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Unforgettable – The New Menu Tasting At The JW Marriott, Kolkata

Gayatri Kohli

Vintage Asia at the JW Marriott, Kolkata can be considered to be a paradise for Passionate Foodies like myself who enjoy stylish, authentic, Asian food. The food is inspired by the Asian Culinary heritage serving both Thai and Chinese cuisines − showcasing two separate Thai and Chinese interactive kitchens. The restaurant decor has an eclectic combination of contemporary cosmopolitan lines and rustic Oriental textured wooden touches – a perfect ambiance for a great dining experience.

Begin a delicious journey to the heart of the Orient, with a brand new menu from Chef Tan, presenting exotic dishes crafted with skill and flavor.  As I understood from him, the restaurant promises strong emphasis on the finest, fresh and traditionally-sourced ingredients, with spices purchased directly from the Orient.

Photo Credits: Tehnaz Dastoor

The new menu promises to ensure a happy experience for the gourmand, keeping the signatures from the previous menu and adding around 30% new dishes.  The new menu has a modern element to it while still keeping the Oriental flavors in mind.  There are also more spicy Sichuan dishes which have been added, keeping the Kolkata profile in mind.

Photo Credits: Tehnaz Dastoor

At the on-start of our meal we were served with a long spout personalized tea service – a traditional Chinese Tea Ceremony to help cleanse the palate before the lunch service.

Photo Credits: Tehnaz Dastoor

We started with my most favorite dish with a stylish presentation − their warm salad consisting of crunchy Stir Fried Lotus Root, Snow Peas and Black Fungus.  Their amazing signature dim sums can be compared with the best restaurants of Hong Kong!

There are several star items in this category. The new menu will showcase the addition of vegetarian dim sums such as ‘Hot and Sour Xiao Long Bao’, ‘Ying Yang Yam Bean’ and non-vegetarian options such as ‘Pumpkin Prawn’ and ‘Chicken Spicy Coriander’. All the Dim Sums were served with their respective and amazingly unique sauces.  The mountain chilli and the burnt tomato and garlic sauces were my favorites, and they were definitely the differentiator.

Photo Credits: Tehnaz Dastoor

A must try was the ‘Star Anise Chicken Ball Soup’, the flavors of which are sure to impress you with its tasty chicken balls which made it a fabulous comfort food.

Photo Credits: Tehnaz Dastoor

Among the appetizers, we tried out the new additions - Wok Tossed Peruvian White Asparagus, with edamame which was very crunchy and coated with lime butter and the Thai Chili Grilled Prawn which had the perfect balance of spices.

Vegetarian dishes at Vintage Asia are to die for, and it is a paradise for Tofu lovers.  Other delectable vegetarian offerings, such as the ‘Hot Pot Tofu’ with onion, peppers and black bean sauce, ‘Wok Tossed Pak Choy’ with young corn, broccoli and Thai yellow bean paste make a special place in the new menu.

Among the curries, the‘Chiang Mai Prawn Curry’ was delightful with a rich coconut and spicy chili flavor complemented with subtle lemongrass notes to satisfy those curry cravings. Among the poultry and seafood sections, we tried out the new additions such as ‘Chicken Lemon Grass’ with Thai Red Chili, ‘Slow Cooked Hot Pot Duck’ with ginger and spring onions and ‘Steamed Bekti Fillet’ with vinaigrette fresh chili and black beans.

I definitely recommend the whole steamed bekti which had the right blend of chili and pungency with an amazing texture to the fish.

Photo Credits: Tehnaz Dastoor

Last, but not the least an assorted range of Rice and Noodles are also added to the new menu, with the Spicy Basil fried rice and Singapore style Mei Fun being my favorites.

The ‘Tub Tim Krob’ − Chilled jellied water-chestnut sweetened with coconut cream was the perfect ending for a delectable meal!

Photo Credits: Tehnaz Dastoor

All in all, full credit to Vintage Asia and Trina Mukherjee for a delicious extravagant handcrafted menu, presented with global sophisticated culinary expertise…..definitely an Oriental affair to remember!

Gayatri Kohli – Food Critic/International Food Consultant.  Educated at Le Cordon Bleu Paris and West Lake Culinary Institute in California to specialize in International Cuisines.  Also, has a BS in Food Science from the US with 25 years in the Food Science & Restaurant Industry. Blog – gayatrikohli.com.