Planning and designing a menu for any restaurant is a big uphill task. It looks simple but the designing/re-engineering of a menu based on the gazing patterns of the customers, placement of loser items on the last page so that, by the time you reach that page, you have already decided on what to order are only some of the tricks which are used.
It does not end here. Description and the choice of words to tempt the taste buds, to flirt with emotions and to nudge the nostalgia go a long way in decision making process of the customer. I can recollect how many times I have been put off by carelessly designed and printed menu with spelling mistakes and left me lost in a maze.
In case you have been wondering till now why the discussion on the menu – these thoughts crossed me while coming back from the new menu launch at The Bridge of The Park Hotel Kolkata. We had fellow bloggers, the ever warm and enthusiastic PR team of The Park Kolkata and Chef Sharad Dewan ,Regional Director of Food Production in East.
The Park Kolkata does not need an introduction.
A boutique hotel which has been there for decades is iconic to the city and even though it is called ‘boutique’, it offers entertainment and food in mammoth proportions. The Bridge, which is its all day dining, is an exciting place to be anytime and perhaps, the excitement is constantly added by the innovations by Chef Sharad Dewan.
Recently, The Bridge has had a makeover of their menu. Well, of course the signature dishes continue to be there. There have been quite a few interesting additions to the menu. The chef says that he keeps a keen watch on the plates that come back to the dish wash area to get an idea on what gets left behind and what gets polished off. Similarly, a close interaction with the service guys gives an idea on the hits and misses. Party and banquet menus also give a fair idea on what is trending in the season.
Going by the current trend, which I must say that some of it started By Chef Dewan himself, he has added ingredient driven dishes to the menu. So one can find the mini cheese kulcha in a new avatar with the addition of truffle oil and sun dried tomato pesto. Burrata, the cheese of the season is being fabulously showcased through a salad as well as in other dishes. Chef Dewan says that unlike before, nowadays burrata is locally produced and he sources his from Bangalore and his guests have vouched for the superior quality of the burrata, even though it is made in India. He is proud to have introduced this creamy wonder in a pizza with crispy bacon and basil pesto, which is a new combination and tastes heavenly.
The thin crust wood fired oven pizzas have always been popular at The Bridge and there has been some innovation with the dough too. It is now more thin and crispy with some beautiful ingredients as toppings. There was especially this one pizza which I loved, even though vegetarian was with grilled vegetables, basil pesto and pine nuts. Simple flavours of the broccoli, zucchini, and bell peppers shone through with the sweet and nutty pesto.
The menu also has an addition of a mezze platter with the complete deal of baba ganoush, hummus and labneh with small bite sized falafels, some olives, pita and lavash. The main course sees a variety of rich ingredients in use, exotic yet locally sourced. The very popular spatchcock chicken comes with a sticky hoisin glaze and herb roasted potatoes served on a sizzler plate. Chef Dewan pointed out that if requested, any of the dishes could be served in a sizzler format. There was wild mushroom ravioli and morels with porcini cream, the ever classic spaghetti carbonara, quite a handsome portion of pork chops with bacon wrapped dates which came with a side of rice flavoured with bacon bits, the very local alur dom, dal and phulka in a tiffin carrier and many such dishes which came with a lot of panache and rightly so. Same goes for the dessert of single origin chocolate dark chocolate and orange mousse which was rich in taste without being very heavy.
The Park Kolkata has done it several times in most of its restaurants and once again at The Bridge, this fresh new take on the menu is comfortably exciting.