Farzi Cafe launch in Kolkata sets the tone for new dining experiences
The coronavirus pandemic has made us sedentary in ways one can never imagine. Our socialization skills are gone and eating out has become a long forgotten habit. However, as we slowly come out of hibernation at home in sweatpants and slattern joggers and re-engage socially, the city’s F&B sector is also preparing to welcome us again with new culinary experiences.
And nothing could be a better start to Calcutta than the opening of the highly anticipated Farzi Café, a renowned brand of the Massive Restaurants team founded by Zorawar Kalra, son of the late food mogul Jiggs Kalra. “This November-December would be the best month in the history of the Indian F&B scene. There is a lot of pent-up demand and there will be a consumption of revenge. Vaccination will change the dynamic, ”reflects a still hopeful Kalra.
The resplendent cafe located on the premises of the Golden Park Hotel in Ho Chi Minh Sarani exudes all the positivity, warmth and energy that any restless soul seeks after prolonged isolation. The dichroic glass reflects the colorful vibe of the city, and the monochrome frames of old Calcutta remind us of how much it represents the joy of living. Whether it’s floral murals, light domes with terracotta pendants and a kinetic chandelier, a wall filled with yellow taxi masks, or a facade dotted with moving fans, this take well-spaced and brightly lit has several Instagrammable traps.
We also loved the seating arrangement which has all kinds of options. You can choose from the relaxing lounges, the elegant low upholstered chairs, or the stylish bar stools splashing around the restaurant. We made ourselves comfortable in one of the lounges for an afternoon lunch in the rain. And what better way to start than with a sumptuous dish of seasonal mustard hilsa with a touch of onion rice. The delicious queen of fish was totally balanced in taste with a perfect mix of yellow and black mustard seed paste. The split green peppers added more to the flavor of the fish. Almost always with white rice, we loved having the fish with fried rice with onions and trust us; it does not conflict with hilsa at all.
“Kolkata has always been one of my favorite cities. Our experience with Pa Pa Ya has been great here so it made perfect sense to open Farzi here. You can expect a lot of innovation in terms of drinks, food, vibrant atmosphere and great music. Besides the signature dishes, there will be 10 locally inspired dishes. We incorporated the key elements and ‘stuffed’ a few of them while some dishes were left untouched, ”Zorawar shares.
Next, we sampled the Bengali “Farzified” Aloor Dum and Jhalmoori, a dish that tries to give a taste of two of the city’s favorite street foods. It was an explosion of several notes at once. The spicy potato paired well with the tangy mustard sauce that engulfed it and the crispy puffed rice retained all the good notes of a street side masala moori. You can pair it with one of their lighter cocktails on a rainy day, we thought.
But what we loved to savor was their tangra pepper stuffed chicken roll. Halfway between shawarma and a chicken egg roll, this lightweight wrap has saved us from the guilt that usually grips us after giving in to the temptations of a fat roll.
You can skip the very extensive menu and choose from a wide range of options including the famous Jiggs Kalra Dal Makhani, Rawa Kasundi Fish, Desi Chowmein Egg Roll or Guntur Chilli Chicken to name a few.
Compared to starters and main courses, the dessert section of the menu may leave you wanting in terms of more options, but the Parle G Cheesecake and Ras Malai Tres Leches will more than make up for that.
Meal for two: Rs 2,000 ++
Food, future and much more …
Here’s what Zorawar Kalra had to say about the way forward for the F&B industry:
How do you see the F&B sector evolving?
Excessive spending, which did not necessarily improve the customer experience, plagued this industry. As a result, many restaurant chains, large and small, will come out much leaner, healthier, more streamlined, and more focused.
The future of cloud kitchens?
Cloud kitchens are definitely here to stay. But it is complementary to the business rather than a substitute. Restaurants cannot survive on delivery alone. A lot of players, including us, are looking at him seriously. We have already launched Butter Delivery and will have around 25 cloud kitchens by the end of this calendar year. We just announced the launch of Louis Burger cloud restaurant which will start delivering high quality burgers to Mumbai and Delhi in a few days.
We have just opened Bo Tai in Vagator (Goa) and expansion plans are underway in Canada, Nagpur and Indore this calendar year. Also, Farzi will open in two cities in the United States, probably by the end of the year, including one in New York.
A dish that you cook perfectly?
A European omelet – smooth as a pebble, without wrinkles on the top, with a moist center and slightly runny. This is the right cooking temperature and making sure you don’t overcook it or let it brown. Keep turning the pan and don’t let any part of the egg cook in one place for too long. Don’t put too many things in it. To make it runny in the middle, it needs to be layered thicker and higher.