We went to The Tangra Project, the ambitious restaurant by Chef Vikramjit Roy, Vir Kotak and Anurodh Samal for a project with Pikturenama Studios and that was the first time we entered this restaurant. My earliest memory of Vikramjit goes back to the time when he was with POH (by Speciality Group). And he resigned from his Mumbai position to come to Delhi. Someone mentioned that this will be a loss for Mumbai (if my memory serves right, then it was Mr Sanghvi) and gain for Delhi.
The leader during the Pandemic
I never got a chance to ask him about his activities when he reached Delhi. Afterwards, I heard him on a Zoom meeting during the lockdown with Chef Prateek Sadhu, Chef Regi Matthew and Chef Saransh Goila. He spoke about his large takeaway menu and set an example of leading from the front for his team. I still remember him saying in that meet – ‘I was not thinking about the menu as a chef but as a consumer. So that the menu works and I can support my team which has supported me for 15 years.’
While many stood beside their team at the darkest hours, this was the time when some of the well known international chefs didn’t think twice about laying off their team of decades. Vikramjit created an impression. The food was yet to be tasted. He can be a good human being but as a chef, one needs to create magic on the table.
Time passed on, VR along with Vir Kotak and Anurodh Samal opened up a bevvy of cloud kitchens in NCR region like Hello Panda, Park Street Rolls and Biryani, Woke Pizza and Sumdimsum to name a few. Then came The Tangra Project. It’s perhaps all that Vikram wanted to do for his lifetime and more. I know it’s a tall guess but I think I am true somewhere.
What is The Tangra Project all about?
The Tangra Project is on a mission to broaden your horizon about Bengali food. It’s all about known ingredients presented in a new way, it’s about dishes that sounds very easy, looks very new and are presented in a modern way. Having said that, it is also about the melting pot of food culture in Kolkata. The food of Kolkata comprises so much more than just Bengali food.
It’s a menu of 250 dishes and more. When we went, there was a ‘rice heist’ festival going on too, celebrating “Radhatilok’, an indigenous rice variety from Bengal. Various segments like From Burra Sahib’s BawarcheeKhana, From My Mum’s kitchen, New Market’s Kathi mere Sathi, Bao Baazar, Kowloon to Kalikatta dumplings are some examples and all of them have something or other for everyone.
What do I recommend at The Tangra Project?
I have had food twice and it’s not enough to cover 250 dishes to recommend or get an overview of the entire menu. However, there are some classics which you cannot miss. There are small plates, big plates and even phuchka, that is golgappa or panipuri’s cousin. The food theatre with no gimmick however is the Jhalmuri (a mixture of puffed rice with many assortments), a popular dish for daily passengers in train or passersby in Maidan. Phuchka comes as neat as possible and ticks all boxes. Even the tamarind water (tentul jol), which has its own loyalists is as perfect as it can be in Kolkata.
In case you want to take a nostalgia trip, there are many stations which you have to cover – Tangra style chilli chicken, Prawn balls, drums of heaven – each one will poke some memory. In this manner, Vikram has balanced the classics and kept them almost intact, yet brought his maverick genius touch in dishes like parwal guacamole, Haleem on sourdough bread (this is one of the bestsellers) and spinach with poppy seed paste.
The Rose, Kebabs at The Tangra project Limited and a memorable experience
The kebabs had that typical rustic touch of the UP Bihar or other Bihari joints from Kolkata. The Kharagpur Raj Behari Beef kebab and Metiaburz Handi Kebab are must tries. Morog polao takes you back to your grandmother’s house with a finger-licking soul-touching taste. The desserts have a great amount of Vikram touch- dodhi korma being a rendition of ‘dahi chura or doi cheere’ that is served on auspicious occasions in Bengali households. This humble dish was transformed into a cheesecake with numerous elements. The same goes for ‘Rose’. Yes, there’s some theatrics in this when you get to break the frozen rose petal on your plate but the flavour takes over the gimmick. A beautiful silken custard along with rose flavoured foam and the frozen shards of honey-soaked rose petals are a medley in the mouth.
Repeat Show at The Tangra Project – just like I once upon a time did for Ashiqui by Mahesh Bhat
We went back to The Tangra Project for the second time in next day and there was an impromptu interview request from NDTV. It was a sheer coincidence that the topic was on What India Eats and how our food has been stereotyped. If you follow me on social media channels like Twitter or Instagram, you will know that how much I am vocal about the underplay of Bengali vegetarian food. I am a convert to find solace in Bengali vegetarian food.
Breaking the Stereotype with Bazooka
Bengali food, like much Indian regional food, has been stereotyped for some time now. The convenience of Chefs looking and presenting Bengali food across the globe, the journey of a dish from a home kitchen to a commercial one, from pre-plated to being dumped in the chafing dishes in a buffet, there are several reasons why today the poster boys of Bengali Cuisine in India are not even Bengali. There will be a debate on how much the cooking techniques and availability of ingredients play a role in the under-representation of Bengali cuisine. Chefs like Vikramjit and The Tangra Project is definitely there to break that stereotype with a bazooka. In case you haven’t had his food, please have it right now and also don’t forget to keep a track of what he is up to all the time.
Address of The Tangra Project Delhi –
Unit No. 154-159 Commons, DLF Avenue, Saket, New Delhi, Delhi 110017, Phone – 089299 25253
We made a reel too – you can check out here –
Here is an easy way of making chicken cutlet – check that out –
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