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Salt House: Good Food and More…

Ritusmita Biswas

When you decide to take some moments out of your otherwise busy day, chill with your favorite people, enjoy the aroma of the fresh food, and maybe at times take refuge in solitary bliss – you can try out The Salt House, a unique addition to city's foodscape.

As you step into this partially open-air bistro which is Kolkata's 'newest European restaurant' as they fondly call it, you are bound to have a sense of déjà vu if you have ever been to Paris. The city of love is dotted with quaint cafes, and you need to sit in one of these charming places, sip your favorite wine or coffee and watch people go by. It is a leisure watch most cherished by Parisians and tourists alike, because Paris with its different colors unfolds before you. Salt House is no different; it desires to be the heart of everything that Kolkata is all about.

Conceptualized by Prachi Saraogi and Saloni Jhunjhunwala, founders of Kaos Gourmet, and re-imagined by Chef Auroni Mukherjee, Salt House aims to bring European food with a contemporary Kolkatan twist. The Bangaliana is intact with the introduction of local ingredients and some of the city's best produce, but is beautifully topped by European love. For instance your favorite Galda Chingri or lobster gets a Parisian touch as it is cooked and executed like the Parisian Langoustine and served with Aoli. Who would have thought that Kolmi shaak or Kolmi spinach finds its best friend in a juicy roast chicken served with the side of roast potatoes and creamed Poi? And as you sample the waffles or pancakes served with Nolen Gur instead of Maple Syrup, you soak in the European delight with a Kolkatan soul.

Plant yourself in the open-air bistro, and you will realize why Salt House merits a visit. It is the ambience which speaks louder than words. The all-day dining facility ensures that food is served for date-nights, working lunch, family celebrations and even gala events like birthdays or anniversaries. The combination of warm wood finish with geometric monochrome, accentuates the idea of space which enhances the quotient of tranquil. The clear glass panels enclosed spaces will allow you to experience the changing seasons of the city; it exudes warmth and looks every bit inviting. As you enter the restaurant, there is the indoor café that includes a coffee bar and an open wood-fired pizza kitchen. This will take you to the open-air courtyard and further down to the private lounge where you can host your own special parties.

Sit inside the indoor café and see the chef rustle up wood-fired pizza for you as you leisurely sip your classic Nitro Lemonade where the cold-brewed coffee twist makes the lemonade extra special. Or simply try out any of their signature cocktails like the Islay Old Fashioned where the Islay single malt with the tang of orange bitters hits all the right keys to add to your mellow mood. Else pick-up the evergreen Gin and Tonic with the fresh Gondhoraj – adding the Bengali twist to the otherwise standard cocktail drink.

So what would I recommend for you to try out at this café? The star for me has been the pork ragu with the handmade pappardelle and pan-seared bhetki; the freshness of the fish and the startling ingredients will just amaze you. And before you get over the European hangover, you will be completely bowled over by the slice of Bangaliana in the form of gondhoraaj; the smell of which has a different kind of nostalgia. A little bit of lobster love comes in the form of chingri, grits and chorizo. With such a spread, you will definitely have to have something sweet. You will be served doi, but let's not give any spoiler alert because like all the other dishes, this too has a sweet twist.

Prachi and Saloni understand that bringing good food to the City of Joy is not enough; the combination of entertainment and dinner adds to the experience. Salt House aims to bring back the concept of Dinner and Show. Jazz up your food with some soulful music or add a dash of humour with stand-up performances. A little bit of innovation and variety can never go wrong; Salt House encourages most popular home chefs and pop-up brands to come with special menus. The dinner table importantly should never be empty, and most importantly filled with dishes that speak of passion, finesse and gourmet food.

Have you ever wondered about the word 'relaxation'? It has a sense of laze about it and there is a certain amount of happiness attached to it. The art of doing nothing is something after all; because when your mind is at peace and your soul is satisfied, there is an unbelievable sense of calm. Next time, when you experience this sense of sapid at The Salt House, you realize that beautiful things in life come to those who wait for the perfect moment.