Ahhh, I am frankly a little confused about what to write about THE Olypub. Rather where do I start while writing on it. Do I start on one of those lazy afternoons when we used to visit there for a quick shot of Gin (so that the smell is not there) or a few years back, to one of those evenings where it was probably the only place in Park street where I could have relatively cheap booze with good food. For me, Olypub is the epitome of Park St or is it the other way round? No, not the overpriced, upmarket cake joints, not those posh restaurants where you have to get in the queue just to get in- Oly is one of those places where you feel at home. Its memories revisited.
I won’t waste time on how to reach and when to reach, because once you reach Park St, Oly is one place which can not be missed. Bang on one of the poshest roads in town, it boasts of a place where one simpleton can have a few booze with one of their many signature dishes and yet not feel murdered because of the price. Let’s come down to point now.
Just once you get in, hit for the first floor and please be ready to get disappointed because, if it’s evening time, the place is full. The first floor is the place where all the sofas are there. There are 2 sections and I always prefer the inside one more, for the sheer coziness factor. Settle in and start asking for the waiter. Like any good old fashioned joint, waiters here carry an air of attitude and are not too keen to service. But, after 3-4 regular visits, the attitude will change and the actual service will start.
However, order for your booze (you’re not expecting any fancy cocktails here-right ??? ) and without wasting another moment, order for their Beef Steak. Please forget about the technicalities. Do you really care about whether its a perfect chateaubriand cut or why they never asked you whether you want a rare-done or medium done? Just enjoy the full done heap of meat (with the sunny side on top) that’ll be dumped in front of you with few boiled vegetables and upon asking the mustard bottle. With barbequed onions and mashed potato (they won’t serve you more), the sliced heap of beef meat heap is un-parallel.
Chicken liver fry
Off course, while cutting through the slices and gobbling it with beer, you’ll ask for the chicken liver fry. It’s again one of their specialties. Chicken liver, sauteed with chopped green chilly and onions in an oily-semi-juicy manner is definitely recommended. Shamelessly, I order a buttered toast with it, simply to polish off the gravy from my plate.
Well, now that you’re kind of settled, look around. You’ll find lots of your own selves around. At the next table, the kid, who’s constantly trying to be a hero in front of his girlfriend by gulping the small peg of vodka at one shot and choking at it and the lady looking around proudly – isn’t that you some 15 yeas back? See that table with the formally dressed middle aged gentleman (with mandatory tie off course) sitting with his lady colleague and enjoying some quality time, stolen from their mundane office life, isn’t this what you’re going to be in next 5 years?
Chicken A La Kiev
Ohhh, by this time, you’ve of course ordered for their chicken a la Kiev and it has arrived, so come back to present time and dissect the thing. Just when you put in your knife, the liquid butter starts coming out and you’ll start wiping it with the remaining piece of toast. See, toast is needed. They serve 2 pieces of a la kiev (god knows how at that price) and don’t mind sharing it with your partner. Experiencing foodgasm? Go for your first round of smoke and come back. Earlier, they allowed smoking inside only, but like all good things in life, that’s prohibited now. For ladies, you may smoke in the back-alley in front of the ladies restroom, yes, you do have certain things waived off in life.
Few other dishes
Come back and wait for the showstoppers. Yes, there are 2 of them and I guess you’ve placed the order before leaving. The grilled fish and the cocktail sausage platter. Thankfully, they still serve Kolkata vetki. The portion size is getting smaller day-by-day, but who the hell cares. It’s grilled to perfection and topped with some strange home-made sweet-tangy goddamn sauce, just to make the whole package more interesting. They serve some boiled vegetables (which I never had) and few pieces of fat, moist, homely finger chips- just the type your mom or wife prepares at home.
The cocktail sausage, on the other hand, is a lone warrior. They just come around 8 pieces, without any accompaniments. The bottle of mustard will come handy now, pour some on the plate, roll the sausage in it and with closed eyes, put the whole damn thing in your mouth. Wash it down again with some beer (I guess, like any gentleman, you’ve lost count of how many you’ve consumed and drained out in the ground floor men’s restroom).
Ok, you can sit for how long you want in here, enjoy, chill. They prefer a laid-back service style here. Watch the young rebel beside you, watch him tear apart the current government over those pegs of Old Monk rum, and smile a little. Recognize him? Didn’t you know somebody like him in your college days?
The hidden gem at Oly Pub named Patties
While coming down, don’t forget to pack some of the chicken/ mutton patties from the ground floor counter. They make some off the best stuff at around 25/- per piece in town. I would rather suggest, to pacify your wife, pack some- they tend to vanish fast.
Welcome to Oly Pub- the slice of old Calcutta (not Kolkata)…..
Bon apetit !!!
Comments and critics welcome.
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Love the piece. Waiting to be back in Kolkata and this time, make sure I hit this place. It is one place my husband will be most eager to take me to for like you said, it has been and still serving cheapest booze in town.