile RUSSIAN, apart from those folktales and the mid-night channel. And, I miss the books, really …
Bon apetit !!!
Comments and critics welcome.
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