The best of intentions unfortunately does not always lead to the best of results
We were invited as part of the Kolkata Food Bloggers to sample the new dishes of offer on their brand new menu. Located near Southern Avenue locating the cafe is not too difficult, simply cross Rashbehari Avenue if you are traveling from AJC Bose road and keep your eyes on the right for a showroom of 'Blackberry' and then take an U-turn or walk over to the other side of the road and get into the street adjacent to the showroom and walk straight ahead and the cafe is located on the left hand side of the street. You go up and notice a very low-lit place with trendy music which is being blasted from the stereo.
My fellow diners were already present and we were seated near the glass wall overlooking the street. What overwhelmed me right in the beginning was this smoky atmosphere which was a direct result of an open kitchen with no room for ventilation. This was probably one of the biggest turn offs. Throughout the evening I felt uncomfortable and my eyes were burning while I almost felt choked.
When it came to service I am very sorry to note that the server did not serve a glass of water which was later noticed by my fellow diner as well. There were two drinks which were already on the table and a sip from each left me very disappointed. The Tom and Jerry drink which is supposed to be an iced tea with coca cola had the overpowering taste of cocoa cola and on top of that it was watery. The other creamy drink whose name I forget was not creamy at all but in fact watery again without any flavours.
I was happy to learn that the cafe was open to suggestions.
We were then served the chicken wings which came in the sweet Thai chili flavour and the Barbeque flavour. While the sacue from the Thai flavoured wings with its distinct taste of chili was working well with my palate the sweetness was a turn off for my palate but the biggest problem with both the dishes was that it had not been tossed in the respective sauces as a result it was rather crunchy fried chicken wings with some sauce and so the flavour was uneven. What I liked though was that the chicken was perfectly fried for my taste buds, the meat was juicy and soft and the batter was crunchy and crispy. It was neither over-fried nor underdone.
We were served a third drink which probably was the best one for my palate among the drinks served. It had a strong flavour of strawberry and there was some amount of creaminess. What was a disappointment was the watery taste. As pointed out by my fellow diner a cafe named The Tea trove should offer drinks with a stronger taste of tea. I would rather appreciate a well made classic lemon mint iced tea over fusion drinks which has no flavour of tea.
What followed from their offering was a tangy crispy vegetable snack which honestly did grow on me but the problem is when I write about my experience where I do not pay for the meal it is easier to be generous. Frankly speaking if I had been a regular customer and had to pay for it I would leave a very angry customer. I would suggest that the restaurant explains the dishes on their menu so that the customer has a clearer idea of what they are ordering. What I liked was the balsamic vinaigrette which was tangy and tasty but then again quoting the Chef 'Brussel sprouts' are an acquired taste and so it might not be too popular. I suggest keeping an option of vegetables for customers to choose from.
Their lasagna did nothing for my taste buds with the overwhelming spicy taste. ideally even with vegetarian lasagna I would have preferred a greater amount of homemade tomato sauce to be used. The layers were hardly there, the cheese was burnt on top and the pasta was not well cooked and stuck together. This was indeed a huge disappointment. It reminded me of a fictional character who would make 'burnt and under cooked' mac n cheese.
There was Arancini , which are basically 'rice balls with cheese' , theirs had pomodoro sauce (a tomato based sauce) which was a bit sweet for my taste due to the use of onions which had been caramelized but it was a nice dish with the nicely cooked arborio rice inside and the cheese.
The chef personally came to us for suggestions and I really liked his openness to suggestions. He insisted that we try the last dish, a Mediterranean salad which basically was basically Grilled Chicken with the skin on for a nice crispiness , mushrooms and lettuce. The vinaigrette was again well made , but it was a tad too salty for my taste but I liked the taste of rosemary .
Most of the dishes expect the lasagna were well made but did not reach the finishing line due to a few faults here and there.