A lavish Brunch at Durbari, Swissotel, Kolkata1:20 PM
It is hard to say no to an invitation by the Swissotel, especially when most your foodie friends are all praise about their food and hospitality. I was happy to be back on the active blogging circuit and to another KFB special Blogger's table meet arranged by Swissotel, Kolkata. So what, if its just the next day after a similar review! Who needs reasons to meet one's friends over good food.
Swissotel Kolkata is the newest addition to the city's five star Luxury hotel scenario. As part of FRHI Hotels & Resorts It provides a striking mix of leisure and business facilities. Being true to their parent company's mission Swiss Kolkata also is very conveniently located near the Airport, at Rajarhat, attached to a mall, restaurants and multiplex where access to business and shopping are right around the corner.
It's my first visit to this property and I definitely was bowled over by their warm hospitality. When Ashish Shaw, the restaurant manager ushered me to a brightly lit private dining area, the food photographer in me did a silent jig. Good lights means good photos.
The event was the relaunch of their Durbari Brunch menu. Durbari, located on the second floor serves a vast selection of Gourmet Indian cuisine, both traditional and contemporary. The Brunch is an weekend affair, available only on Sundays. Being a mother of two kids I was impressed to see their seating arrangements. Its chic in its own distinctive way with traditional and modern design elements yet is very comfortable and relaxed. The tables are spread out to allow the guests their personal space and is very well lit even for the kids to do their own things.
With the soothing background score and alert serving staff we got ourselves comfortable around a big black table. Enakshi the Hotel's Marketing and PR manager, played the perfect hostess for the day. Ashish told us, Swissotel caters to both leisure and business traveler and to remain true to the company’s Swiss heritage. they offer personalised service to both these groups. Though Durbari specialises in North Indian cuisine with a contemporary twist, but to give their guests a taste of local flavour they also have incorporated few Bengali specialties in the menu. They are probably the only one five star restaurant that serves panta bhat (slightly fermented rice with accompaniments).
Their menu gets changed keeping their guests preferences in mind and they always are eager to modify or offer dishes to suite the palate of their International travelers. That is one reason that most of their dishes are cooked with olive oil and the spice quotient is kept at a moderate level.
Soon a steady flow of dishes started to appear.
First came five petite boats of homemade chutneys, trademark of the Swissotel, Kolkata. Apart from the regular mint and tamarind they also served mango mustard, burnt garlic and yogurt saffron dip. I could not stop but through out the meal kept serving myself spoonfuls of these delights. The pickles on the other hand were good enough to perk up any meal.
With a glass of our chosen drinks we then delved into the Dahi ke kebabs. Deep fried semolina crusted kebabs stuffed with hung curd. As per Ashish this one's the only cold starter on their menu and is a classic combination of crunch with soft oozing curd inside.
By this time Executive Chef Pranay Kr.Sing and Chef Aditya both joined us in the room and guided us through the menu.
Naaza, the most innovative fusion dish by the chef is a cross between a naan and a pizza. The khameree roti (yeasted naan) base along with the chicken tikka topping gave it a beautiful smoky flavour whereas the bell pepper and processed cheese coating took it to just another level. We all wanted to go back to the dish and grab one more piece.
Thanks to Enakshi who warned us not to stuff ourselves with just one thing as the next appetizer the Gandhoraj mahi tikka just blew our mind. Even a bhetki disliker like me fell in love with this. The subtle flavour of Bengal's unique Gandhoraj lemon paired with kaffir lime leaves gave it a beautiful zesty flavour and the fish so perfectly cooked that it just melts n your mouth. We unanimously voted it as the dish of the day.
Murgh Balai kebab, one of Chef Aditya's creation has an unique combination of onion-pomegranate and cheese stuffed inside a chicken breast. The crunch of the onion and the soft malleted meat was definitely a good combination but I personally dont like raw onion much and would prefer lesser amount of onion in it.
Next was the buffet to repeat the story from beginning once again. Amidst constant chatter and shutter clicks we piled up our plates from the choice of starters, soups, salads and main course. Dessert is a whole new story, coming to that later.
The vast selection of soups and salads had both veg (tomato) and non-veg (gosht) shorbas and varieties of salads with almost chaat like chatpata favour. I saw many guests piling up their plate with dahi valla and raw mango salad.
The appetisers again had both veg and non veg optionas with delicately flavoured zafrani paneer tikka, deepfried Dalcha kebab, Bengal's favourite mustard flavoured pungent sarson mahi tikka and the crowd pleaser achari chicken tikka (pickle spiced).
The main course had varieties of vegetarian gravy items ranging from vibrant palak paneer(not much a fan), Little sweetish Mixed veg(that is how it should be), very mild Aloo Dhaniawala and non veg Ajwaini fish curry (just loved it), Methi Murg(average) with perfectly cooked peas pulao.
|My plate from the Buffet selection|
We piled our plates and came back to the table to find more food, straight from the kitchen awaiting us. What stole the show was the Daal Durbari (Daal Makhani), a signature dish of this restaurant and the Swiss cheese naan, finger licking good stuff.
They were out of this World good and I definitely can live my whole life eating just these two.
The khumbh (mushroom) do piyaza and Chicken Makhani were also served on the table.
By this time our tummies were on the verge of bursting out yet Ashish and Enakshi coaxed us to try out the vast array of dessert...
a spread of colourful petite pastries, Indian sweets and cut fruits. Being a dessert lover I always wait for this course and in no time again piled my plate high with little bit of everything.
The dripping with sin pure ghee Mihidana with Rabri stole my heart and I just wished I had little bit space left in my stomach to go for another serving. but then the heavenly Rasmalai with a pronounced mango flavour, had my name written all over it. So I had to taste a spoonful of it. and then I could take no more and had to end the meal there.
It was my first visit to this restaurant and with good food, great hospitality and warm service they left me bowled over. Its not even a week and we are planning to return for more this weekend.
Going beyond the norms of a Restaurant review I would like to urge you to go and sample their food to believe in my words. If you are interested please find the details below.
Functional from Tuesday to Sunday between 1900 hrs to 2300 hrs,the restaurant is open for lunch from 12:30 hrs to 15:00 hrs on weekends as well. Mondays are closed.
The Sunday Brunch is available every Sunday and the packages start at INR 1000 plus taxes.
Thank you Swissotel for having us there and Thanks to Enakshi and Ashish for coaxing and piling our plates with more and more food. It was an afternoon well spent with good food and great company.