Sundeep Bhutoria

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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Vedas Kolkata – starts with a flash

This weekend I hosted a dinner in New York at the Copper Chimney restaurant on Lexington Avenue. This place has a certain draw since it also has a banqueting service which is not very common in that upmarket area.
I think new and different resturants are always in demand to begin with in India.  Last Saturday I was at the Vedas – a new restaurant in Kolkata launched by ace fashion designer Rohit Bal – at the Park Mansions in Park Street. I decided to try out this new joint as I had missed out on the opening bash since I was out of Kolkata.
I was hardly surprised when my office informed me that booking a table at the Vedas at a desired time was a tough call due to heavy demand. So I settled for a table at 10:30 pm. When I stepped in I found that place was full. Not only was the place all full, people were also waiting for their turns as late as 11:30 or 11:45 pm.
I know from experience that this is a typical Kolkata trend. It has happened so many times earlier and with different brands and big names. Many such ventures have quietly folded up. Once a place is opened to visitors there's certain euphoria and a mad scramble to be there first. I think it draws more of the curious than the foodie or those who are into fine dining. Also, somehow, the glamour of big ticket restaurants in Kolkata doesn't last for long. In fact, it fades away fast.
To begin with a flash and end in smoke seems to be more of a order than exception for food joints in Kolkata. Not that I am trying to dampen anyone's spirits.
During our college days, there used to be a Golden Park restaurant, which is now replaced by the Soho Lounge. Only last year an Italian joint Casa Toscana was opened with lot of fanfare and celebs near Southern Avenue. But within a week of it's launch, the chef quit his job.
Another example was Sourav's. A four storied multi-cuisine restaurant in Park Street - the heart of Kolkata's most happening place. Sourav's got national publicity in ample measure since it was named after India's cricket captain Sourav Ganguly and that too at a time when cricketing craze was at its height in India. Kolkatans in droves made a beeline to be there at Sourav's. This euphoria lasted for a while and finally ebbed out. Most Kolkatans aren't even sure of what happened of it. It officially shut down about a year back.
There are more such examples like Copper Chimney, Nola chain and others that failed to carry on once the fanfare ended. I think the Kolkata mindset is very different from that other metros. Guests of five star hotels do not try out new outlets when it comes to fine dining. I am saying this because the regular restaurants like Mainland China, Zaranj and good old Amber are still going strong.
As far as Vedas is concerned, I felt the décor was a little loud. The food is good, but service needs to pick up. Vedas specializes in North-West Frontier and Mughlai cuisine. If you love rabri there you have your desert. If not, then there's little to choose from. The dessert deserts you.
ess bee

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