Holiday Inn Kolkata Airport, the new 5 star property in the city has launched their all day dining outlet- the Social Kitchen.
With a seating capacity of 70, situated at the lobby level of the hotel with tastefully designed décor in shades of yellow & beige and a relaxed ambience , Social Kitchen serves a variety of world cuisine and offers a delicious spread of Indian, Mediterranean, Continental and Oriental cuisines.
“The Social Kitchen will offer a wide variety of global delicacies as well regional delights to the food connoisseurs of Kolkata. The coffee shop will serve as the ideal place for breakfast, afternoon or evening get-togethers or the perfect dinner with your family and the loved ones,” says Mr Kenneth Scott, General Manager, Holiday Inn Kolkata Airport.
A chat with Suman Chakraborty, the executive chef tells you that here is a guy who is very passionate about his food. He insists on the freshness of the ingredients- for example he will pick fresh prawns over frozen ones. Also, the focus is on seasonally available food. Plus there is a very strict onus on safety and hygiene with regular checks and auditing.
Apart from the elaborate ala carte menu, which includes a wide variety of dishes, Social Kitchen also has a buffet comprising of Indian, Asian and European cuisines and regional favourites as well paired with unlimited soft beverages. The buffet is at INR 899 A.I for lunch and INR 999 A.I for dinner as a part of their introductory offer.
Coming to the buffet, the spread was enormous and it will basically leave you spoilt for choice. Ten menus go around in a cyclical order 7 days a week, so you have something new every day.
What struck me was a dedicated health section which has on offer a variety of fresh vegetables – varieties of lettuce, olives, gherkins , broccoli and so on which you can customise to your own taste with a variety of salad dressings. “Starting your meal with them cleanses your appetite and makes you ready for the main course,’ says Chakraborty.
Listing out a few dishes out of the several dishes on the buffet menu is kind of impossible, but I still tried.
- Roasted salmon and fennel duet ( salad): The salad spread was varied, but I loved this one the most- fresh poached salmon mixed with dressing of orange juice and fennel puree, garnished with salt and pepper. As with any good salad, what strikes you is the freshness and that all the flavours are subtle and does not overpower.
- Steamed fish with Kikkoman (with whole fish): If, like me , you love to eat your fish, this one is a dish that will blow your mind. The dish is a Thai dish, pieces of whole steamed basa marinated in lemongrass, jaggery, soya sauce( Kikkoman), garlic, oyster sauce and lemon juice. Being steamed, this is a light and healthy dish, and the gravy goes well with steamed rice. Slicing through the soft basa filets is a pleasure in itself. Strictly for fish lovers, this dish is.
- Fresh water prawn with pakchoy, red peppers: The prawn is grilled with the shell so that it retains its tenderness. Chakraborty insists that only fresh prawns are used and not the frozen ones. The pink peppercorns give it a lighter pepper like taste and the pakchoy has a sweet and delicate crunch. Here is one dish you would not mind using your hands for.
- Bharwan Anjeer Kofta: Essentially a Punjabi speciality, this dish, also the chef’s favourite, is made of dumplings ( kofta) made of figs and cottage cheese, served with an aromatic, Mughlai style, silky gravy. Best had with steamed rice, this is one is a classic.
- Tangri Biriyani: For a die-hard Kolkatan foodie, the Biriyani is something very close to one’s heart. And we will die to uphold the fact that the ‘ Kolkata Biriyani’ a definite style of Biriyani, is better than its Lucknow and Hyderabad counterparts. The Tangri Biriyani (made of chicken legs) served here was light and flavoured with an amalgamation of spices. As the Chakraborty puts it, chicken breasts pieces tend to dry up, but chicken legs tend to retain the juicy character. The Biryani went just right with the mutton rezala.
- Lamington: The dessert spread was humungous but my pick was the Lamington. An Australian specialty, it is as Chakraborty says, Australia’s equivalent to Bengal’s Sandesh. It is made of sponge cake coated in layers of chocolate and rolled in desiccated coconut. Here, they came in different colours. My first brush with Lamington was at a small bakery in Shilong and I was so delighted to taste it here. This hard to resist Australian classic is something that is not easy to find in traditional bakery stores and is sure a novelty.
I stay about ten minutes from the hotel and I have to admit that this part of the city still lags behind the South when it comes to good dining places. Social Kitchen is a welcome new addition. My parents anniversary is next month and now I know where to take them!