The flavour of Kolkata

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

Friday, February 12, 2016

Indo-European Amalgamation at KK’s Fusion

I have been reading about the fusion cuisine by chef Pradip Rozario who runs Kurry Klub on Sarat Bose Road for a long time in the newspapers and particularly in the food column of Graphiti (The Sunday magazine with The Telegraph) by Rahul Verma. He can easily be called one of the pioneers of fusion cuisine in Kolkata. So this invitation to food bloggers and Zomato reviewers from his restaurant KK’s Fusion was too tempting to resist.

He left his job in the Taj group of hotels to start his first venture Kurry Klub in 1994 with a meager fund of Rs 3 lacs. Other than Kurry Klub and KK’s Fusion, he runs a Mediterranean cuisine restaurant Mio Amore (which is not into fusion cuisine) at Mani Square mall. These are well-known spots on the Kolkata culinary map. He has one more fusion cuisine restaurant in Mumbai. KK’s Fusion serves north Indian and Chinese cuisine, seafood besides fusion cuisine. The pocket pinch at KK’s Fusion, located next to Inox Swabhumi, is Rs 1500 plus taxes for two.

In Pradip’s words, “We all love variety and fusion food encapsulates this desire. Anglo-Indian cuisine is a successful assimilation of one culture into another. Curry has found its way into the hearts of all Brits. It has even been coined as ‘Britain’s national dish’… why is Indian food so successful in Britain? Surely the exotic spices of India are a far cry from the bland traditionalist dishes of Britain. One reason- curry has been successfully modified for the British palate.”

 The food enthusiasts

I asked him how he started his fusion cuisine. A gentleman walked into Kurry Klub in 1994 and asked for khichudi and machh bhaja (Bengali fried fish). Obviously, none of it was on the menu, but Pradip made them for him and added a twist. He served the machh bhaja with Szechwan sauce. The guest loved it so much that he promised to come back, but on one condition- he would have to be served the same dish. This worked as an inspiration to Pradip to experiment with fusion cuisine.

 Chef Pradip Rozario at work

He also shared how he served muri mixed with olive oil and crumb-fried lotte fish (Bombil or Bombay duck) to the chief minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, because of her well-known fondness for muri. She loved the combo.

Blue Hawaiian- my welcome drink

We sampled four dishes including a dessert. It started with Grilled Prawns in Skewers marinated with Coriander Chutney followed by Fenugreek-scented Pan-fried Fish on Russian Salad, Chicken Roulade Torkari with Seasonal Greens and Sundried Tomato Kulcha and Lamb Chop Rogan Josh served with Vegetable Chorchori Couscous. The dessert was Crunchy Sugar Cup filled with Chhanar Payes and Citric Fruits.

The grilled prawn was served on a banana leaf in a boat-style wooden plate. It tasted good, just like rightly done grilled prawn. But the coriander flavour did not come out well.

 Grilled Prawns in Skewers marinated with Coriander Chutney

The pan-fried fish fillet was placed between two layers of Russian Salad topped by an egg on a piece of stone serving as a plate. The fish was flaky and succulent with a crisp, thin crust and tasted decent. It gelled well with the Russian salad.

Fenugreek-scented Pan-fried Fish on Russian Salad

We were also served a Bengali fusion dish, which is familiar in the food habit of the subaltern and rural population of Bengal- muri (puffed rice) mixed with alur dom. I liked the alur dom. The spices used lifted the taste.

Muri mixed with alur dom

The Chicken Roulade was a disappointment. The chicken was cold and chewy. It was served with a soup of some Indian dish (resembling Bengali mutton soup) which, when poured on the chicken, didn’t really add to the taste, rather the reverse. The kulchas were stiff.

 Chicken Roulade Torkari with Seasonal Greens and Sundried Tomato Kulcha 

Lamb Chop Rogan Josh served with Vegetable Chorchori Couscous came next. Well, the lamb was tender, well-cooked and tasted well in isolation, but it was more of a light, home style curry and didn’t resemble Rogan Josh. I also thought that the chorchori (Bengali vegetable curry) didn’t gel with the light, soup-like gravy.

 Lamb Chop Rogan Josh served with Vegetable Chorchori Couscous 

I was looking forward to the dessert; especially because it had chhanar payes which I am fond of (A Bengali sweetmeat- small cottage balls in thick, sweetened milk). A flambé was done when it was served to each of us. But the excessive amount of liquor spoilt it completely. The combination with citrus fruits (including kiwi) was good otherwise.

Crunchy Sugar Cup filled with Chhanar Payes and Citric Fruits

As I was leaving with a fellow blogger, Pradip gave us a shot of a white drink and didn’t tell what it was. It had a distinctive paan (betel leaf) flavour which I liked.

#KKsFusion #FusionCuisineKolkata

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