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Indrajit Lahiri Drops In At The Social Kitchen

Indrajit Lahiri

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 a sort of homecoming for me.

First things first, Holiday Inn has opened their first luxury hotel in Kolkata − just before City Center 2, New Town and we were invited for one of their menu sampling sessions in their coffee shop aptly called 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 room for complaints, s 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 recognize the face, but just couldn’t recognize the name. A totally blank look was probably there on my face for a seemingly long time and the suave chef once again called me… “…remember your first job, idiot?” And a floodgate of memories came pouring in. He was Suman (current executive chef for Holiday Inn Kolkata), but was a fresher just like I was when we joined one of the hottest properties in Kolkata in those days. We were both working in the food section – I was assigned to the Indian kitchen section and he, to the coffee shop. Now, years had passed by, I had shifted to the IT sector, but he had stayed and had imbibed a hell of a lot, and today, was leading one of the hottest properties in town. Anyway, it was nothing short of a reunion for me and he casually told me, “forget about the menu dude, let me surprise you” and who was I, a mere lesser mortal to deny that offer?

After that, the first dish arrived, which was, in my estimation, the best dish of this entire culinary experience. It was a Green Tea Cappuccino. As strange as it may sound, the result was simply jaw-dropping. The green tea was paired perfectly with the cappuccino froth and the flavors were aided with an occasional bite of a side of garlic bread. This was pure heaven.

The following dish was feta on Tomato rings which didn’t ring any gourmet bells for me. This was succeeded by the Murgh Malai Tikka which was another pleasant surprise. We all are used to this dish and it’s a very standard fare in any of our Indian restaurant visits. But, what differentiated this was the softness of the meat. The taste was exemplary due to the fact that the meat was cooked to precision and hence it just melted in the mouth. So, was the subsequent course of Paneer Wrapped with Dry Fruits. It looked and tasted divine. Hara-Bhara Kebab was next and in my humble opinion, veg food lovers would love this dish. The Tandoori Chicken was also tender and finely balanced with the accompanying spices.

Deep fried Calamari rings ensued and frankly, you can’t go wrong with this. The subtly-spiced batter complemented the chewy calamari meat and the result was a gourmand’s dream. I was missing my beer. But hell, it was a working day lunch for me.

After all these courses, we were kind of stuffed and as per the instruction of the chef, I had to tryout the dessert counter. The Honey Glazed Nuts was the new item presented on my plate but what was very special here was the Lamington, an Australian dessert consisting of diced sponge cake, rolled in fruity sauce (or chocolate) and sprinkled generously with desiccated coconut. (It was the firangi version of our very own Sandesh), and needless to say, it was a hit!

The buffet is priced at Rs. 900 (all inclusive) for lunch and Rs. 1000 (all inclusive) for dinner and is quite a steal for the spread that was on offer.

Will I come back again? Hell yeah. I need to taste the full buffet again. Bon appetite !!!

For the full version of the text please refer to: https://moha-mushkil.com/2017/06/01/flavors-of-the-east-at-holiday-inn/. Indrajit can also be reached at indrajit.lahiri@ymail.com