Kolkata Nostalgia is a very powerful emotion and there is abundance of it in Raajkutir’s all day dining, East India Room. It is the stained glass windows and the row of marble fountains that immediately catch your attention, as you move towards East India Room through the sprawling courtyard of Raajkutir, the new boutique hotel by Ambuja Neotia Hospitality. It took two long years to transform the erstwhile Swabhumi plaza into this beautiful heritage property. But that’s for another time. This post is all about East India Room and it’s thoughtfully curated food menu.
Remember Sky Room?
Ask any person who grew up in Kolkata in the 60s and 70s, and they will swear by the food. Why go so much behind? Skyroom shut down in 1993 and there was a blanket of despair amongst food loving people of Kolkata and many would hope for it to re-open. Skyroom did not reopen and it left behind scores of memories of its fine food. East India Room is a tribute to Skyroom and the food from the bygone era.
Prawn Cocktail, A la Kiev, Baked Alaska and More
The legendary Kolkata prawn cocktail comes on a frozen lady’s land. Perfectly seasoned and with just the right amount of sauce, this dish is a unadulterated treat both visually and tastewise. The tomato soup is like no other. Smooth and delicate with tang from the tomatoes and the butter simply overwhelming your senses, they are proud to have not added any roux to thicken the soup. It is pure tomatoes and tomatoes only. The mulligatawny deserves a special mention. Originating from Southern India during the British colonial period, this soup was very popular amongst restaurants of yesteryears. Served in a soup plate, the rice comes in two small roundlets, a ring of soft boiled egg and some shredded chicken on top with a lime wedge sits like jewels in the soup. Finally the curry is poured from the kettle into the soup plate. A slight squeeze of the lemon and the textured curry is luxurious and intensely soul satisfying- a dish you could go back to time and again.
Thorough Research went into the taste of the food
We had a detailed chat with Mr. Subrata Debnath, Business Head for Raajkutir and the man with the idea behind East India Room. Being a chef by profession, he took it upon himself to ensure that each and every dish was properly researched and after several tasting sessions, the final menu was decided. Few classics remained untouched and few dishes, with some small tweaks, became owned by East India Room. The pantheras comes in options of lamb and soya chunks. The recipe has come directly from Sovabajar Rajbari. The recipe for Old Dhaka city jali kebab comes all the way from Dhaka but with a small twist to enhance the overall look. Instead of the minced kebab rolled in egg and grilled, a fine egg net is created and wrapped around the lamb mince kebab. Naturally tender lamb mince with a mellow murmur of spice and the egg net is simply sublime. For morog pulao, even the rice grain is brought in from Bangladesh and the protein used is authentically a morog or a cock. With abundance of caramelised onions, this pulao is a show stopper. The pulao is cloaked in ghee and the fragrance is unparalleled to any other. Bandel cheese malakoff is quite a stunner of a dish, especially with the gooseberry chutney which comes as a side. Bandel cheese, known for its salty nature has been specifically treated to reduce the sodium level and then batter fried. If not anything else, the most comforting of all dishes is the Dacres lane chicken stew. After several trials, they did come up with the exact recipe of the stew and the best part is perhaps the bread that comes with it. Baked in house, the bread is just heavenly with oodles of butter.
A home away from home
That is what they have tried to achieve at East India Room. Raja Nrishinghoprotap’s dungar chicken is a signature dish and perhaps the only dish that does not hold a strong Kolkata connection. However, in line with the story on which the property was built, this dish is fiery, complex and definitely not for the meek hearted. Mutton dak bungalow is absolutely spot on in flavours with tender mutton pieces in a nice thick sauce. One whole onion and the potato in the curry are a fantastic touch. Tiffin box bhapa chingri is a hands down reminder of your mom’s cooking with buttery prawns in a heartwarming coconut and mustard paste sauce with just the right amount of spunk. Mishti madhur korola is a strange dish of crunchy deep fried bitter gourd with cashew and raisins. Different and unusual taste but it works. In case you are going with Bengali options, do try the phulkopir roast without fail and then tell us how you liked it and we will tell you why.
Looking for Flambéed Baked Alaska?
Very few places in Kolkata serves a Baked Alaska this good. Beautifully executed, the dish is flambéed on the table and takes you down memory lane. Chocolate bulls eye is a generous portion of decadent chocolate mud cake with vanilla ice cream. Rose petal caramel custard, Raajkutir’s dessert gourmande and many more irresistible desserts adorn the menu.
It is not humanly possible to talk about each and every dish on the menu. In fact, I have not even done justice to whatever we have tasted at East India Room. Every dish has a modern presentation, the quality of the ingredients used are top notch and the taste is simply superior. Simple dishes to sound but the meal here was a journey to the past without a chance of a let down.
We were at East India Room at the invitation from the management.
Timings of East India Room
East India Room is open from 7 am to 11 am for breakfast, Noon to 3 pm for lunch and 7 pm to 11 pm for dinner. Dinners are always candle lit in a romantic setting.
A meal for two would approximately cost INR 1500 plus GST.