Tell me one more instance in Kolkata where you would see a national restaurant chain having two of their brands in the same place. Speciality group, in most of the places have opened up mutilple outlets in the same premises but we Kolkatans consider that brand as our home brand, to a certain extent. So ruled out. I scanned my mind deeply but couldn’t find any.
The news (rumour) was out in the market for last 6 months. A tip off from a friend in Bangalore made me call up Ms Radhika Mishra, early August and she denied the news and said two things which I will remember forever. 1. For any chain, the gradual progression is Mumbai/ Delhi Bangalore Gurgaon Pune and then perhaps Kolkata 2. Unless we have everything in place, as a PR Head, I cannot confirm. She told the latter one, when we went for a preview of the food at The Fatty Bao Kolkata and that’s how experience speaks.
Address of The Fatty Bao Kolkata?
Saturday afternoon, with a slight nip in the air and expectation to experience Izakaya, the informal Japanese gastorpub feeling, I reached the 8th floor, Fort Knox, Camac Street. Unlike The Monkey Bar, which other than the food, has become famous for the open air smoking area overlooking the Kolkata skyline and the place which most prefer to sit during evenings, there isn’t any open space here. There is a lantern wall which has 27 lanterns placed at different heights and there are various Asian fans forming light fixtures and large panels of Origami artworks and motifs.
The Fatty Bao #801, Fort Knox, 6, Camac Street, Kolkata- 700017. Call: 033 46022744
This is for the first time, a bottled cocktail is getting introduced in Kolkata where the concept is to add the designated alcohol in the bottle just before serving otherwise the pre-batched bottled mixture will remain ready. Purpose is quick turnaround with a hint of DIY, where in a tonic water or other accompaniments are left to be added as per the guests choice. We tried Cool Ade which had a distinct cucumber flavour unlike the Passion Mule which was White rum with ginger ale, mango and passion fruit. The signature cocktails are not to be missed and my pick will be Bora Bora – a nice combination of Vodka, Gin, passion fruit and coconut water. There was a silken smooth taste to this and use of coconut water definitely gives it a tick mark in all likeable boxes. There is Fatty Sour, which is a take on the all time classic Whiskey Sour and if not a puritan, then there are enough reasons to find out why this has been a favourite across all the joints.
A meal for you and a meal for US
The menu is based on small plates but a wide variety. Share with your colleagues for a quick office lunch or that power meeting or get together with long lost college mates in the evening. Amongst the Uramaki Sushis, there was my fav Prawn tempura roll and going by the requests across all tables, it will be needed in plenty once the place opens up. This is the 7th Fatty Bao opening up in India and walk in to any of The Fatty Bao – you will see the Char Siu Bao doing rounds. This is one of the most popular dishes of The Fatty Bao. With imported Pork belly, BBQ Sauce, Green Apple kimchi and Scallion, this should be tried by all means. The Sheng jian Baos are small, comes in a group of 3 with Bacon and egg and the grilled Sambal chicken Baos are again one of those open Baos like most of the Baos available here, the concept which TFB made famous will be worth checking out.
Wild Mushrooms and truffle oil dimsum is a predicted winner with the surprise element of beetroot coloured dimsums with wild mushrooms and truffle oil sprinkled on it. I liked it more than the Prawn and garlic chive Mushroom and for a change, the vegetarian won over the non vegetarian.
There were strange sounds of exasperation over the Yum Na Salad, which is a Thai spicy beef salad. A bowl of this with all the bright colours staring on your face, you can take on the world. Another happy bowl was Duck Nachos. Presented under the small plates – this is like a small plate with a huge heart and soul. The Black sesame honeycomb on top were so delicate that they begged not to be touched and then a spoon will make you crave for more. Try out the BrieTempura here which has got multiple components like Plum sauce, pickled beetroot, shichimi togarashi. Wasabi Prawns are one of those plates which will come and be wiped off. The Crispy Gari here may look like a wafer but it’s a Cassava root dried and ground into flour. Small tip – Check out if the Crispy Garis or the prawns vanish faster?
The Robatayaki (the Japanese method of slow grilling over charcoal) is a new introduction in The Fatty Bao Kolkata, the chicken robatayaki marinated with Thai Green curry paste will perhaps be the start to your evening of drinking.
The Big Boys at The Fatty Bao Kolkata – These dishes will fill you up.
If you have had enough of the small plates and sharing and want something big and substantial, then there are Ramen Bowls and Chasu Ramen has got enough of everything. A visit to The Fatty Bao remains incomplete without tasting the Ramens and Chasu Ramen has got a beautiful boiled egg, plenty of Pork and an incredible broth. Eat it alone. Share it with all. The taste lingers on your mind. The presence of prawn and pineapple in a spicy curry is enough to make someone curious and I remember the bowl getting almost getting wiped clean for the flavour of the curry and shamelessly, I asked for a repeat also. This is called Udang Masak Lemak Nenas curry and rice is served along with it.
Desserts at The Fatty Bao Kolkata
The zen garden is a piece of Marvel to be stared at and slowly finding your way through the dish. There are 5 – 6 elements involved in this. The black sesame sponge, green tea moss, beetroot and black pepper sorbet, micro greens and valrhona chocolate twigs. Identify the sequence and explore your way through. The cocoa caramel is the girl next door who takes your heart away. Milk chocolate cream, hazelnut praline crisp, flourless chocolate cake with salted caramel gel and salted caramel ice cream. What could possibly go wrong with these mind blowing ingredients? They are a match made in heaven.
Did I miss PB&J
This dish deserves all the adjectives that you can recollect about a delicacy. Once served, have a bite and stare at the dish. This is perhaps one of the best creations of Chef Manu, Pork belly and Jelly or PB&J is like a gooey dream. The Miso jam is in house and spread evenly on the Pork belly slices. This dish deserves respect and hence slow eating.
When I spoke with Chef Partner Manu Chandra, he had wished for a bear hug from Kolkata and all Bangali Bhadrolok Bhalbasha from Kolkata for The Fatty Bao. I can safely say The Fatty Bao Kolkata will get more than that.
P.S. – In case you are wondering why the title and why remembering Calcutta when it’s Kolkata? It’s an ode to that city of yesteryears which was the place from where Chinese people came to Kolkata and also started the restaurants, which in the later years went a big way to form a major part of Indian culinary canvas.
P.P.S. – In case you think that the pictures are too bad then blame it on the food. For a change I wanted to focus on the food and food only and had parked my camera beneath my chair so that it does not cause any distraction.