Sundeep Bhutoria

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Where Oh! defines Calcutta's finest dining

At Jhaal Farezi
April 7, 2014: Over the years I had heard so much about this restaurant called Oh! Calcutta, but rather strangely, being a foodie, I had never been there. Finally it happened on Sunday evening.
I was there at the Oh! Calcutta in Forum Mall on Elgin Road. For those who have not heard about it, Oh! Calcutta is one of the brands of Anjan Chatterjee's Speciality Restaurants Ltd serving traditional Bengali, nawabi and colonial cuisine.
Among the other chains owned by restaurateur Anjan Chatterjee include restaurant brands Mainland China, Sweet Bengal, Sigree Global Grill, Cafe Mezunna, Sweet Bengal, Hoppipola, Flame and Grill, Haka, Mobifeast and Machaan and few others.
I went to Oh! Calcutta with few guests on the suggestion of a food critique and a writer friend who was also with us on Sunday. It was nice of Mrs Minoo Chatterjee, wife of Anjan, to book a table for us and instruct the staff to make our dining experience all the more pleasant and memorable.
Compared to any restaurant in Kolkata, the food and service at Oh! Kolkata is far superior and beyond my expectations. I would, in fact say that it is definitely a cut above all restaurants and in league with the top restaurants of the city's five star hotels which I visit frequently.
What really struck me about the food was the remarkable manner in which they have blended in the local flavour in different cuisine right from the starters (gandharaj paneer tikka) to the dessert (nolen gurer ice-cream). It was well prepared and served with great panache. It was one great experience that defined fine dining.
A word about service. I haven't seen any eatery in Kolkata where the waiters, after serving soft drinks, come on their own with an ice bucket to offer and serve you ice cubes. Elsewhere, you invariably have to ask for it.
Likewise, besides placing an assortment of pickles, chutney, lemon, chillies etc., the waiters made it a point to put chaat masala on the table. I have been to places but don’t remember any restaurant, at home or abroad, where they had placed chaat masala on the table without asking.  
These apparently small things matter a lot and actually make a place great. This is something that I know from my years of experience dining in exotic places across the globe.
At Jhaal Farezi with Kunal and Madhu
I was really impressed with the standard of service. I am sure those who crib about lack of proper restaurant service in this part of the world would undergo a change of heart should they visit Oh! Calcutta.
The whole experience at Oh! Calcutta was wonderful and my only regret was not having gone there before. Thanks to Mr and Mrs Chatterjee for this wonderful gift to the City of Joy. For me, it was like discovering one bright dining spot our city.
Today afternoon we had the second event of our series Recipe Rendezvous at Jhaal Farezi with my friend and food critique Mita Kapur.
ess bee

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