During my childhood, we used to stay in Bhowanipore and shifted to CIT Road during my class 11. And during those times, eating out was not really a regular affair. But somehow, my father used to take us out on dinner every month, at least once. And that evening used to be a gala evening for the three of us. Mom used to put on her best saree, father used to flaunt a good shirt and there was this fat little kid who was just happy being out of that house, with the people he loved the most. Being from Bhowanipore, Part Street was just 30 min away and that was when I was taken to Trincas. Some three decades later, this blog post is more of a trip down memory lane.
Location and ambiance:
Once someone enters the Park Street from Chowringhee, on the left, Park Hotel can’t be missed with that huge porch. And in the same building, there lies Trincas. Many outlets are thee, including the legendary Kwality, with each one having a story to tell. But Trincas is the first one. Paid parking is available at Part Street and it’s just at a stone-throw distance from the Metro and bus stop. Please check the location on Google Maps here. The interior has a very classic Kolkata look. High ceiling, Sofas and those long lass windows- Trincas has its very own old-Kolkata charm.
During the pre-COVID days, live bands used to perform here, including some famous names- Usha Uthup being one of them. But in the new-normal scenario at Trincas, safety measures are in place. While entering, guest temperatures are being checked and noted. We are supposed to scan the Bar codes on the table and get redirected to the digital menu card. While it seemed a little awkward to visit the age-old place and adapt to this system, but this is the new normal. Luckily, the menu items are not changed and that definitely is a saving grace.
Starter and …… coffee
The first item that we ordered, was a Bekti with Tartare Sauce. And I must confess, my partner almost snapped those lovely Bekti fingers (barring one, which I got to get) even before I got to click them. There were 6 quite fat and large Bekti fingers- nicely crumbed and quoted, served with a good amount of thick hand-cut potato fries and Tartre sauce. Nothing to complain about.
And as it was a weekday lunch, I ordered some black coffee. And voila, it was a time machine ride. Nowadays, we are used to French Press and all those fancy stuff, with coffee, served in mugs. But still now, personally, I love my coffee being served in a pot, with a proper cup and saucer- like they did it here. The coffee was decent- nothing outstanding and not bad. Considering the point, that it had cost us just 65/-, I simply loved it.
And the main course
After the fiasco with the fish finger, we decided to order the main course. And as the server suggested, we ordered for the classics- Chicken a La Kiev and Bekti Florentine. Chicken a la kiev for me, and Bekti for my partner, or was it the other way round. Chicken a la kiev is one of the dishes, which my father used to fool me, during my childhood. Every time I thought it as a giant chop and as soon as I attacked it with the knife, liquid butter used to attack me back. I still can hear that laughter of my father and the false scolding of my mother, on why he hadn’t warned me.
Okay, for the first-timers, chicken breast (patted with herbs) is flattened with a hammer, and garlic flavored butter is put inside and kept to be frozen. The entire piece is then put in a cone-shaped beauty and kept to be frozen. It’s then crumbed and deep-fried. Served with some mashed potato and butter-sauteed vegetables, it’s a delight to have. And the difference between a good and an average a la kiev, is the softness of the chicken breast, or rather the flattening of it. Butter makes it soft from inside and a herb-brushing takes it to a different level.
Chicken a la kiev is a dish of confused identity. And it’s always a confusion on the origin. Whether it’s a French dish, or something improvised by the Russian chefs, is not very well documented. It’s said that, during the 18th century, Russian chefs have adopted many techniques from the French Haute Cuisine. And this dish maybe one of the outcomes. Few say, the dish is a variation of the Russian delicacy Pozharsky cutlets, where butter is mixed with minced meat- to get a juicy finish.
And according to the Wikipedia article here, The Russian Tea Room Cookbook notes that chicken Kiev was “most likely … creation of the great French chef Carême at the Court of Alexander 1st, Marie Antoine Careme spent just several months of the year 1818 in St Petersburgh. But whatever is the origin, this dish is simply loved by us, all.
Well, I must talk about the mashed potato served at Trincas. No, it’s not something out of the world. But the beauty of having some mashed potato with a la kiev, is you need to mix the potato with the butter that came out. Mix it with some green peas and yes, that’s a guilty pleasure.
I am someone who, to date, can’t tolerate that rubbish named as Basa. Well, you may like it and my preference may not match yours- but I’ll stick to my point here. Basa, with its glassy watery texture, is a strict no-no for me. But luckily, they serve Bekti (as the name suggests) for the fish Florentine here. It’s a beauty. Thick Bekti fillets are stuffed with spinach and baked in a creamy white sauce. Now, the trick here is to determine the quantity of sauce. Put in some more of it, and the whole thing becomes a lousy lump. And with less sauce, the dish loses its taste.
The saying goes that Fish florentine it has been originated from Florence. It’s basically a dish with spinach. Maybe some champion somewhere thought of a smart way of making his/ her kids eat some spinach, with this dish. And please remember, not everybody watched the series, Popeye the sailor. Traditionally, putting something egg/ meat on a bed of spinach gave the dish this name. From the website culinarylore, let me quote the lines here:
” The origin of the term comes from a French queen named Catherine de Médicis, who was born in Florence and, in 1533, married Henri (Henry), the second son of King Francois I. Henry was the heir-apparent to the French throne, known as the dauphin in those days. When Francois I died in 1547, Catherine became the Queen of France. Quite ruthless, and justifiably paranoid, she imported her own cooks from Florence, and also is said to have brought along spinach seeds to grow.
She had her cooks make dishes with spinach, and this practice became popular enough that it came to be known as spinach à la Florentine, to denote the origin of the vegetable, and then eventually simply Florentine. Catherine is also claimed to have introduced many aspects of table etiquette to France, and to have introduced the fork to that country.”
My partner gobbled some before I could take a clear pic, but still, I managed to click some of it. Some good thick fish fillets can’t really go wrong. And it’s the same thing here. They served it on a bed of rice. So, we can call it a continental version of rice and fish. Bad joke, I know… but chalta hai.
We didn’t really have the appetite to go for some dessert at Trincas. And rather thought of another round of coffee. Well, the lunch was fabulous, and considering the quantity and taste, it was pretty value-for-money as well. Trincas has always been a slice of nostalgia for me and it’ll always remain so. I feel like talking about other items from Trincas as well, but maybe I’ll keep on updating this post in the future. BTW, some chocolate mousse is also something you should try, if you’re looking for some dessert.
Bon appetit !!!
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