Very rarely, it so happens that within a radius of 1 Km, you have 3 iconic landmark buildings not related to each other but have been a witness to changing DNA of Kolkata. Rarely, one needs the name the road, a rather fancy one- Belvedere Road and rarest of the rare would bother about the Pin code – Kolkata 27 or erstwhile Cal 27.
I had attended the launch party of Cal 27, which is the refurbished and renewed all day dining and coffee shop of Taj Bengal Kolkata. The last time when this property had introduced a new food joint was Souk, the Mediterranean establishment. Chef Sujan Mukherjee was the Exec Chef at that time and while the work for Souk was going on, yours truly was heading the HR for the property.
Hub and erstwhile Esplanade has been a talk of the town for a long time. From power meetings to celebrity gazing, all have happened here.Once during our meeting with Chef Sonu, when he took over the reigns from Chef Sujan, he expressed how some patrons still enquire and request for some of the eternal favourites from Esplanade. Hub was recently closed for more than 6 months and when Cal 27 – the naming sounds easy but can imagine how much of an effort had gone behind it, was launched, people and staff members were ecstatic.
So what’s new about Cal 27 ?
- The legendary spiral staircase has been done away with and now there is a movement sensor lift in its place.
- The mezzanine floor has now been modified to easily have a Private Dining area which can host round about 30 – 40 guests. Check out some of the vintage Kolkata shots adorning the walls here.
- The chequered floor with Khorkhori janala, again a trademark of the Old ‘Calcutta’ Homes and the main dining space is like the courtyard.
- The French designer has played around with the space so well to include the bar. Yes, for the first time, the all day dining in Taj Bengal has a bar and hold on, there is a wine cellar too.
- All this makes the place look more spacious, makes more interactive with the live kitchen and guests remain more engaged with the centre buffet island.
What happens to the food at Cal 27 Taj Bengal Kolkata?
With a miniscule experience of running a 120 cover restaurant in Mumbai, I can never forget the toughest part of a buffet is fixing up the menu. Many a times when I have spoken to Chef Sonu – Exec Chef Taj Bengal Kolkata, there were few challenges which he highlighted. There are loyalists to the place who still want their all time favourites, there is a new generation of diners who will have their contemporary preferences. As Chef Sonu says, Prawn cocktail, Pav Bhaji, Kolkata Bekti fingers, Ceasar Salad, Mud pie Pizzas, Butter chicken are few old classics which have been retained so that one doesn’t get the feeling of a complete facelift in new menu. My personal favourite is definitely Meen Moeli, which I tasted twice and can feel Chef Sonu has poured his heart out into his native dish. Not to forget the Mutton Rogan Josh or Tandoori chicken, which was a part of the buffet as well as a part of the Comfort food.
So what’s new in the food menu of Cal 27 Taj bengal ?
If there is one reason why you should visit Cal 27 at Taj Bengal, then it is the autograph collection. The new menu (huge in Size and each dish carries its own weight) has a section on comfort food which will make you relate to Kolkata like the Singara, Railway mutton cutlets, Calcutta rolls, Luchi Aloor dom but it is the Taj Autograph collection at Cal 27 Taj Bengal which will see some buzz around.
Will Start with my fav Fish exotica which is a Fish and shrimp coconut curry in a subtle flavour of lemon grass and fresh turmeric. This is from Taj Exotica Maldives. The classic Fish n Chips in genuine beer batter finds a place (Fish n chips is one of the most abused dish and most of the places demean the concept of the beer batter) from St James Court London, the Bun chow or Bunny chow with a history attached to it travels from Taj Capetown. The Bun chow should pick up quickly in Kolkata as the concept of Pauruti Ghoogni and/or Mangsho is very popular here. There is a classic Nasi Goreng from Taj Langkawi with the shining sunny side, runny yolk on top which lures you to overeat. Meat Lamprais is from Taj Samudra Colombo is messy yet it is mesmerizing. The various elements involved in the dish like yellow rice, chicken curry, crumb fried fish balls, a deep fried boiled egg along with egg plant, soft cooked raw bananas with caramelised onions makes it is delightful jumble of flavours. The entire package is packed in banana leaves and steamed. This is more of a comfort food to me and my Bengali tastebuds time and again remembered our Khichuri and Paturi. Once opened, it may look messy but each bite will have thrills like driving on a hairpin bend of a mountainous road.
The tasting of the breakfast remains due and a separate chapter can be written on the dessert in buffet. If ordering from A La Carte, then try out the Chili Chocolate Parfait. I strongly recommend that.
Cal 16 will always remain etched permanently in most of our memories (for all us the 70s and 80s kids) for the place of baptisms. It’s Cal 16 only where many dreams were woven and shattered too. Cal 27 is a fulfilment of those dreams. As one grows up in life, the simplest of the things which had enormous value lose their significance. The preferences change, likings change and aspirations become normal habit and new aspirations take their place. Cal 27 is that journey from Cal 16. Exotic food, a perfect set up, handpicked dishes from across the globe with classic local hits and all time favourites. Cal 27 Taj bengal is like a playlist which has got a song for all tastebuds.
Now for some basic information:
- Breakfast Buffet: Rs. 850 plus GST
- Weekday Lunch Buffet: Rs. 1550 plus GST
- Weekday DInner Buffet: Rs. 1650 plus GST
- Sat Lunch Buffet: Rs. 1750 plus GST with unlimited beer
- Sun Brunch: Rs. 2150 plus GST with sparkling wine
- Sun Brunch: Rs. 2950 plus GST with champagne
- For kids buffet lunch for Sat and Sun: Rs. 1200 plus GST