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I am an intrepid traveller. Travelling has been my passion since school days. Hailing from the steel city of Rourkela in Odisha, I always had an opportunity to plan out my holidays with my family to exotic destinations that are rich in history and heritage in India. Looking back, I have also taken up trekking in Chauragarh hills of Pachmarhi, Shatrunjaya Hills of Palitana, Vaishno Devi or the Muktinath temple in Mustang Valley in Nepal and Lalang Waterfall in rainforests of Tioman Island in Malaysia. I have penned down the Odisha destinations in Pick2Move-India Travel planner brought out by Sampan Media Limited, New Delhi. I have compiled a travelogue themed- “Journeys across India” published by Best Books, Kolkata. I generally take up travel to pen down travelogues, know the art and craft of the faraway lands and of course, I do travel reporting for leading English dailies of India.

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Thursday, 7 March 2019

Heritage glory of Raajkutir


Bringing alive the days of Zamindars and Raj rule



For high-end luxury tourists contemplating to imbibe in the old-world charm of Kolkata’s heritage that dates back to 1857, there is Raajkutir from the house of Ambuja-Neotia hospitality that forms the newest heritage property to open its doors sometime on December 18, 2018. Nestling in the heart of the city, the sprawling heritage mansion spreads over 15 acres of land area and provides the perfect opportunity to soak into the bygone grandeur of Zamindars of Bengal. Having said this, Raajkutir has been created around an imaginative story of Zamindars of Bengal and their lavish lifestyle.







 An outer facade of Raajkutir

 

 





 The front view of the heritage property


I was really thrilled by the opportunity to have a heritage walk around the stunning boutique hotel sometime in the New Year and with heightened anticipation, I reached the property. The welcome was quite grand with guests smeared with chandan tikka on the forehead, garlands were offered and there were welcome drinks. One should devote some time for the heritage walk to have a complete view of the property. The luxury set-up has 33 well-furnished rooms decked up with antiques from Zamindar era. 



Rooms done up in Zamindar style

 





 Interiors of the room


Besides, there are large glittering indoor and outdoor banquets with live counters, an all-day dining food outlet- East India Room sprawling over 2,000 sq.ft area that churns out platters from Colonial era. 



The Banquet







 The embellished chandeliers


I settled in at East India Room that promises to tickle one’s taste buds with tantalizing menu from the days of Portuguese and British rule as well as the dishes rustled up in the kitchens of Zamindars of Bengal.







 A view of East India Room

At East India Room, we had a lunch date and started off with Mulligatawny that was a favourite soup of British soldiers made of yellow lentil and white rice balls. There was Elliot Road cutlet, a vegetarian delight of beet, carrots, potatoes flavoured with tangy sauce and the yummy Raja Nrisingh Pratap’s Mochar chop made from banana blossom and done up with mustard sauce from Bikrampur on the other side of Bengal.



An array of starters



 I was served Tetrazinni- the baked sphagetti done up with butter, cream and parmesan. I switched on to the main course that had yellow coconut rice with capsicum brinjal potato curry- a vegetarian speciality from the British Indian kitchen spiced up with coconut paste and tamarind. To round off our meal, we were offered black forest pastry and caramel pudding that had a lingering taste.






 Sphagetti





 Yellow rice with capsicum brinjal potato curry






 Black forest pastry

Besides, the heritage haunt has Outpost that promises to rejuvenate one’s body and mind with traditional massages from the hoary past. One should not forget to drop in at the exhibition counter- Colonnade, the shopping arcade called Arcadia, Loafer’s Cafe offering bakery stuff with a whiff of Victorian flavours and Swig is for wine aficionados.






Sunday, 30 December 2018

Yauatcha


New Year dining with Cantonese fare

With the year drawing to a close end and the temperature plunging sharply, it’s the time to party. Perhaps the perfect way to plan out a perfect welcome to 2019 would be to go for fine dining experience and Yauatcha, the one and only Michelin-starrer restaurant in Kolkata and in the East can be a sound option for gourmet lovers. Best known as a contemporary dim sum tea house that rustles up authentic Cantonese cuisine, Yauatcha serves the finest quality of beverages, dim sums and Continental desserts. The plush food outlet is snuggled on the 5th floor of Quest Mall that stands on the busy thoroughfare of Syed Amir Ali Avenue.

When I received the offer to dine out at Yauatcha, I made sure that I savoured the experience of Cantonese dining. The restaurant is looked after by Ka Hospitality chain based out in Mumbai that belongs to Number 1 category. Spread over 6,000 sq. ft area, Yauatcha in Kolkata is the third restaurant from Ka Hospitality next to Mumbai and Bengaluru. The 103-seater restaurant that came up sometime in September 2014, Yauatcha is reputed for dishing out exclusively Cantonese cuisine with a modern blend.  







 The interiors of the restaurant

 

I headed straight to the restaurant and began with a glass of orange juice. I was offered a wide range of tea but I could not resist the temptation to sip the juice. At Yauatcha, there is a wide range of tea starting from Kashmiri Kahwa to Assam tea and Chinese Oolong from Fujian Province to High Mountain Oolong from Chiayi Taipei. Beverage lovers can also sip the renowned Darjeeling’s Makaibari tea. Overall, there are 28 different forms of tea on offer.  I started with an all-vegetarian Cantonese cuisine. Dim sums can be savoured all round the day. I savoured three kinds of dim sum including steamed dim sum, poached dim sum and fried dim sum. I was offered Vegetable Chive Dumpling and Truffle Edemame Dumpling in the category of steamed dim sum. There was Poached Peking Dumpling while the best of dim sums are the fried ones. I nibbled a number of fried dim sums including the spongy Pan-fried Turnip Cake done up with spices and Crispy Vegetable Cheung Fun that are crispy spring rolls wrapped in rice paper sheet. Pan-fried turnip cakes appear in rectangular slices with a thin crunchy layer and are pan-fried before serving. 






 An array of dim sums served

 

No sumptuous meal is complete without sweet treats.  The outlet churns out in-house Continental desserts that are on display. The outlet is into serving nine kinds of desserts and seven kinds of ice creams. Since my stomach was full to three-fourth, I skipped the main course and took a dig into Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse Cake and Chocolate Pebble that were heavenly. I rounded off my meal with vanilla ice cream that was bitingly cold. One can also bite into Red Fruit Fromage, Pecan and Coffee Delice, Raspberry Delice, Sacher Torte and a wide variety of macarons.





Continental  desserts on display

 

 The food outlet has an open kitchen and remains open from 12 noon to 12 midnight.

Address: Yauatcha
Quest Mall, 5th Floor,
Syed Amir Ali Avenue,
Park Circus, Beck Bagan,
Ballygunge, Kolkata-700017
Phone: 09819431907 (M)
Food for two: Rs 2,000 approximately plus taxes exclusive of alcohol.