The flavour of Kolkata

The flavour of Kolkata
The city is known for its old alleys. One such is shot by Atanu Pal.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Great Kabab Festival at Casa Kitchen till 2nd August

Kebab sounds like a good starter to a hearty meal and connotes meat, fish or poultry only, and never anything vegetarian to me. But when Casa Kitchen sent an invite to sample their kababs in The Great Kabab Festival, their monsoon event, I was not in two minds as I am pretty open-minded as a foodie and wished to explore the vegetarian side to kababs. Kabab is a popular segment among vegetarians and I wanted to have a taste of it. I have a fond old memory of vegetarian kababs at a Marwari friend’s wedding and they didn’t really feel like vegetarian.

As it happened last time in the summer food festival of Casa Kitchen (Read this post), it was an exclusive bloggers’ review of the festival in the evening, and Mr Shantanu Lahiri, Chief Advisor to the hotel Casa Fortuna (where Casa Kitchen is housed) and Mr Swarup Ghosh, GM, Casa Fortuna greeted me. Indrajit had turned up first as usual.

The Great Kabab Festival pitches the popular pairing of kabab & beer, which is a foodie’s favourite in monsoon. The restaurant has a high street location and watching the rain sitting next to the glass wall overlooking the busy AJC Bose Road in the afternoon sounds tempting. To make it even more so, they have an offer where you get a beer on order of every 2 plates of kabab. The festival started 1oth July and will continue to tickle the taste buds of the gourmet till 2nd August. After two successful years, it has been stretched over three weeks this year.

There are 12 kababs on the menu- two varieties in paneer, two in potato, two in vegetables, two in peas and one each in mushroom and American corn. I liked the fact that a mushroom variety is kept on the menu for foodies who wish to explore beyond the familiar. I feel the F&B circuit of Kolkata is not kind to the fondness for mushroom, so it’s always a challenge to find mushroom dishes in the restaurants.

There were a special mustard chutney (milder than mustard sauce) and a yoghurt-based coriander chutney to go with the kebabs. And the kababs were being served on clay plates on a bed of salad set on a designer handi (earthen pot) which looked nice.

I was offered a mocktail called Zed Garden. Sweet and a little tangy, good to start with. We started with Peri Peri Paneer Tikka. It is supposed to be fiery hot as peri peri is a chili from south China notorious for its hotness. So the idea was not to use it in actual but to make the dish spicy and hot so as to justify the name. When the festival had started the dish was like that, but it was modified later as the customers found it too hot for comfort. I and Indrajit found it a little less spicy for our taste though and told it to Shantanu and Swarup. Now it’s a dilemma for every restaurant- whether to make such a dish in a way that suits majority guests’ taste or while doing that, also keep a provision to tailor it to an individual guest’s taste which is different from the majority.

 Peri Peri Paneer Tikka

It was followed by Hare Mattar Ki Tikki. Mashed green peas flavoured with chef’s special spices and tawa-grilled with desi ghee. The fine combination of spices mixed with good amount of ghee, elevated by the innovative fusion of cheese at the centre hit the right spot for my palate.  I also liked the Kale Chane Ki Kabab (Mashed dry peas stuffed with herbs and grilled on tawa, tikki syle) that came next, though I’m not fond of this variant of pea. Swarup shared the experimentation that went behind it. First they tried to make it on skewers using generous amount of ghee. It came off as it was so soft. So it had to be pan grilled. Initially the size was larger, which was brought down on guests’ feedback.

 Hare Mattar Ki Tikki

 Kale Chane Ki Kabab

Peshawari Paneer Tikka was served next. Marinated with cheese and stuffed with pineapple. As paneer doesn’t appeal to me, I found it better than Peri Peri Paneer Tikka thanks to the cheese.

 Peshawari Paneer Tikka 

My drink was finished. Took a next one- a tangy orange drink called Tropical Summer on house recommendation and my preference for the taste. Good one, and the sips in between helped register the variety of tastes that followed.  

 Tropical Summer

I was looking forward to the mushroom kabab and it was served next. Named Badshahi Khumb, it’s char-grilled button mushroom stuffed with cheese and Indian herbs. The filling had raw onion pieces mixed with chili and the dish was baked with cheese, so the cheese embracing it at places was visible. Loved the succulent mushroom with mildly spiced filling which paired brilliantly with the cheese. Easily the highlight of the evening for me and goes as my top recommendation. Little wonder it is the second most ordered dish (after Peri Peri Paneer Tikka) in the ongoing festival.

 Badshahi Khumb. Photo courtesy Casa Kitchen.

Vegetable Shami Kabab and Chilli Makai Sheek Kabab arrived. The first one is exotic minced vegetable patty, tawa-grilled and stuffed with cheese. It was good. I was waiting for the corn kabab as well, as mushroom and corn are the only two things I look forward to in vegetarian food (if at all) on dining out. The Chilli Makai Sheek Kabab was minced American corn and chili flavoured with dry herbs. It was tiny bits of corn grilled in minced vegetables. It tasted average to me. I felt the taste of corn didn’t quite come out.

 Chilli Makai Sheekh Kabab. Photo courtesy Casa Kitchen.

My pick: Badshahi Khumb, Hare Mattar Ki Tikki and Kale Chane Ki Kabab. The kababs cost Rs 340-365 each plate (six pieces on an average) without taxes.

We wrapped up with a good chocolate mousse with molten chocolate at the bottom as its USP.

By the way, Casa Kitchen makes an excellent Dal Makhni which, as Indrajit vouched for, is amongst the best in town. Will talk about it another day.

So if you like kababs in its vegetarian variety or would like to explore it, plan a visit to Casa Kitchen in the next few days.

The Great Kabab Festival
10th  July to 2nd August
12:15pm – 3:15 pm & 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Cost for two- Rs 900  approx+ tax

Casa Kitchen
234/1 AJC Bose Road
Kolkata 700020
For table reservations call 033 40218050 or 8017088003.

#vegkebabKolkata #Goodvegfood #VegfoodKolkata #Monsoonfood

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