Since last couple of years Bengali mango-people have accepted octopus and squid apart from mango, eilish and rosogolla in their normal diet! 🙂 Also they have learnt how to indulge in a calm adventurous gastronomical journey with some lip smacking Tribal cuisine sitting right in the din and bustle of the city. And all credit for this sudden change in the world of taste buds goes to Santa’s Fantasea and the masterminds behind this unique eat-out concept. There was really no coastal cuisine joint in the city selling such exotic items previously along with Tribal cuisine which was again similar to an alien from Neptune to the Bengalis!
I still remember the first time I reviewed the Golpark branch of Santa’s Fantasea, my followers are readers asked me how octopus tastes like. And I was glad to reply to each of them! The whole thing started off with a spark and with great excitement. That went on to be quite big which is primarily due to the consistency and some mind-boggling Tribal dishes according to me. And the reason why I started off my review with ‘mango people’ is because poor people like me gets to try these exotic coastal and tribal dishes at such super affordable rates which is somewhat unbelievable! 🙂 With this new Sector-5 outlet they are trying to go big this time. This place is actually called ‘Santa’s Fantasea Bistro’ and they plan to open up a bar section here pretty soon for relaxing the tired Techie brains!!
Few days ago I was invited here by the management to review this new outlet which is housed in the Globsyn Building (Saltlake Sector-5). I was there with my wife at this wonderful outlet for a relaxed Sunday late afternoon lunch and I was mighty impressed with its prime location and the spacious interiors. The place already has a seating capacity of 60+ people and that will go up when the bar / lounge section will start operating. The rural artists have painted some amazing artwork on the walls and pillars which has given this place that perfect tribal touch. The ambiance is relaxed, airy and pretty homely (especially for a techie who has spent most of his/her adulthood in these techie alleys). As I was discussing with Mr.Partha, co-owner of this venture, that it would be really interesting to see how the lounge area is set up next, keeping in mind the coastal or tribal theme!
Now, let’s come straight to the food and beverages which I had tasted at this outlet during this tasting session.
Since I have tried the Bansa Pora Mutton or Smoked Octopus so many times at their various outlets, I wanted to try something new and bit unique. I was suggested the below dishes by Mr.Partha himself. Firstly we were served the best selling and most popular mocktail from the menu and it’s called Kokum Sea Beach. It’s a super refreshing mocktail with the optimum fizz to give you that touch of refreshment in a moment. This fizzy masala based red colored drink is prepared with kokum. It is a fruit that really helps improving digestion and has other health benefits as well. This is truly a star mocktail and a ‘must-try’ item at Santa’s Fantasea.
Then we went on to the mains. I simply loved this tribal cuisine from Meghalaya named Jadoh rice which is a combination of red rice with mutton pieces. Maybe I was trying this for the second time at any Santa’s Fantasea outlet. It is bit on the spicier side but very flavorful and pretty dry which was somehow a plus point, I felt. I paired it with Jhupu Pisi’s Mutton delicacy, according to me it is the best dish that this place has to offer. This was no doubt the star item of the afternoon. It is a dish from Mizoram locally termed as Voksa Rep Chum. It has got smoked tender mutton with mustard leaves in amazing flavorful gravy. And yes, it tastes heavenly.
I had also ordered for Smoked Squid which was again beautifully prepared with the right dose of lemongrass and lime leaves on top; just one thing, I felt the squids were a bit chewy which actually shouldn’t be the case. I had tasted fresh squids at Bintan Island, Indonesia and elsewhere as well, and I really loved the soft and bouncy texture of the squids there which has somehow set a high benchmark for squids (and octopus as well) for my taste buds! We also tried the Nalli Nihari with Bakarkhani Roti that comes with salad and coriander sauce and is basically a Kashmiri dish, this was recommended by the owner himself. Now, frankly speaking, I have never tried this before so I had no idea how it would taste. After tasting it I must say it has got some spark which you shouldn’t miss. It looks amazing with those huge mutton leg pieces and the mutton was very well marinated and roasted with curd, ajwain, and authentic Himalayan spices. The mutton was very soft but the roti and overall the dish was tad dry.
After this, we tried the two desserts that this place has to offer – Tilhou Kheer and Chemmeen Kheer. The later one had dollops of prawn pieces in there which tasted ice, you wont get the typical smell of prawn from this dish, the dish overall tastes just like the kheer only and can surely be tried out. The Tilhou Kheer was tad better according to me, it is a Manipuri dish and had grated onion in it and the perfectly sweetened kheer tasted really good and soul pleasing. Overall, the food was very flavorful and we really enjoyed it. One last note – do not miss the Jhupu Pisi’s Mutton delicacy under any circumstances, it has got some magic!
No doubt the guys who were serving our food were courteous, prompt and friendly. There are no comments/concerns from my side about the service, but I hope they continue to be as attentive and warm with all the customers in the coming days. Because delicious food has to be paired with courteous services to make any restaurant do well in the long run. From my side I will rate this place 8.5 out of 10 as of now which is really awesome according to my assessment barometer 🙂
I wish they will be doing great in the coming days and business should surely increase when the bar area becomes functional. I wish them really well and hope couple of points which I have mentioned in my review will be worked upon so that they do even better in the coming days. Their menu card is fascinating and has numerous options and I have only tried a few over last couple of years at their three different outlets. So there are more amazing surprises waiting for me, and I am sure to try out other items as well, maybe next time I will try more of coastal cuisine. So if you want to try out this unique course of coastal and tribal cuisine right here in the Sector-5 area then this is the place to be. Their uniform standards of quality and culinary innovations are sure to amaze you and bring you back for more!
P.S. The writer attended this food tasting session on invitation from the management.