Been there couple of weeks back on a Friday night with my childhood-pal-cum-best-friend-turned-brother! We were there maybe to feel a bit more nostalgic, to pay some sort of tribute to this piece of history at Park Street. But yes we were definitely there for some beef and beer while it was just about to rain outside! Being a Friday night the place was overcrowded, absolutely filled to the brim. We were asked to wait right outside till some good fella decides to get up and head home. After about 10 minutes our turn came and we were asked to step inside and take one small 2 seater table right near the main entrance. The location was not very convenient to carry on any sort of discussion or to have food. The table beside us was almost attached to ours and we felt as if two strangers were sitting right beside us to share some booze. In fact we started chatting with them after a while, but could not carry on for long when we saw them having butter toast with whiskey, it was weird to say the least 🙂
Food ordered —- We went in for one beef steak and one mutton steak, along with some beer. It took a long time for the food to reach us but when it came we felt it was worth waiting. The beef steak was done Medium Rare, means, it was overall firm yet with a warm succulent red centre. The redness comes due to myoglobin protein in the muscles, in Medium Rare the myoglobin and other juices are retained and the iron atoms are not oxidized that will give the browning effect to the steak. Hence we loved the juices which were still sealed in there and enjoyed it thoroughly with the mashed potato, green peas and poached egg, goes very well with some beer. But this steak should be consumed when warm else it can become extremely hard and rubbery. The mutton steak was bit of a let down, it’s not really a steak, had some minced mutton pieces in it which was disheartening as we were not really looking for this. Anyway it was going quite well with the sautéed veggies and light caramelized onion rings. Quantity of food served is good enough for an adult.
Price —- Price of food is quite reasonable here and you get separate printed bills for food whereas generally hand written bill comes for beverages. VAT and service taxes are charged on top of this. You need to pay by cash here, cards are not accepted. Waiters expect some tips and generally stand by your table after handing over the change to you, it’s the only time you’ll find them standing beside you… waiting for your next move! 🙂
Service —- On that note, lets discuss about the service. It was dismal to say the least; they definitely need more man power. You have to wait for long to get your table clean, you have to wait for long for someone to collect your order, you have to wait for long to get your drinks, you have to wait for very long to get your food, you have to wait for even longer to get your bill and for refills or amendments it can be a real pain, and often you will try to avoid any change in the order you would have otherwise preferred to make. But still we will keep going back there, it’s the tradition that plays the magic, which pulls you there.
Ambiance —- As my friend said – “what Calcutta Coffee House is to coffee lovers, Olypub is the same to the boozehounds”. It’s the rich heritage and tradition that makes you come back, to be a part of the history. It has got high ceiling fans, humble interiors, old wooden tables, chairs and few not-so-comfortable couches. It is always buzzing with ‘bangaliyana’ and is always well lit, not so in-sync with other new-age pubs around the town. But I guess you can not change this ambiance and you should not, that will simply tamper this “holy pub” of old Calcutta and do no good. Let it be the way it is.
Summary —- Here are my granular ratings:
Food quantity: 3.8/5
Food quality: 3.4/5
Food presentation: 3.2/5
Value for money: 4/5
Overall —- The enigmatic old world charm oozes from this place and makes it even more interesting inspite of several drawbacks as discussed above. We all Bengalis are well aware of it’s pros and cons and will be back for more. We are ready to adjust with the slow service, the over-crowdedness or only-cash payment method, we just want this place to stay, stay for ever and ever. We just want to keep making memories around it. Let the legend live long!