Omo Calcutta review: Here's exactly what the European bistro gets right with its fresh, farm-to-table approach
Though Kolkata has always been a powerhouse of European cuisine, it still lacked enough bona fide bistros or trattorias curating authentic and researched meditarranean and Anglo flavours. The brand new Omo Calcutta is a European-style bistro which celebrates the quintessential gastronomy of the continent but is entirely driven by locally-produced staples and condiments, including organic-fed chicken, which essentially bridges the gap between two distinct food cultures.
“We didn’t want something that’s entirely esoteric but wanted to retain a classic, almost nostalgic familiarity in the menu. I have really really tried to keep it simple and fresh, we’re working with 90% locally-sourced ingredients, that’s always been my perspective, to use indigenous, seasonal ingredients to create an authentic European dining experience. The cuisine has such a major cultural influence on it, it’s very interesting. The palate is very simple, there’s not too much happening. Our palate here is a little heavy, in terms of spices and fat, I’ve tried to do away with it,” chef Manish Das of Omo Calcutta tells us as we drop in to check out the delicacies from his kitchen.
Omo’s menu has a stunning unpredictability to it, so even a basic, traditional chicken roast or a French roulade has an interesting spin on spectacle which obviously has an impact on the textures and the individual experience. The eatery is located below the city’s first, dedicated jazz venue The Skinny Mo’s Jazz Club, and it’s aesthetic set-up is very aware of the fact. We waited for our soups over some smooth jazz, and only after a few minutes were greeted with a rendition of the Creme du Barry, a velvety but very palatable cream of cauliflower soup; if you’re keen about flavours and aroma, you’ll immediately notice the complex evenness which gives the creamed soup its well-rounded finish.
The liver mousse was our next point of interest, mainly because it’s extremely hard to find a hearty meat mousse in the city; Omo’s version serves a wholesome, earthy goat liver mousse on crispy bread with some mint. One of our favourite picks were the impeccably seasoned Grilled Prawns, prepared with the tart, but balanced Ponzu sauce which is a citrus-based condiment used to add a seated saltiness to Japanese cuisine. Omo’s Tortellini is already winning major brownie points in the city and we finally figured out why. The fastidiously curated roasted pumpkin stuffing enveloped in a semi-pillowy pasta had measured hints of lemon; the entree was really well-crafted yet simple.
Sticking true to the joint’s farm-to-table vibe, Omo’s Chicken Roulade makes use of seasonally relevant ingredients, to add an edge to the rolls; the open French rolls were plated exceptionally well, on a bed of green herb pesto with cooked baby potatoes and some puree. A roulade is obviously a tricky number and Omo’s version aces it by marrying the herbal base with the lightly seasoned, meaty stuffing. For dessert, you’ll miss out big time if you do not order the souffle. It was immaculate, warm and delicate, served with a dollop of freezing ice cream and chocolate crumble which really lets you experience the distinct textures in the dessert. Hot tip: Order the souffle when you sit down as it takes 20 minutes just to rise. Price for two: Rs 800