Very often you won’t find two contrasting elements coming together to produce any wonder. Such was the case at the latest eatery where I was invited. This restaurant is called ‘Tram Deepo’ and as the name indicates, it is a themed restaurant and the theme is the vehicle that Calcuttans are availing since 1873, i.e. the trams. The trams which still run in Calcutta are the oldest electric trams in Asia and in fact it is the only tram network running in India. Previously it used to be horse-drawn trams which helped people commute, but with time trams kept on losing its importance in the city of joy, and people started avoiding trams and rather go for faster moving and more flexible vehicles and cabs. But since Calcutta never forgets its roots, so trams are still running in Kolkata and it is mostly becoming a heritage element in the city, which of course we are proud of. Now, instead of trams and old yellow taxis, what we can find more commonly in the city are the App-based cabs, malls, closed-down factories, new restaurants and restropubs!! City crowd has started living life on a faster lane, they are trying to work hard and party even harder. Thus we got the latest restropub ‘Tram Deepo’ where two contrasting elements has come together, one is vanishing fast from the city, i.e. the tram, while the other is just making its entry in the city and into the lives of the city dwellers, i.e. the restro-pubs.
Couple of days back I visited this place when Panchphoron food bloggers group was invited over to this fascinating and interesting property by the owner Mr. Mahesh Singhania. Trams are surely one of the most authentic heritages of the city running for over 140 years now and it is really nice to get it themed into one restaurant where the young crowd will love to go. This tram surely does not run on its tracks, but instead it can leave you tipsy! And that’s why young Kolkatans are keen to take this fascinating ride and hop into the city’s first tram-themed restro-bar and club. The place is located very close to Quest Mall on the main road itself right opposite the Great Eastern electronics shop, the building address is 45, Jhowtala Road and you can step into the tram if you elevate yourself up to the 2nd floor.
Without an iota of doubt, the interiors are fabulous. The 3,600 sq. ft. pub area is surely very well decorated to suit the theme and the mood of a restro-pub. What fascinated me most is the flooring. The floor in the front section where you have the bar section looks typically like the city roads made out of stone chips, tar and scattered with potholes! The 30 feet long bar section has total 50 high barstools and high chairs which is good enough even when you visit with a large group. Also loved that blue and white Calcutta tram cut-out which is a nice spot to click pictures with your gang. In this section, the walls adorn lovely paintings related to the Calcutta trams which add more to the nostalgia factor. Apart from this dimly lit bar section there is a next section that has a lounge feel to it, also there are separated out cubicles which will give you a feel that you are sitting inside a tram compartment. You can pick your depot (since the compartments are named like that), like Ballygunge, Kalighat, Tollygunge, Esplanade, etc. Also there is the DJ’s console right outside this. We were seated in an isolated private room beside the lounge which is of course part of this restro-bar. This room is big enough as well and is ideal for serious addas or meetings. On the wall of this room you will get projection which shows videos related to Kolkata trams.
Now coming straight to the food and beverages, let us list down the items which were served with a line or two about each. But before we begin, I must say the food was actually pretty amazing though a little bit effort can take the beverages to a whole new level. So here are the items:
I really loved their signature drink named ‘Slow and Steady’ which coincidentally are the best adjectives to describe Kolkata trams as well. This drink was presented inside a scooped out pineapple with pineapple slices placed on top, it looked amazing and tasted really nice and comforting with a mild tang to it. Loved this sweet and tangy citrus drink with loads of crushed ice in it. Also loved the Watermelon mojito, which was sweet and refreshing with that watermelon extract and dash of mint. But what I liked most are the two chocolate drinks, the Oreo Shake and the Kitkat shake. Both these were served in long glasses with dripping chocolate syrup from the rims. These were thick, creamy, immensely chocolaty but not overtly sweet.
We were served several vegetarian dishes which included – Irani Paneer, Chilli Garlic Potato, Basil Pesto Pasta, Indian veg platter, Continental veg platter, etc. The presentation of the Iranian Paneers was the best since it was served on a quirky black spade and the paneers were amazingly flavorful, soft and bouncy served along with finely chopped salad. Also loved the green colored Basil Pesto Pasta with that fragrance of sweet basil and perfect balance of cheesy flavors. Then came the platters which are best kind of dishes in restro-bars or gastro bars. The Indian platter had hara tawa kebab, paneer 65, mixed veg, naan and fresh salad. Whereas the continental once had Mexican potato skins,veg qusidilla, harissa cottage cheese and garlic bread. Loved the veg quisdalla and preferred the continental platter over the Indian one.
Next came the Non-veg items which included – Thai chicken skewers, Sholey kabab, Jalapeño vodka chicken, Red Thai curry, Tram Deepo signature platter, Oriental non-veg platter. In short, the non-veg items really impressed me a lot, the dishes were somewhat class apart and these are something which we’ll really miss if yo don’t try! Loved the Chicken skewers with that mild Thai fragrance; we relished that tight beaten grilled chicken with that lovely dip. The Sholey kababs were a gem, bit innovative yet simple; they were juicy chicken kababs rolled into small thin omelet pieces. The Thai Red curry was amazing as well and it tasted very close to what I had tasted in Thailand several times. The presentation was quaint on that black dish and bright green lime leaf on top. The balance of lemongrass, kafir lime, crushed coriander roots and galangal was quite perfect in that curry with those juicy chicken pieces, tasted heavenly with that sticky rice in every spoon. Tram Deepo signature platter included malai tikka, chicken sheekh, bhuna gosht, naan and salad. Whereas the Oriental non-veg platter included chilli chicken, chicken popcorn and salt-n-pepper chicken. Loved both these platters but preferred the oriental one which was one awesome pubgrub with those bite sized chicken pieces.
In the desserts, we tried Chocolate brownie with ice cream, Caramel custard, and Pannacotta. All the desserts looked great and tasted amazing. Chocolate brownie with ice cream was presented in a martini glass and the brownie was bit crushed with that dollop of ice cream on top. Both the caramel custard and pannacotta had the perfect textures and were spongy and flavorful.
Overall, I quite liked this new restro-bar in the city. The food and ambiance are key elements in such places and surely that is excellent at this place. I would rate this place 8.5 out of 10 which is awesome I believe, a bit more effort of the beverages can surely increase the rating. So surely do visit this place for great ambiance, amazing non-veg dishes, DJ and live music, old world charm of the trams and dining inside tram-like compartments! You surely won’t regret this romantic ride and reliving this moment inside the charming electric reptile while sipping your favorite drink or munching your selected pub grub!