Sundeep Bhutoria

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Discovering new food joints in Kolkata

Tuesday, February 25, 2014: On Sunday, after the Nitin Mukhesh show, I went to a place called The Corner Courtyard (TCC) on Sarat Bose Road which opened last October.
In the last five years, Sarat Bose Road, with its eateries and cafes of all kinds – Lebanese, Japanese, Continental, Mexican and so on – has become a new Park Street-of-sorts in the city. I had never been to any of these joints earlier.
I don’t exactly remember when, apart from the five star hotels, I walked into any of the restaurants or cafes other than Flury’s or maybe just one or two Coffee Cafe Day cafes at Vivekananda Park or Wood Street for a meeting.
I was really impressed with the old-world aura of The Corner Courtyard which is a boutique hotel-cum-restaurant with a 50-seater restaurant-cum-patisserie and seven individually themed designer rooms. The restaurant, serving Italian and Continental food, came into being after renovating a 100 plus old colonial era building with period furniture and decor. In some ways TCC is like the Jhaal Farezi but much cosier.
Later, I was told that it is owned and run by Ms Megha Agarwal a young entrepreneur who left her job in a consultancy firm to follow her passion. I met Ms Agarwal before leaving the cafe.
There was a time when girls from the Marwari families were into jewellery and fashion designing only. But in the last couple of years I have seen that many of them have begun to open food joints which was earlier considered a taboo since it was implied that a successful restaurant would have to serve non-vegetarian dishes.
In fact, I recently attended the opening of another restaurant in Quest Mall called Smoke House Deli, which, again, is an initiative of two Marwari housewives Manjri Agarwal and Abhilasha Sethia. The duo have also penned a book called Healthy Cooking for Patients with Kidney Ailments. The book, as the name suggests, is all about healthy and tasty recipes to help patients eat their way to good health.
I found the menu at The Corner Courtyard very innovative and different from the other Italian restaurants in Kolkata. Rohan D'Souza is the Consultant Chef for TCC who has crafted the menu. In fact, the pizza that I had there reminded me of one of the posh restaurants of Venice where I had tasted similar kind (thin type) of pizza years ago. The restaurant was full to its capacity with a queue outside waiting.
This is usually the case with new restaurants which has an aura of novelty around it. But once it wears off the crowd becomes usual. But this one, I had a feeling, was bucking the trend.
Megha Agarwal's visiting card quotes Van Gogh “I am not an adventurer by choice but by fate.” I think it is indeed adventurous to open an outlet of this kind in Kolkata, especially one involving Italian food. I hope TCC would live beyond the beginner's curiosity to attract fine diners and do well.
I have realized of late that there are many new such joints which remain to be discovered and explored in Kolkata. 
Today afternoon I leave for Jaipur.
ess bee

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