I recently wrote about climate change and one of the tell tale sign is global warming. November is about to end and one still needs to switch on fan and to an extent Air conditioners in night in Kolkata.
Read somewhere that in C.R.Park New Delh, which is a mini Kolkata in Delhi, lesser number of monkey caps are seen this year. I wonder and worry too about where we are heading to. As Sunita Narain had once said that weird is the new normal.
In Kathmandu, they have Rato Macchendra yatra, which is basically a chariot drive in Patan Square, where they worship the rain God’s. I wouldn’t know if there are any winter Gods but as we sat down to experience the grill by the poolside at Taj Bengal, I think, we all prayed for some real winter to set in.
One of the best places in Taj Bengal Kolkata is the poolside area. It is a coveted place to enjoy an evening under the stars with a glass of wine and some fresh live grills. The oomph factor is the grills which are presented on a warm blackstone to spread some warmth, with a little bit of nip in the air.
The menu at the Grill by the Poolside at Taj Bengal Kolkata
The menu is divided into Appetisers, soups, steak on stone, Seafood on stone, vegetable on stone with use of sauces like bearnaise, red wine jus, smoked bbq, sirracha, makhanai and gondhoraj lemon butter across various dishes and with sides like herb roasted new potatoes, creamy polenta, char grilled vegetables, house salad, potato mousseline and corn on cob. The marinades that are used are chipotley honey, chimichuri rub, panch phoran, texan bbq and few more. This is the wedding season and one of the busiest times for all Hotels in the city. Chef Sonu was kind enough to spare time and he gave us some insight into the factors which have gone beyond planning this menu. Considering the temperature, the use of the black rock grills, where the temparature stays back and food remains warm was an ingenious idea. Ingredients which are popular and available but not getting used in the other outlets of the property like Quinoa, Artichokes, asparagus, Canadian scallops, Andaman Nicobar rock lobsters etc etc are being used and the dishes are created, keeping in mind the taste preference of both the International and domestic guests.
Our recommendations for Grill by the Poolside at Taj Bengal Kolkata
Soups – Roasted butternut squash sage cream which was not too creamy but the puree seasoned with fresh butter, few leaves with sage added on to the flavour. One can also try out the Moroccan lamb and chickpeas where had small mutton chunks and was a delight.
The chili onion croissants served with the soups were a surprise. Pillowy soft enough for a bite, these will disappear no sooner than served.
Appetisers – If you are trying out the Grill by the poolside, then you cannot miss the Chef’s salad by the pool, which is made with three types of imported Quinoa (white, yellow and brown) paired with grilled crunchy arugula leaves, grilled palm hearts with orange juice and tobasco. This is a top draw for the combination of all these ingredients. The homestyle chicken BBQ will be loved by all. This is accompanied by a crunchy salad.
Vegetable on Stone – There are some interesting options available here and surely will be a delight for all. The one which ruled above all was duet of Peruvian asparagus and baby carrots with honey and sherry emulsion. The fact that the asparagus is marinated with chilli flakes and juice of orange and sautéed with little bit of butter, gives it a distinct taste. Check out the creamy polenta on the side and sherry vinegar and honey emulsion.
Seafood on stone – What can be more delicious than tiger prawns marinated with olive oil, salt, pepper, lime juice and little thyme and then served with grilled seasonal vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, French beans, bell peppers, to name a few. Lemon butter sauce and parsley butter sauce comes with the prawn. They are simply unputdownable.
How can one miss out on the glorious grilled beckti, which is always a favourite at this part of the country. Simple ingredients like olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper for grilling and served with mushrooms and onions, creamy mash potatoes and garden salad. Delicious it is.
Finally to end with the dessert, if you have any place left then try out the Macadamia brownie made with Brazilian macadamia nuts and on top, there is homemade baileys ice cream sprinkled with almond biscotti and edible flowers.
These were just recommendations but there is much more to explore than this once you set yourself up for the poolside evening. A dinner for two will be around INR 5000 plus taxes without alcohol and this will be on till February 2019 however lets wish the winters stay till such time.
Am I the only Bengali who had deserted the Monkey cap at an early age? Yes I did, as I graduated to Punjabi tupi (a woollen Punjabi turban lookalike) but this time I had put on my thinking cap and I realised that other than Climate change, one of the things which has worked in a big way is the false alarm throughout the year – Winter is coming. As the final episodes of GOT has been a long wait , it seems the real winter is also now as much eluded.