Three Gustatory Experiences in Kolkata

3 mins read

Kolkata, India

On a recent visit to my favorite city, I dined out at three interesting venues. 3132 at The Westin Kolkata Rajarhat is all about the view, Waterside Café at Hyatt Regency Kolkata is focused on the food, while The Salt House on Shakespeare Sarani is a bit of both — great food with a great view. Three interesting meals in Kolkata.


It’s really about the view at 3132, the rooftop bar at The Westin Kolkata Rajarhat. The highest lounge bar in Kolkata, it offers sweeping views of New Town, Rajarhat, especially of the sprawling Eco Park. The restaurant is set across two floors, a night club on the 31st floor with music to set your foot tapping and the rooftop area on the 32nd floor (which has both enclosed and al fresco areas) where you can also try some shisha, which seems to be extremely popular in Kolkata. There’s also a helipad above but guests don’t have access to it. There’s a good selection of finger foods, including Iranian chicken jujeh kebab, charcoal pomfret, Moroccan spiced chicken popcorn, and Spanish Gambas Al Ajillo (Tandoori Broccolli and Mushroom ki Gilawat are good for the vegetarians). Perhaps if they worked on it a bit more, the food would be truly lofty. But diners seem mostly preoccupied with the view. Among the signature cocktails, Black Gold (Ballantine’s Finest, Brown Cacao, Homemade Coffee Liqueur, Vanilla Bitters) and Imli So Sour (Bourbon, Homemade Tamarind Tincture, Nolen Gur and Egg White) stand out. The shisha is excellent — try combining green apple and rose flavours.


Waterside Café, the 24-hour multi-cuisine restaurant at the Hyatt Regency Kolkata, was revamped around a year ago. More recently, the hotel, which has become a Kolkata landmark, completed 20 years. While Waterside Café has always been a popular city spot, the revamped avatar is an ambitious take on global cuisines and techniques. I was blown away by the sheer array of offerings. And, of course, at a great price. That’s Kolkata for you — always great value for money. The Café now houses four distinct food studios — Northwest Frontier and Bengali, Oriental, Middle Eastern and European, G0Local Street Studio — and, additionally, the dessert salon (this is Kolkata, so how can you not?). The European spread in particular stands out (after all, Kolkata has always been good in the Indian and Oriental departments). There are grills, roasts and cold cuts, as well as the ubiquitous pasta and live pizza oven. The Indian-Bengali section boasts everything from butter chicken to kosha mangsho and nalli gosht to luchi aloor dom, and, of course, fish. The Oriental Studio focusses on regional specialties, with stuff like Indonesian Nasi Goreng, chicken satays, steaming hot dim sums and baos, and aromatic Thai curries. The Middle Eastern and European studio has everything from rustic Lebanese platters to organic buckwheat crepes and spinach gnocchi. Most intriguing is the G0Local Street Studio. After all, Kolkata loves its street food and here we have street eats from around the world.


Prachi Saraogi and Saloni Jhunjhunwalla — the two active partners at The Salt House on Shakespeare Sarani — are vegetarians. And yet they’ve managed to serve up stellar non-vegetarian fare at their open-to-the-sky café plus resto-bar in a fairly short time. Of course, not just non-veg, all the food is good here, and there’s a loyal clientele to prove that. The Salt House, which opens breakfast onwards, is also the perfect place for a long and leisurely adda. The al fresco seating is in such high demand, the person taking the reservations on the phone told my friend that he would be able to hold her table only for a few minutes. Reservations are definitely recommended if you want to sit outdoors, especially in the evenings under the twinkling stars. The Salt House also has some great musical gigs on a regular basis. All in all, a stellar restaurant. The menu is pretty huge, but some dishes are justifiably bestsellers, like the sauteed Kolkata greens salad, pulled chicken and cheddar tartine, wood-fired goan poi pockets, beer-battered chingri, any of the pizzas, zucchini noodles, bhetki and chingri saffron risotto and the 6-hour pork belly (served with an apple-kasundi slaw). Prachi and Saloni are gourmet serial entrepreneurs and have also launched Kaos, a range of absolutely delectable cookies. Do pick some of these sweet treats on your way out — they have a retail counter at The Salt House.



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