This was my second visit to XII Zodiac which is housed in the Fern Residency and this time I had the opportunity to feast on some amazing Gujarati food that is actually quite rare to find in the city. To be very frank, before this Gujarati food tasting happened to me I had only tasted Gujarati snacks like Dhokla and Khakhra, but never had an opportunity to have an entire Gujarati meal.
Also as a matter of fact, I was pretty skeptical about this Gujarati dinner thing since I thought it will be an entirely vegetarian affair which I so deadly try to avoid on a Saturday night! 🙂 But I was more than pleasantly surprised when I discovered the Gujarati food items Fern has come up with that has more to it and it’s actually extremely interesting, well planned out and in the end quite soul-satisfying. It might actually require you to come down to Fern and taste these Gujarati dishes to believe what I am trying to say here! I can assure you this will only leave you enthralled and in disbelief that sitting in Kolkata you can get such amazing cuisine that is really not readily available in the city.
XII Zodiac which we know by now is Kolkata’s first Sun-sign based restaurant has attracted loads of eyeballs for its elegant interiors and rightly priced flavorful food. Coming to the location, this is located at Noa Para, Rajarhat quite close to the busy Chinar Park crossing beside the Pipal Tree Hotel. Just as a piece of information – there is car parking space available inside the hotel premises for XII Zodiac restaurant guests, so you need not worry about that.
The interiors of Fern Residency as well as XII Zodiac have always impressed me. It is not gaudy and the overall finish simply exudes class and warmth. The solid white top table, glass and wooden finished walls, lovely blue couches, everything sets a right note that ultimately comes together to create the symphony that helps you settle down real fast. The hanging spherical glass lights over the tables are charismatic as well and create a mystic dramatic environment which is more than captivating. But anyway, the plus point is very evident – this light is perfect for clicking food pics, for sure 🙂
Coming to the food, loads of Gujarati delicacies are brought together to build one entire elaborate menu that starts with appetizers and goes up to desserts. In fact here at XII Zodiac you will be served a pre-appetizer that is called amouse bouche, it comprises of various food specimens that signifies air, fire, water and earth, like for air we have specimen of sandwich, for water we have water melon juice, etc. Anyway coming back to the items I had tried with my Panchphoron fellow foodies, here they are:
:: STARTERS ::
a) Dhokla: We started off with the most common and most popular Gujarati dish. Dhokla is basically made of a fermented batter derived from rice and split chickpeas that results in a fluffy cake to be tasted with tangy tamarind chutney. Here the dhoklas were cylindrical and tasted really good.
b) Farali Pattice Vadodara: Talking about the presentation, all these dishes were very nicely presented and this was no exception. Farali Pattice is actually quite similar to the North Indian Aloo tikki, it has got the fresh grated coconut and fresh coriander leaves in it and it is stuffed with peanuts, cashews and raisins. It was a lovely starter for sure.
c) Khandvi: These looked basically like aloo tikki to me and it has a yellowish tinge to it. These are tightly rolled bite-sized pieces, and are primarily made of gram flour and curd. It tasted nice though it was not that soft or bouncy.
d) Sev Khamani: Sev Khamni is basically is grated khaman that is served with sev and other spices. It is prepared in bhelpuri style with chopped onion, tomatoes, nuts, etc in there. This is worth a try.
e) Masala Khakhra: Khakhra as we know is a famous Gujarati snacks is made from whole wheat flour, salt, oil and water. The dough is rolled out and cooked on a tava with pressure applied till crisp. In the end the result was fabulous and very authentic for sure. The crispiness to the khakhra was just right, you just can’t miss this.
f) Chakli: It is typically made from flours of rice, Bengal gram and black gram, there is nothing noteworthy to mention about chaklis here, but they are nicely prepared anyway and with this item we come to an end to the starters section.
::: MAIN COURSE :::
a) Lauki Thepla: This tandoori roti looking yellowish item looked pretty run of the mill but tasted really nice. They were made out of spiced bottle gourd and whole wheat flat bread.
b) Undhiyu Methi Muthia: These were kinda shaped like elongated veggie balls which were actually made from chickpea flour and fenugreek leaves. Tasted good if not great.
c) Kadhi Bharucha: These are the fried chickpea pakoris in a beautiful seasoned pool of chickpea gravy. Tasted really nice!
d) Dal Dhokli: Well I simply loved this dal, it was bit sweet and soothing in taste. This is a Gujarati dish made by boiling thick wheat flour noodles in a pigeon pea stew. Worth a try!
e) Lehsuni Batata: Again I loved this dish since I love preparations primary made with potatoes. This was basically a full spicy baby potato very well cooked with garlic flavored curry.
f) Trevti dal: This was a tangy and mildly spiced dal made with three types of lentils, it tasted good and went good with the Lauki Thepla.
g) Gujarati Masala Bhaat: As the name goes it is a flavored fried rice dish made with vegetables and spices, it has fried ladies fingers by the side and raita, papad and salad to go with. It was nice and was the only rice dish but I felt it lacked some flavor and was touch low on saltiness.
h) Koru Kukra nu saak: This was the only chicken dish on the menu. The famous Chicken preparation that Gujaratis relish with the flavor of garlic and curry leaves. Tasted really nice and it’s surely worth a try, it is bit spicy, but not too much.
i) Sourashtra Fish Curry: This was the best non-veg item for sure. The fish in there was fresh and boneless. The fish curry was prepared very well with the flavor of coconut. Must try!
::: DESSERT :::
a) Mohan Thal: These are Gujarati sweet dishes made out of gram flour, milk, sugar, ghee, almonds and pista. Somewhat looked like circular Bengali sandesh, but was not that overtly sweet.
b) Gujarati Karanjias: It’s a kind of a fried Gujia stuffed with coconut, mawa, rasin, cashu and soaked in sugar syrup, nice to taste!
c) Shrikhand: This is familiar to many actually. It is an Indian sweet dish made of strained yogurt and generally flavored with saffron, cardamom or diced fruits. Here the stuff was prepared really well, hopefully it will suit your palate as well.
d) Basundi: It is a kind of rabri garnished with pesta, almonds and kesar. It’s served in a small bowl and it tasted very nice, I specially liked it for not being too sweet.
That concludes the Gujarati menu which was tasted here at XII Zodiac. The service was pretty good and prompt, though I guess the servers should be bit more informed. Hopefully people will get to know about this place and I guess if they keep on working hard with sincerity that day is not so far away, I wish the team the very best and surely this place has got all the potential according to me. Way to go!