Updated this week
Bengalis have their own ways of relating to food. Whether it is through grandmother's secret recipes, folklore, geography, an aromatic association or even via the legendary growls of a Bengal tiger! Though, royalty has bereft the animal in general, we Bengalis take pride in the very nomenclature itself. Our visit to the new, posh "The Royal Bengal Tiger Cafe" near the golf clubs in south Kolkata is actually influenced by the very name itself. A modern day cafe dedicated to the love of the animal and much needed awareness on tiger conservation, is worthy of a visit.
And we are pleasantly entertained. On first look, the beguiling appearance of much wood-chrome-glass with bright gallery lighting draws us in. With clean modern lines, indoor-outdoor casual bench seating interspersed by some greens, snazzy new display shelves emulating European trends of food display, loud volume of retro music, wall mounted selection of menu - makes it socially acceptable alright. The amateurish counter food display, curling up on the sides with a tired look, irks us no doubt, but our attention is quickly diverted to elsewhere. The magnificence of the yellow and black stripes on the true king of the jungle is held up in full glory through several artistic impressions. A collection of paintings, mostly in their natural habitat raises hope for the animal. A couple of books and extended information on the packaging (charged for extra) adds to the theme. However, in all seriousness to the subject - there is much more that needs attention.
The menu brings us back to normal conversation. Available only in bits and spurts, a smart young server helps us choose from the varied repertoire of cafe cuisine mounted on the wall. They are currently running a Bengali new year menu, which will be changing shortly to a regular more concise one, we are told. There is a choice of breakfast that races amongst residential Gariahat Bengali to Burrabazar non Bengali to Tiretti Bazar Chinese with Dimsums and the Park Street European splendour. But, today, we mostly go with the available RBT special street food. Veg Ghugni (Rs.75), Egg Devil with fish (Rs.150), Mochar Chop (Rs.100), Chicken Cutlet (Rs.125), Fish Fry (Rs.150), Steamed Veg Dimsums (Rs.80), Shorse Chicken Sandwich (Rs.195), Mutton Moghlai Parota (Rs.190), Macher (Fish) Chop (Rs.150), Mangsher (Mutton) Chop (Rs.150), Parota and Kasha Mangsho (Rs.200), Royal Crusher cold coffee (Rs.150), Lemon Iced Tea (Rs.80).
Plus & Minus
We start with the Bengali style chops - fish, mutton and mocha or banana flowers. All come in same size roundels, crumb coated, two to a portion, but not much flavours or distinction. The Dimer Devil, boiled egg in an innovative carp stuffed oval casing, excites things a bit. The Fish Fry lacks any seasoning and is served with Tartare instead of traditional Kasundi, while the Chicken Mince cutlet has a repetitive spice mix, high on the turmeric yet again. The dishes that make their mark are Ghugni - homestyle chickpeas, served with onions, tamarind juice and roasted cumin powder on the side; the freshly steamed, warm and soft vegetarian Dimsums and the zingy mustard-chicken grilled sandwich. The Moghlai Parota is a meal - with egg and a sprinkling of mutton shreds inside. Finally, the Kasha Mangsho and Lachha Parota drives home a Bengali brownie point. The recommended ending of Patishapta with Rabri (Rs.150) leaves us dissatisfied, but the cold coffee makes up for it.
Critic reviews are anonymous and all bills are paid by TimesCity.
Updated this month
Park Pavilion at Jameson Inn Shiraz, a 24 hour restaurant, is the answer to casual stylishness on Kolkata’s Main Line. Restaurant’s wide range of food from global cuisine is the perfect place for a quick bite, an intimate meal, or a fun meeting place to gather with family and friends. A multi-cuisine buffet spread suiting the gourmet's delight during lunch & dinner and a all day dining menu together with eye soothing soft beverages & exclusive mocktails makes the restaurant most preferred dining outlet. Located at the first floor of the hotel, the 50 cover eatery offers exquisite global delicacies.rnFeatures of the park pavilion are the warmth welcome, personalized and friendly service of the staff which would bring a touch of freshness about the 24 hours coffee shop.rnThe decor contemporary in style with simple, soft, uncluttered look with a hint of rustic is designed in such a way, that it incorporates natural light and is blended in soft hues and earthy tones. It has a comfortable seating capacity for 50 people. The generous spacing allows diners a lot of personal space, and you can view the Chef’s culinary wonders at the live kitchen.rnThe restaurant serves a variety of Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, Italian, Lebanese, Continental and Indian fare. Sizzling kebabs, fiery Mexican delights, a great selection of pastas and risotto, classic fondues and sumptuous desserts… Park Pavilion has something for everyone. Spice sprinkled, Sauce drizzled & Platter sizzled, that’s Park Pavilion for you. Whatever the occasion, whatever the mood, whatever the company, Park Pavilion can make your day.rnSample global flavours with ‘Fish Steak with Citrus Fumet’, a French meal of grilled fish cooked in griddle and served with parsley rice and sauteed beans, Or ‘Mexican Chicken Dumpling’, finely chopped chicken mixed with Mexican spices and served with salsa and sour cream. Enjoy the spicy ‘Lamb Satay with Bellpepper Somtom’, a tender baby lamb cooked in skewers and served with garlic chilli rice. ‘Spinach Wrapped Seafood’ gives you a steamy ecstasy and Arabic ‘Mezze Platter’ will delightfully tease your tongue.rnIf you think that is it, then you are wrong. End your meal with the delicate Rasmalai, Pista Phirni and Gulab Jamun. Take your time, and enjoy the sublime ripeness and maddening aromas of an array of delectable dishes. We are sure that one visit will not be enough.