The Dim Sum festival at Kolkata's The Orient is to die for
When we stopped by The Orient on a busy weekday afternoon for a quick lunch, we hardly expected to find a rush of rainbow colours waiting to crowd our plates. The Dim Sum Festival at The Orient, which will run till September 15, is making way for perhaps the most wholesome and Instagrammable food festival in town and is also ushering in a more sustainable culinary process to make Asian food a regular part of our daily meal plans. “We have used all-natural elements, and no food colours. All the bright colours you see are actually reductions of vegetables like broccoli, red cabbage, edamame; this is healthier and lets the veggie stuffings retain their original hues, and the dumplings taste way more interesting,” chef Ghanshyam Das tells us.
And we couldn’t help but agree with the chef — as we bit into the first serving of a semi-translucent, Mushroom and Crystal Vegetable dim sum with a delectable clear base. The aromatic freshness of the stuffing gave the dish a crunchy, discerning taste, that’s quite indescribable. A tip: Pair it with The Orient’s dark and snappy black bean sauce.
“When dim sums were discovered hundreds of years ago, it was considered quite majestic, especially owing to its refined, steamed variation; it quickly became a prized delicacy. Eventually, it became a raging favourite at the Cantonese tea houses and gave way to the tradition of Yum Cha, which quite literally means going for tea and dim sums, as these two form a full brunch. We are trying to make dim sums more hearty and nourishing, so people can have it more readily; like they do in so many countries around the world. This menu, for instance, is a monsoon menu, so we have focused on flavours that are seasonally-driven; there are some interesting additions like the Mango and Water Chestnut dim sums, and the Bhutte Ka Kees dim sums made with mustard and asparagus, which mainly features the sweet American corn,” Das reveals.
The gold-dusted charcoal prawn har gow is easily one of the most interesting brunch options you can opt for, and has a cheeky blue colour; the smoked prawn filling is tender and not overworked in taste. Luckily, the natural aroma of the prawn complements the other summery flavours really well.
The edamame and paneer dim sum with truffle oil came in neat little red sacks, and the water chestnut and mango dim sums in chilli garlic oil came in yellow ones. They both featured a very mild flavour palette, and the mango dumplings especially will surprise you as it’s not exactly fruity in an obvious way. Broth dim sum numbers are something we don’t find in many Asian festivals, but The Orient’s dim sum fest offers up a light black pepper basa dim sum with a chives stock, which has a fresh, earthy aroma and can be an ideal summer lunch.
The festival has also made provisions for you to drop by and grab a quick solo lunch; the menu offers very convenient ‘small’ plates featuring just two dumplings, starting from Rs 150. You’ll also find medium, large and extra large plates, and you can choose depending on the number of people you’re with. If you want to mix it up, go for a platter, which starts from Rs 375. Price for Two: Rs 1,700