Many Kolkatans still love to call their beloved city as ‘Calcutta’, maybe to cling on to the history or to stay close to the old world charm and nearly blurred out memories of the golden bygone era of undivided Bengal. And of course food has surely been a part of those memories which signifies so many cultures and so many divides but they are all ultimately brought together to deliver gastronomical fulfillment to all the patrons and food enthusiasts. The city also has got a well established culture of migrant population that has impacted the overall culinary scenario is several ways over the generations. Lately I was introduced to a new casual dining destination in Kolkata from the house of Tak Heng, called ‘Calcutta Stories’ that promises to be the melting pot of so many delectable migrant cuisines like Parsee, Jewish, Anglo Indian, Armenian and of course Thai and Chinese from Tak Heng.
We visited the place on an invitation from the management where the Panchphoron food bloggers group was invited for a food tasting session. If I want to give a quick overview of the place in terms of food then I must say, Calcutta Stories boasts of an array of Chinese delicacies at an unbeatable price and it is exemplary when it comes to authenticity of the dishes. This place has a grand buffet which I guess oriental food lovers should try out since there you get numerous menu options like fish, prawn, crab, etc just at INR 550 all inclusive. Also here vegetarians have ample menu options to choose from which is quite appreciable. There are numerous a la carte options both in oriental and in other migrant cuisines. They also have got an awesome Chelo Kabab platter which is sure to entice you with the majestic sight and flavors. And in the highlights I just can’t miss mentioning about their unique mocktails and cocktails.
The place is located at Keyatala Road which can be reached through Purna Das Road or even if you are approaching from Golpark crossing. The place has got a huge name board, so you shouldn’t be missing it when you reach the spot or pass by. The restaurant is located at the first floor of the building and it appears to be a typical south Kolkata residential apartment when you step into this place. For Tak Heng visitors this plain and simple white washed walled interior is not new. Here they target to satisfy the customers through awesome and authentic flavors, and not really through the flashy interiors. I quite like this approach, but later down the line when feasible I guess interiors and ambiance should also be leveled up to give the dining experience a whole new dimension. Otherwise the ambiance right now is very homely, simple and truly gives you a flavor of old Calcutta. The simple furniture, chandeliers, cotton chequered table clothes with frill linings, neatly framed sketches of the city give you a relaxed and uncomplicated ambiance to dine in, where you can solely concentrate on the food. The outer section has wooden finish flooring as well though that is missing in the inner private dining section which can be booked for parties or get-togethers. Overall the place has got huge sitting capacity divided between these two sections.
Now, let’s straight come to the food which we had tasted here. First of all, I was floored by the plethora of dishes which were served that ranged through all the migrant cuisines mentioned above. We were served a platter in the beginning having various elements like Jewish Chicken Shooftas, Moroccan Cigars, Chicken Fried wantons, and Chicken steamed momos. The platter, as you can guess, looked fantastic and when we tried each of these items we were equally impressed. I specifically loved the Cigars and steamed momos. Basically the shooftas were pan grilled seekh kababs whereas the Cigars had a mashed filling of roasted chicken liver and onions in a crispy fried outer skin layer that looked like a cigar and tasted subtle and amazing. The wantons were very crispy but the filling was tad less, though it was eclipsed by the sweet and sour vinegar dip which was outstanding. The chicken momos which is a specialty of Tak Heng was juicy, thin skinned and pretty amazing with generous stuffing of minced onion and chicken. Next we tried the Parsi Brown Rice which was reddish brown in color and had a pretty decent taste and aroma. The Anglo Indian Tamarind Dal was flavorful, dense and tad sour, and the indian breads tasted nice with it. The Jewish Chicken Chitance was awesome to be honest. It had whole big pieces of chicken like we see in Indian curries and it tasted wonderful with a slight tang, spiciness and touch of sweetness to finish off.
The Jewish Fish Polao came next which was quite unique and I had it for the first time, it had handsome pieces of fish cubes and small sliced brinjal pieces to give a slight sweet and subtle flavor to it which was very typical of this dish, it’s something which you should taste at least once. The vegetable in sweet and sour sauce which was served next in a white bowl looked wholesome, colorful and appetizing. It had broccoli, baby corn, carrots and other exotic diced veggies in it. There was another similar dish with a different tangy flavor to it. It was called Exotic veggies in Ginger Wine Sauce that contained baby corn, tomatoes, and spring onions in ginger wine sauce. The dish which was served next left us speechless, it was one of the star dishes of the afternoon, called Prawns in coriander pepper sauce. The dish contained bouncy tender prawns in a spicy pepper and coriander gravy. It tasted absolutely fabulous and I loved all the spiciness that it had. Next came another Tak Heng special side dish called crab in chilli oyster sauce, it looked majestic and tasted great with those shelled crabs and diced veggies all around. We also tried the Lamb dumplings in manchurian sauce which tasted really nice, the dumplings had a tight generous filling of minced lamb which was really amazing and tad spicy. Next we were served the Singapore noodles and I can vouch for the taste of this dish, it was out of the world when we are talking about tossed hakka noodles and such similar dishes. As a dessert, we were served Gondhoraj lemon Soufflé which was served in small cylindrical glass and which I finished off in a jiffy 🙂 It was smooth as silk and had a perfect subtle taste which was not overtly sweet. Also we were served three mocktails, most of which were pretty distinctive but I liked only the one with extract of black grapes, it was fresh and fruity. I loved the Ice cream soda tried at this place, it reminded me of my childhood days, and it felt so good!
So, it’s your turn now to come to this new restaurant to explore these dishes with huge historical significance! I will surely come back to this place and as of now will rate it 8 out of 10. It’s for people who love experimenting and trying out varied and offbeat cuisines. It’s a serious food adventure that you will surely remember for long, and is surely worth trying. I wish Prithvish and the entire Calcutta Stories team all the very best for the coming days, they are sure to grow with all their sincere and honest efforts to serve so many cuisines with the authentic and best possible ingredients.
A big thumbs up from my side!