Is it Chinese – No
Is it Mughlai – No
Do you get Kosha Mangsho – No
The top three criteria to make a restaurant successful in Kolkata doesn’t get a tick, yet we are hopeful and ecstatic about Bodega Cantina Y Bar.
When we received the invitation for the launch party, we were little surprised the way the invitation was sent. We had a person handing us over the invitation along with a large red container with Bodega written on it and it had some litchi juice concoction and their signature marinated olives in a jar.
We couldn’t attend the launch as we had to leave for Bangalore the same night to attend the Britannia event of Masterchef Australia. The sense of incompleteness was there, as since the grand opening, all we heard were good things about it and somehow, the soft murmurs and whispers was that- this one is different.
We took the great risk of accepting the invitation on a Monday which is always a bad day at work for any office but now that we look back, we are happy that we took that decision.
With a different new look than any restaurant in Kolkata, one cannot miss the traditional yellow Taxi of Kolkata drawn as graffiti on the ground floor where the red container sheet doubles up as a wall. The ground floor is the Bar with a fun and groovy setting, where as the first floor welcomes you through innovatively designed staircase, old school style large windows and small collectibles from all across. Spread across 2700 sq feet this place has got all that is needed to hold the attention of the guests when it comes to interior.
In the mean time, the owners Akaash Jaiswal and Urvika Kanoi who is also the Head chef joined us for lunch. They want to make Bodega Cantina Y Bar a cool destination and if we consider the interiors as the appetisers which make you look forward to the main course, then the food over here is something to drool over. Kolkata needed a place like this for a long time, relatively small portions compared to Kolkata standards; the food from the curated menu to the cooking to the plating, has taken the place to a new level.
The drinks are nothing short of bombardment of spirits and flavours. Their signature cocktails are presented in quirky and cool glasses, from skull glasses to pineapple shaped ones; they are fun yet have the depth in the drinks. They have something called Bengali Mary, for heaven sake!! But it’s nothing short of intriguing and gorgeous made with kokum, kasundi and secret masala and chili. The dia de los meurtos (or commonly known as the day of the dead) is hibiscus tequila, orange, grenadine and made to order pineapple juice. But our favourite was the tiramisu martini, which was smooth and creamy and gave a super kick.
The food is equally captivating and encourages intuitive though process. It is all presented in tapas portions in small ceramic tapas plates, something Kolkata will have to get used to. However, the flavours are beautiful and every dish is simple yet shows a lot of finesse. The menu is from all over the world, from Spanish to Greek to Italian to Chinese to South East Asian to our own Indian food. The ingredients used are locally procured and the spices and the sauces are all home pounded and mixed or homemade. The flavours used are clever in ways but are true to the heart.
Chef Urvika, being very ecstatic about the menu and the effort gone into using honest ingredients informed us that there would be a change in the menu every three months with change in seasonal produce, bringing in more freshness to the food. Some of the dishes like fish kataifi, which is fish with lemon grass, brids eye chili in greek pastry with some sweet chili sauce and chick pea chorizo are explosions in the mouth with their subtle yet bold flavours. The lal maas tacos or the beef chili fry make bold statements in petite portions. Potato tornado, pickled chili prawns, patatas bravas, pot stickers, baos, lamb tagine, nasi goreng, all interesting names with intriguing taste and variety is what one will get here.
The desserts are to die for. From bodega bomba, the white chocolate sphere painted with raspberry sauce and with a lot going on inside the sphere, there is also the Bodega rocher, which is their take on the ferrero rocher served with nutella drizzle, to name a few. It is difficult to say which or pin point which dish stood out. When we retrospect, we were floored over by all of them equally.
Chef Urvika and Aakash were both quite excited about their Sunday brunch which they have just started and is a ‘not to miss’ opportunity to savour some of the highlight of the place. They have a huge range of delicacies, right from salads, some unique ones like a ceviche to breakfast delights like pancakes, eggs, crepe suzette. The main course has attractions like chicken n waffle, ravioli with sides of breads etc. The brunch is more of a set menu. One can pick one item from each course and have as much of that as possible. Although we have not tried it, we will definitely look forward to spending one Sunday afternoon at Bodega Cantina Y Bar.
By opening their doors in Kolkata, Bodega Cantina Y Bar has done nothing but a disruptive intervention in the food scape of the city and has given people some food for thought. Let’s hope the city accepts this change and wish all the best to Bodega Cantina Y Bar.