Smart plates and socially distanced set-ups, Kolkata gastro pub Zobet aces the new normal dine-in memo
We can never have too many gastro pubs in the city, especially the ones which take distancing seriously. And the newest entry to Kolkata’s thriving scene is the Moroccan-themed joint Zobet, which is located at Fort Knox. The eatery has an exceptionally astute design - every inch of the sprawling 10,000 square feet plus area has been judiciously used, to make room for several commodious set-ups.
Designed by Mumbai-based interior stylist Sumessh Menon, Zobet essentially brings together Kolkata’s love for art deco and some distinct Middle Eastern and Mediterranean influences, with a very surprising sense of minimalist detailing that only accentuates the fact that it’s the largest all-day gastropub in town. The 25 feet-long bar is perhaps a major highlight, there’s also two 40-seater PDRs and a cozy 10-seater one.
“We were ready to launch in March, but we had to push it back because of the lockdown. We did keep the kitchen running as a cloud kitchen, July onwards, so people would get familiar with our menu, it was actually a good trial run for us. We are working with a modern multi cuisine menu, so we have kept it really diverse,” Managing Director, Nikhil Sekhani tells us.
Zobet’s menu takes an ethnographic leap across contemporary culinary culture by putting a spin on some trusty binge-worthy classics, and makes way for some newer fusion-themed options as well. Celebrated chef Krishna Khetle worked on the menu as the consulting chef, and the menu showcases some smart, shareable plates, some rather elaborate family-style platters, an impressive global assortment, as well as an immunity boosting salad section.
The in-house staff is, of course, vigilant about health protocols; the eatery has contactless menus, a spatial gap between each set-up/ table, thermal temperature screening, mandatory temperature checks for staff as well as delivery partners. There is even a separate elevator which is exclusively reserved for Zobet customers since Fort Knox is a commercial building.
The gastro pub’s cocktail menu has some familiar names, and some really edgy ones like the Salty Nails which is a Cuban rum-based cocktail topped with vermouth and a maple wood finish, and the signature Zobetians which has a base of whiskey, Jagermeister and Bailey’s and has a creamy, ginger accent.
We started things off with one of the best things on the menu, the Cheese Naan Bombs which are basically chilli-baked mini naan balls stuffed with cheese and can be paired with a kaali daal. The sharing plates category is impressively stocked with selections from across the continent like Chicken Shish Touk, Lamb Kibbeh, Chettinad Prawns etc, which also make for great bar nibbles. The Nagpur Mutton Bunny Chow was the most surprising thing on the menu, considering how tricky it is to score this Authentic South African street food number in Kolkata. Zobet’s version takes the classical route with a hollowed-out high-loaf filled with a delicious Nagpuri mutton, topped with cheese, which can be used as a bread-dip.
The Zobet Fish N Chips can be your go-to number if flavourful deep-fried delicacies are your thing. The lemon-marinated fried fish in batter was prepared par excellence and served with the classic potato fries. Our picks from the menu: The Zobet Fish N Chips, Cheese Naan Bombs and Rum Flavoured Hot Chocolate Mousse. Price for Two: Rs 1,000.