We pulled into the plaza with barely a few seconds left to spare and quickly spotted the bold, green sans-Serif outline.
In all fairness, this was a subtle, reasonable approach from the establishment to maintain its sophisticated, swanky vibe without seeming upfront and offensive.
Members of waitstaff donned uniforms in the form of white button-downs and black aprons, while the hostess, who was less frequently seen until the late evening hours, sported a muted cardigan and pencil skirt ensemble.
In addition to an enticing selection of mains and share-ables, the restaurant also featured an extravagant assortment of alcoholic beverages, ranging from wines to whiskeys to exclusive fusion cocktails (think: Long Island Iced Chai).
Also available were non-alcoholic concoctions, though this was not discovered until later.
Lamb isn't my preferred type of protein, and given that orangecane and I weren't exactly ravenous, a single appetizer was selected for sharing. The Jalebi Chaat was an intriguing, multi-toned tower bursting with individual yet cohesive characteristics. Its base was a mix of unsalted chickpeas and finely chopped white potato; at its peak was a savoury, deep-fried ring - a crispy pretzel known as a jalebi. Pomegranate seeds, puffed rice, tangy yogurt, and drizzles of orange- and green-toned chutney finished off the dish.
One could have easily consumed the plate as a cold entrée, for the underlying carby components were extremely filling. Although we could have easily gone for several more spoonfuls, our stomachs signalled a pause in preparation for the mains.
I could not quite make out the supposed minced eggplant nor cranberries, though the paneer was an indismissable element. Lighter in profile than mozzarella or Parmesan, yet a little less fluffy than ricotta, the unaged South Asian cheese provided an interesting twist to the tried-and-true pasta many Canadians have grown up acquainted with.
True to their claims, Nimbu Tawa Fish was a dish that skillfully incorporated a creamy, savoury spice-laced sauce with a flash-fried boneless fillet. Impeccably moist and tender on the inside, yet bold and well-textured on the outside, the lean source of protein provided wonderful contrast against the tawa masala.
Specifically made milder to suit our - well, my - palette, a decent amount of heat could be perceived towards the back of the mouth, nearing the throat, with each forkful. It was far from unbearable - much the opposite, really. The carefully adjusted amount of spice enabled even those that were unaccustomed to consuming pungent, herb-laden items to relish and enjoy the various seasonings that participated in its creation.
Important to note would be the substantial number of vegetarian dishes on offer. This should not be confused with the presence of greens, however. Leafy vegetables were scarce if not nonexistent in the items that we chose; in their place were heaps among heaps of seasonings and herbs, at a level where the average diner may suffer from surges of internal heat.
Similar to my previous experience at Kūkŭm Kitchen, I deem it necessary to warn fellow patrons of potential side effects due to internal heat imbalance. Personally, I could have done without skin sensitivities and hoarse throat, but these situations may not happen for everyone. Should this be of pressing concern, be sure to consume sufficient leafy greens prior to dining and perhaps indulge in several cups of green tea.
Instead of gender-separated stalls, the bathrooms merely adopted two spacious accessible stalls - one of which was noticeably cleaner than the other.
The ceiling was tall, hooks were present on the back of the door, and walls were adorned with a reflective, mustard-hued design. A basket consisting of mouthwash and thick paper napkins sat on the marble countertop, though disposable cups were nowhere in sight. Soap dispensers were automatic, but paper towel dispensers and garbage bins were not.
The most important factor to remark on would be the strong capabilities of the flushing apparatus.
More discussion and recommendations came about until we settled on the Mishti Doi Ke Roll and Parle G Pudding.
This custard-centric cup utilized a base of partially crushed Parle G cookies, alternating layers of smooth eggy sweetness, and a shot of Kahlua for added pizzazz. The shot of Kahlua was served separately, and could be poured on top of the pudding as one desired. It was observed that as the coffee liquer penetrated the pudding, fragments of the egg custard would separate, allowing the concentrated flavour shot to saturate the milk-and-wheat cookies beneath it, thus contributing a sense of harmony and cohesion.
The evening had progressed in an unhurried, well-coordinated manner. Members of the front line staff did not hesitate to elaborate on any of the menu items in detail, and were even quick to distinguish specific aspects of note (ie. particular herbs used in the flavouring process and exclusivity). Portions were enormous for our appetites, though it is precisely this trait that renders dishes suitable for sharing.
Lastly, I'd like to extend my gratitude and appreciation to (The) Kolkata Club for the wonderful visit and chance to embrace this relatively foreign cuisine!