The city is changing rapidly and so is its habits and lifestyle mantra. These days people demand more from an eatery, in fact they demand more from everything in their lives. Places with multiple facilities are coming more into focus and getting people more interested. People these days love hanging out in malls and cafes rather than under the open sky in places likes Maidan or indulge in chit chat sessions at local tea stalls. And surely there is nothing wrong in this whole thing. With time you need to be progressive keeping in mind all the values and ethics. Recently I came across one such cafes which has a soothing mix of both the worlds teamed up with some amazing food. I guess it was a residential building or rather a residential locality where it is housed. Several South Kolkata residences have been converted to eateries lately and Soul Café is not an exception, though it seemed to me that it only occupies part of a residential building very close to the Quest Mall.
This place was started with a thought of teaming up food with fitness. I have been to one such café in Saltlake sector-1 (would love not to name that place) on management invitation which was a disaster to say the least, at least from the point of view of the food and drinks. So, I was bit skeptical with a similar place that wants to work both with food and fitness at the same time under one roof. But Soul Café pleasantly surprised me and showed it’s a league above the rest in this domain. I will talk only about the food and beverages which you will get at this place since I was there on a Food Tasting session along with few other food bloggers. Before moving on to the ambiance let me tell you this place also has a dedicated room with pool table where you can enjoy a game of pool while having some snacks or starters. This 10 months old place also offers Hookah, maybe because the present generation is very fond of this stuff. Since I am not very fond of it, I won’t really be talking much about that.
The ambiance is pretty nice, though the décor can still be worked upon I guess. The elegant wooden furniture attracted my attention as soon as I stepped in. The place is pretty relaxed and tad homely, maybe because it is housed in a residential property. That’s why I told it has something from both the worlds. I also loved the hanging light bulbs and those unique full sized selfie mirrors, perfect for the present young generation obsessed with clicking their pics more than anything else. Soul Café also has smoking area and private parking. It has a outdoor seating area as well which is covered by natural greenery and is pretty pleasant.
One of the owners, Kritikaa Dutt was with us during our tasting session and we learnt that they are in this culinary business for nearly 15 years now with her own bakery and catering services. That experience truly reflects in the food, since I absolutely loved some of the items for which I can surely come back to this place. So let’s come to the food and beverages we tried. We started our food journey with some killer mocktails as suggested by Kritikaa. They were Masala Mantra, Shirley Temple and Mint Julep. I quite liked the Shirley Temple which had that dollop of vanilla ice cream in it. It had a mix of fresh lime and orange / pineapple flavors in it which tasted pretty nice. The best drink was surely Masala Mantra which had the perfect mix of orange, mango, guava, chaat masala and Tobasco for that spicy kick, surely do try out this drink. Mint Julep was okayish but I would rather love to avoid it next time since it was pretty much tasting like a mint candy, and I really do not prefer drinks that taste like candies!
Coming to the food items, we started off with the starters like Chicken Crispers which I really loved. These were nicely marinated deep fried chicken slices with a spicy green dip. Next we were served the Drunken Shrimps which came in a martini glass and looked absolutely stunning. These were fresh shrimps sautéed in whiskey though I must say you won’t get a very strong smell of the alcohol, and has an overall mellow flavor. The best starter which I tried was a vegetarian one, which really amazed me! It was the Stuffed mushrooms with pesto and cheese which was literally bursting with flavors. The quantity was cheese was perfect and the bite sized mushrooms were baked to perfection. The Scottish Eggs were served next which looked really nice. These were boiled eggs (cut vertically into halves) placed on a base of minced sausages and served with a sweet chilli sauce. The quantity of the base was bit on the higher side which can be decreased a bit, making it somewhat proportionate to the boiled eggs placed at the core.
Next we tried the Pan seared fish in mandarin sauce which was really good; the Basa in there in white wine reduction was fresh and flaky. The key part of this dish is to offer the perfect sourness from that lime juice (which is served in slices along with the dish as well) and Mandarin sauce in which it is tossed. The Grilled Chicken was served after this along with a portion of mashed potato and sautéed veggies. The chicken was well marinated and that portion was really generous. Also I loved the Ranch Chicken Burger, which was juicy and flavorful, and was served with French fries and tomato sauce. This burger came in a Ranch dressing with caramelized onions and house salad. After this, we were too full to try out the dessert, but still we ordered for Chocolate cigars which were served with a dollop of vanilla ice cream on top. The Cigars were fresh, warm and fantastic. Most importantly, they were really big in size, so that truly satiates your chocolate cravings for some time!
The service was pretty good, very warm and friendly and pretty prompt. Kritikaa was there with us all through out our stay and she explained every dish in details which really helped us choose what we wanted to have. I really hope this place does well in the coming days as it really has the potential and the basic i.e. the food and beverages are really nice which impressed me to a great extent.
- Address – ‘Soul Café’ 51, Syed Amir Ali Avenue, Kolkata. Nearest Landmark: Quest Mall
- Ambiance – 7.5/10 ~ Food / Beverages – 8.5 / 10 ~ Service – 9/10
- Cost for two – INR 1,200/- approx
- Must try items (which I had tried) – Masala Mantra, Chicken crispers, Stuffed mushrooms with pesto and cheese, Ranch chicken burger.
Hope to be back real soon!
P.S. All the beautiful pictures have been captured by Oendrila De!