Kolkata's Truly Publik brings back the novelties of the themed pubbing experience
South Kolkata could always use better cocktails, and luckily the newest resto pub in the area is discerning, upbeat and perfect for a boozy downtime. Southern Avenue’s newly opened Truly Publik is a train-themed joint that has been designed like a Studio 54 like set-up (replete with disco balls, judiciously used neons and a funky playlist) inside an old timey train, which makes it really unconventional in terms of aesthetic.
To stick to the railway theme, the two-storeyed Truly Publik also has quirky metal hand grips suspended from the ceiling, wood-finished walls, retro encased ceiling lamps that are still found in some contemporary luxury trains across Asia. The space has been sectioned into convenient set-ups, there’s a dining space styled like one long running compartment, there’s a separate bar coach which is always useful, there’s another twenty-seater dining area in the landing, and there’s also a balcony.
Each section is quite cloistered off from the next which makes social distancing easier, you can access the menus on your phone via a scan, the staff is vigilant about masks and frequent sanitisations. The cocktail menu at Truly Publik is one of its major highlights; curated by New York-based mixologist Marika Saylor, the menu is diverse and yet not too overworked. There’s something for everyone but we’d recommend ditching the classics and going for some of the joint’s signature. The Stargazer, for instance, is a smooth vodka-based cocktail that has watermelon, elderflower, citrus and a shimmery cordial which exudes a starry blue gleam once you stir the drink. The Ji Ji and T is a crisp gin and whiskey-based blend made with a gondhoraj curry leaf cordial that leaves an incredible aftertaste.
“We focused on balanced cocktails that are fun and easy on the palate, we didn’t want to make anything too presumptuous, people should be able to enjoy it once it’s on their table. We make all of our syrups in-house so a lot of planning goes behind each cocktail. A lot of people even in Mumbai and Delhi are really embracing gin. But whiskey-based drinks will never not be popular,” Marika tells us.
The food menu has been diligently planned so each number goes well with booze, with a lot of focus on smart, shareable plates. The vegetarian appetisers on the menu are the most creative, the Dahi Ke Sholay is the most interesting pick. The well-seared, cushiony hung curd tikkis are creamy and prepared with honey and chilli and a medley of impeccable seasoning and finished with a crispy activated charcoal coat.
The Gongura Chicken puts a binge-worthy spin on a popular Andhra dish by serving well-marinated chicken with fun nibbles like murukku and bajra nuts. The Bow Barracks Special Keema Pao is an excellent option featuring baby pound bread pao served with a rich, delicious keema gravy. We also tried the Hot Shot Chicken Wings which are prepared in Chef’s secret spiced Chinese sauce, and ended our meal with a piping hot brownie topped with vanilla ice cream. Hot Tip: Spend some alone time at the snazzy bar if you’re on a date, and then move towards the balcony.