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Wabisabi – A Bistro

Supriya Newar

For once, Gujarat’s loss is Bengal’s gain.

Phalguni Bhatt, a Fine Arts Graduate in Sculpture from the Baroda School of Arts along with her partner Saroj Sharma have jointly come up with a most interesting bistro-cum-creative destination called Wabi Sabi. Why Wabi Sabi? Wabi means simplicity and Sabi denotes beauty in age and wear. True to their name, Wabi Saabi is a simple and instantly cosy little bistro, tucked away in a quiet lane, just off Lansdowne Road, under the shade of an ample Gulmohar.

The entrance greets you with a neat, white pebbled patio that leads you onto a reception-cum billing area that is green with well-displayed terrariums and other ferns. The first half of the space is the merchandize area, which is well laid-out and makes for easy browsing. On sale are various kinds of artefacts and bric-a-brac from various parts of our country. There are colorful coasters and photo frames from Banaras, danglers that would add cheer to an otherwise dark spot at home, from Gujarat, lots of jewelry sourced from various places including Bengal. Scarves, dresses and sarees along with creative stationery also find space.

Adjoining the merchandise section is the cafe, completely done-up using locally available material such as shells, bamboo straw and wood. The menu consists of salads, soups, easy bites and slightly larger preparations, should you want something more wholesome. We tried salads and mock tails that were fresh and invigorating and from the light bites section, would particularly recommend the cigar rolls that come with pungent chutney and are very flavorsome.

The menu too, is a mish-mash of eats from all over: there’s mochar chop from Bengal, handvo from Gujarat and Sabudana Vada from north India. Other than the Indian variety, you could also choose from canapés, pita breads, sandwiches and pasta. For larger bites, you could choose from rice dishes such as Risotto, Bhutanese Ema Datshi or black rice in rosemary sauce.

The co-founders have also been giving out their space for creative workshops and other performances. They’ve recently concluded an art workshop for children and on the cards is a tribute to Bob Dylan.

 “It is really about finding perfection in imperfection. We’ve also been very conscious of using as much local flavors as possible, both in our food as well in our merchandise” says Phalguni, who is the creative spirit behind the enterprise whilst her partner Saroj looks after the administration and logistics.

The next time you’re catching up with a friend in South Calcutta, try hopping into Wabi Sabi. It’s likely to enliven your rendezvous.

Address: 10, Dr. Sarat Banerjee Rd, Near Lake Post Office, adjacent to Sarat Bose Road. (HDFC Bank lane)  Kolkata 700029. Ph: 40013578. Open every day. (Vegetarian)