Kolkata's newest pan-Asian fine diner Nori breaks the city's culinary monotony with its impressive spread
Walking into a live teppanyaki spectacle is never a bad start to a lunch day outing. At Nori, The Westin Kolkata Rajarhat’s brand new Pan Asian fine diner, we were greeted with a bona fide teppanyaki counter act by chef Franquilino P. Padua, whose open, flat-top cooking was nothing short of performance art. The teppanyaki-style steakhouses marked the west’s influence over the Oriental, post the second World War, and gained prominence as it came to be associated with a live show where customers can get their money’s worth by witnessing the art of clamorous, and brave juggling of knives, spoons and tempura prawns.
Nori is the 60-seater eatery located at the 31st floor, featuring the glass-walled interiors any skyscraping diner would obviously go for. But Nori’s view gives you an expansive 360 degree panorama of the greener side of Rajarhat, away from the other ubiquitously towering structures. You can wile away many hours cloud-gazing with a Tokyo Mule in hand; one might say any restaurant with a view like this can get away with lazy interiors, but Nori’s designing is masterfully curated with a conscious focus on traditional Japanese sensibilities, but with an easier and more accessible edit.
The entire colour tone is superbly undemanding and has an unmissable sense of stylish elementalism, and the menu is in a word, fantastic. Nori’s culinary line-up almost anticipates our boredom with Kolkata’s Asian gastro scene. We started off with an impeccably-plated Volcano Roll, which chef Padua personally blow-torched to perfection at our table. The inside-out sushi roll featured the scrumptious layering of soft-shell crabs, eel, salmon, tuna and was laced with the natural sweetness of avocado.
It had a smooth, creamy savor which unified the flavour profile, and gave the Maki roll an edge. The Tod Man Khao Pod were incredibly cheese corn kernel fritters with an Instagrammable flair. We chose some clear-based dumplings which we found had a crunchy and fresh medley of veggie stuffing, and we binged on quite a few of those, taking turns on the wasabee and the chilli garlic oil.
The chef’s special teppanyaki egg fried rice was obviously the most anticipated number, and it brought our teppan experience to a delightful completion. The rice was evenly cooked in a dark sauce, and had an open and vivid flavour; we paired it with some Chongqing Mala chicken, which is an authentic Sichuan delicacy, intensely spiced and served with chunky chilli peppers.
Nori’s version comes with some added greens to make the entree a more wholesome option; it’s powerful and perhaps the hottest thing on the menu. We chose some epically fragrant jasmine rice and prawn yellow curry to ease our taste buds; the yellow curry features gigantic prawns braised in a traditional Thai coconut gravy. We opted for a layered matcha cheesecake, it’s a dense and sophisticated dessert, which perfectly balances the sweetness with its minty notes and vaguely salted crusty base.
Price for Two: Rs 3,000