For quite some time me and hubby was planning to go out for a dinner night out to Oh! Calcutta, but for some or the other reason it was postponed. Finally on our anniversary yesterday we decided to dine at Oh! Calcutta. I have been to Oh! Calcutta twice before, once in Kolkata and Pune each. Needless to say both the times the food and service had impressed me. That was the reason we selected this for our anniversary dinner over any other glitzy restaurant with poolside, jazz et all. And being a probashi bangali , elaborate bengali household recipes which we seldom get to taste now-a-days would always appeal us.
Location: Oh! Calcutta is conveniently located in Dhole Patil Road, where there are so many other food joints big and small that anyway it’s a food lover’s paradise. Right from authentic Maharashtrian fare, to Parsi delicacies, Bengali flavors, Italian spread or the quaint roll stalls at the street corner - the place is a melting pot of all cultures and cuisines. There are two towers City Point and City Tower in the premises and Oh! Calcutta is located in City Tower. Ample parking space is available for cars.
Ambience: Frankly speaking, the decor is a bit dull if you are looking for a romantic date with your better half. Done in cream and dark brown, it looks classy but I am afraid youngsters may not like it that much. The furniture was very elegant and tasteful. The lone almirah that stands in between had many books of famous bengali authors on display and models of vintage cars. But something that itched me was Shibram Rochonaboli was kept upside down and no one bothered to fix it. Instrumental Rabindrasangeet renditions played in the background.
Food: This is the best part of the deal. We went on a weekday night so buffet was not available. We had anyway decided to order Ala Carta only so no issues in that. I loved the look of their menu. A bit of history here and there, some itty bitty black and white sketches thrown in, and some pictures of traditional bengali ingredients made it so pretty that I almost wanted to take the menu home with me! There is a good number of options available under each section - Veg Starters, Non-Veg Starters, Veg and non veg entrees, Rice, Roti, Sweet dish and both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. So there is enough options even for vegetarians. We ordered the following from the menu -
1. Drink : Chowringhee ( Rs 140/ per glass)
2. Starters : Bhetki Gondhoraj (Regular (2 piece) - Rs 290)
3. Dal : Bhaja Muger Daal (Regular - Rs 150)
4. Vegetable : Mochar Ghonto (Regular - Rs 235)
5. Rice: Gobindobhog Bhat (Large - Rs 130)
6. Non-Veg Entree: Kosha Mangsho (Regular (4 piece) - Rs 365)
7. Sweet Dish : Nolen Gurer Ice cream ( Rs 140/per scoop)
Thanks to Manik Sharma's review, we decided to try the mocktail Chowringhee. A frothy, fizzy combination of Kiwi crush, lemonade, vanilla ice cream and lots of powdered ice. It was served ice cold and with time as the ice melted it tasted better and better.
For starters the Bheti Gondhoraj was finger licking good. King of Lime or Gondhoraj lebu has always been my favorite. This steamed and delicately flavoured Bhetki fillet with Gondhoraj juice and zest was cooked to perfection. It oozed of subtle flavors and melted in mouth. Brought back memories of childhood when Gondhoraj was a staple in everyday meal.
For the main course we ordered Gobindobhog rice instead of Basmati as we don’t get Gobindobhog rice in Pune anywhere. But the rice was not as flavorful as we get in Kolkata. Dont know maybe the other sides were so good we missed on the rice flavour. We wanted to go for Cholar daal but the waiter suggested we go for bhaja muger daal instead as it would go better with rice. The daal was very good. They used "Shona" muger daal I believe which is a specialty of Bengal and more aromatic than the regular moong daal. Both me and hubby love Mocha or banana flower. But the Mochar Ghonto was the only preparation in the entire meal that disappointed us. It was over boiled and tasted more like mashed potatoes with too much ghee. The exact flavor of mocha got hidden by the overuse of ghee.
Next came the non-veg preparation. Pot roasted Mutton with traditional spices or Kosha Mangsho. I love mutton and at any given chance would order mutton dishes at restaurants. But every restaurant had left me disappointed in pune apart from Oh! Kolkata. The portion was small as per the price but the dish was mind blowing. Succulent mutton chunks braised in traditional spices was also a melt in the mouth delicious. My hubby who never eats gravy of any chicken or mutton curry licked off every bit of the curry. The mutton was so well cooked that the spices seeped into even the bone marrow. It was sheer bliss is all I can say. Can go to Oh! Calcutta only for the mutton.
The last part of the meal was Date palm jaggery Ice cream or Nolen gurer Ice cream. The name itself was quite intriguing. One scoop of peach colored ice cream topped with melted jaggery running down the sides. One bite of it and we felt in love with it. It tasted more like bhapa chanar sondesh crumbled into thick cream and tasted awesome. The raw appeal of Nolen gur made it more delectable. If we weren’t so full, I would definitely had ordered an encore.
The entire meal was so very good that we wished we could go on eating forever.
Service: The service was impeccable. The waiters were very courteous. Though non-intrusive they were always there to ask if we need anything more or how was the taste of the dish etc. They even explained what the dish was made of, which is quite useful for people who are having Bengali food for first time. Since it was our anniversary I had just asked the waiter if he could arrange something special for us. He said he could get us a cake, but I really didn’t want to gorge on a cake after having such a heavy lunch, so I had said no. But at the end of the meal they anyway surprised us with a vanilla cream cake. It was a silver lining to our anniversary dinner. They even parceled the rest of the cake for us as we were so full we couldn’t eat more than a slice of the cake.
Price: The price was of course on the higher side. A meal for two lightened our wallets by Rs 1727 (Vat, Service tax included). This was after I got 15% Corporate discount. But then again the service and food offered makes up for the price. Once in a while its okay to indulge in such mouthwatering dishes.
Cons: 1. No parking space available for Bikes.
2. Overall the ambience was elegant but very serious. I dont think to uphold Bengali culture essence a place cannot be made a bit more lively. Would have preferred a better lighting, maybe a few Pot chitros or face of Durga or basher kulo, chandmalas on the walls would have looked nice. And more photographs of maybe Kumartuli, howrah bridge and other famous places of Kolkata would have added to the charm. And instead of playing just Rabindra sangeet maybe a nice change would be to play a few famous band songs, or songs by contemporary Bengali artists.
3.Buffet not available on weekdays. This is a big con for me as I wanted to take my team for a luncheon on a Friday.
4. Price would burn a hole in your pocket.
To summarize, go there for the food alone. Definitely worth a try for special occasions.
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