Food and fine art combine at Grace, Kolkata Centre for Creativity's new restaurant
Located at the second floor of the Kolkata Centre for Creativity, Anandapur, Grace, is a restaurant which serves vegetarian fusion food, made with locally produced vegetables and simple cooking techniques.
The plush interiors, done up in sparkling white, has soft overhead lights and pleasant music playing in the background, which adds to the sense of peace and quietude prevalent inside art galleries or libraries.
“We wanted to make vegetarian cuisine exotic and one of its kind in Kolkata, with a place which offers a café style, yet formal dining experience,” says Richa Agarwal, CEO of Emami Art.
“Grace highlights vegetarianism as an ecological need of consuming the lowest form of life and at the same time, encourages a sense of organic creativity. Grace was the constant emotion while we were developing the idea for the restaurant and it fitted the menu beautifully,” smiles Richa.
The food here, as we discovered later, is not just about the dining experience but also about art, as the seven-member team of chefs works ceaselessly to bring about unique and innovative dishes created out of all the known, yet obsolete items from a veggie’s kitchen, on to the menu. They also cater to special needs of diners, such as gluten-free food, which we find specifically mentioned on the menu.
As we settled on to the bar stool chairs, the first thing awaiting us was a starter called Nostalgia, made up of homemade banana chips, which is baked, along with a dash of Bandel cheese and chat masala praline, with a Hajmola candy flavour. The starter not just fuses together edible items which can be cherished for their memory evoking flavour, but it also acts as a good appetiser, followed by Hoogly Cheese and Arugula, a salad which combines Lollo Rosso and Arugula leaves, with Pomelo, and a dash of Asian sauce, made of Plum and hoisin.
While the tangy and fruity bits of our very own batabi lebu blended well with the smooth and creamy Bandel cheese, the leaves marinated in Asian sauce retained the balance of spice and salt. But what followed, became the most favourite part of the menu- two drinksnamely, Panagan and Jugalbandi. The first drink, we are told, is inspired by a south Indian drink, made with ginger and sugar syrup, fermented for a couple of days, and served with soda and Kaffir Lime leaf. The second drink, is a mix of cranberry and orange juice, served from a clay pot, on caramelised orange and star anise, with grated nutmeg and a spice called Ratan Jot in it.
Panagan is a surprisingly cool drink, made of ginger, which is usually associated with warm brews, while Jugalbandi was full of surprising tastes, whether it was the caramelised orange or the cranberry, or the mix of spices — it had us guessing till we finished it. It might become the most popular drink with people during the summer.
The Papri Chaat Modern Indian followed next, with baked papdis, coriander wasabi and aam ada glaze — a ginger which smells of mango. For those, who love Aloo Kabli, do try the Winter Radish, with Potato and Beet. It will change the way you consume carrots, as they have been roasted with coffee beans and surprise you with its natural sweet taste, courtesy slow cooking.
Our gastronomic exploration ended with a dessert, in the form of the pine-nut laddoo, stuffed with compressed berries, served with almond and pine nut cream, a sprinkling of almond dust and sunflower petals dust called Thumri.
Price for two: Rs 1,000