It amazed me to find so much potential in such a joint that looked so casual, bit laid back or rather tad too homely. The place which can still be termed as a ‘newly opened’ joint is one of the bright hidden gems that I have unearthed in the recent times. Not that there ain’t any area of improvement, there are loads but the age needs to be kept in mind before judging this place with the big daddies of the business; just as a piece of fact, acceleration is more precious than steady speed when it can be handled good. I was mighty pleased with this place since the food did all the talking here and the rest of the glittery paraphernalia (which gets more brownie points from many) took a backseat when the gastronomic deal was in progress.
This is a joint that can be called a ‘shopaholic’s café’ primarily for its location. Its location is its boon as well as its curse (according to me) since very few people can spot it from the main road, its entrance is all covered up by the road-side stalls and hawker’s who are all messing up the place but in the same time providing the charm of good ol’ gariahat that we all know! So as I said earlier, this place literally is hidden and is truly a hidden gem of this area. It is located beside the Beduoin restaurant and opposite the Basanti Devi college near gariahat crossing. This place is primarily serving oriental cuisine along with few other quick bites and I was glad to receive the food tasting invitation that introduced me to this lovely joint sitting right in the epicenter of hustle and bustle of the Gariahat market. But when you are in there you are really cut-off from the mad city rush that’s creating all the turmoil outside, only thing – I would love the glass doors to have some frosted finish so that I don’t even have to get a sight of that mad rush or the nail-biting negotiations going on outside in that market.
The place has got ample space which is nicely utilized by placing several small tables with modest colorful chairs along with it. For large groups such tables can be brought together, so that won’t be an issue. Most, interesting thing that I noticed while I was there at this joint is – people simply walk in while they are in between some hectic shopping schedule for a breather, and that’s why I said the location is a boon to this place. There is ample space and you need not go for reservations. Except the flooring I kinda liked the interior, especially the wall decor which is very colorful and vibrant. You have wall graffiti that depicts urban folks dining at restaurants, also the wall has got the city skyline and overall the wall arts inject loads of life into this place. Next noteworthy object is the hanging colorful glass lights which when all lit up looks really wonderful, you can go on practicing some of your photography skills with these lights (as subject) for sure!
Now let us come to the crux of the matter and yes, that’s the time when we discuss about the food. Though you get some quick bites here like sandwiches, fish n chips to go with some coffee or black tea, but the main cuisine that is being served here is Chinese. And that is Chinese with some great flavour and visible honesty, thus kinda justifying the name ‘Golden flavour’! Now let us check out the dishes which were tasted by me –
a) Aam Panna – I was served a glass of water and a glass of Aam Panna right after I reached this place. It was chilled and refreshing with beautiful green color, the perfect drink with heat-resistant properties that I was looking for after coming in from that blazing summer sun.
b) Chicken Lollipop – The chicken lollipop tried at this place was nice with that tangy sauce making it perfect for the admirers of this dish, it had good amount of chicken around the top giving that look of a lollipop. It was bit stuffed before frying it and tossing it with that sauce. You will surely like this bite sized finger food that is garnished with chopped spring onions.
c) Fish n Chips – Well, the fish n chips served here is different from the conventional Fish n chips that you get in some continental joints, gastrobars or maybe at steakhouses where it’s served with the tartar sauce. Originally this dish was prepared in the 17th century in England. But here you’ll get a twisted version, so it’s better to be prepared for that twist. Here it is more like a homely Kolkata version of fish and chips. The fish you get is fresh Bhetki batter-fried with French fries served along. The fish does the trick, it is really fresh and awesome to taste. The chaat masala which is sprinkled on top can be avoided. I loved this twist since I am always open to new dishes or old dishes with some twist, I will again go for this for that awesome flavorful fresh Bhetki in there!
d) Chicken Steamed Momo – The chicken steamed momos were perfect to be true, they were nice in size and the minced onion, garlic and chicken filling was just good enough to satiate your momo cravings. The red chilli paste or rather the sauce provided along with this was also one perfect companion to go with. The skin was moderately thin and has a nice oily texture to it that’s perfect. You may also opt for pan fried momos but I personally always go for the steamed ones and they worked well for me here, worth a try!
e) Pan Fried Chilli Fish – This was one of the dishes which I really loved and would again order for it when I’m back. It was tossed with bell pepper, onion, carrot, coriander, etc and the fish in there again did the trick. It was again fresh Bhetki with some amazing taste and aroma. Yes, this place serves some seriously awesome preparations of fish unlike many other joints. Do try this out.
f) Teriyaki Chicken – If you wanna go for some tangy dish with some pan fried chicken in there then you can go for this. Though Teriyaki has originally been a grilled preparation but these days we can find pan fried teriyaki chicken dishes as well. So since it’s not grilled you won’t get any smoky flavor but due to frying for long the outer skin is bit crunchy here which might suit the palate of many, though I would have liked it a bit more juicy and tender. But that thick soy based sauce did the trick again. And yes, this dish was served with freshly cut pineapple slices which went well with that tangy pan fried chicken.
g) Red Pepper Fish – Since I found the fish sides to be very good at this place, I ordered for my third fish preparation of the afternoon, and again I was not disappointed. Infact this was of the same class again prepared with fresh Bhetki. The very well prepared flavorful fish went well with the noodles. The green, red and yellow bell peppers were tossed with the nicely cut pieces of Bhetki and sesame seeds were sprinkled on top making it look more appetizing. Worth a try!
h) Egg Chicken Hakka Noodles – Oh boy I loved the simple honest comforting hakka noodles served here. It somehow reminded me of Yam Mein which has similar subtle taste and gives you the taste of old-school Chinese. The noodles were very well tossed with veggies, chicken and egg and had a lovely aroma and subtle flavor that acts as a perfect base for any side to go with. And yes, it was served in a bowl that had huge quantity packed in it, good enough for two persons. Worth a try!
In the end, all these were then washed down by some chilled soft drinks that kinda completed the food tasting session. And now if I talk about the service, then I would say it is effective and courteous, but bit more manpower with time will do good. The place promises to serve good honest food and it exceeds my expectations in doing so, the ingredients used are remarkable and the final flavour will surely bring you back. Also the pricing is reasonable and pocket pleasing. A perfect joint for the students for sure. I am sure they will keep improving and with time they will attract even more customers who are not very regular in this Gariahat area. Till then I wish the team well and wish them all the best for their future ventures.