Anjan Chatterjee, doyen of the food industry, opens his latest fine diner in Kolkata, Riyasat
When it comes to giving gourmands a culinary experience that is not restricted to the tastebuds alone, no one can match up with Anjan Chatterjee, who heads the Specialty Restaurants Limited company. When it comes to introducing new cuisines, Kolkata has always been his favourite launch pad.
Close on the heels of the lavish resto-bar Episode One, which opened doors a couple of weeks back, the group gifted the city with Riyasat, a 3,000 sq ft sprawling à la carte fine-dining space for those who love to look back at India’s glorious royal past through food. From the food served (more on that in our review) to the swank interiors, everything about the place is different and delicious. We got hold of Chatterjee for a quick chat on the sidelines of the launch party of Riyasat at South City Mall. Excerpts:
What was the idea behind Riyasat?
Kolkata is where my heart is, and nowhere will you find bigger foodies who also understand food. I’ve had a long association and many interactions over royal food with the likes of the Raja Gaj Singh of Jodhpur, the Maharaja of Patiala and others, and assuming that Rajasthani cuisine is all about vegetarian food is the biggest mistake we make. Rajasthani food also includes Laal Maas, Safed Maas and Junglee Maas (red, white and jungle meat) and we have picked up the best dishes, and interpreted them in our own way, keeping the essence intact. What I mean is, a fish in mustard sauce has to be essentially that, and you can’t add truffle to it in the name of fusion, as it would only create confusion (chuckles). When it comes to Indian cuisine, we already have Sigree and Flame and Grill, but all of them are mainly buffet-style. I wanted to introduce an à la carte, and hence, Riyasat.
What are the main draws in Riyasat?
Riyasat’s menu has been co-created by Chef Surjan Singh Jolly, with whom I am also collaborating for our upcoming diner in London. We held a three-month Riyasat trial pop-up at The St. Regis, Doha and it was much appreciated. There will be non-veg delicacies like Lagan ka Chap and also the Riyasati Biryani, which is not available in Kolkata. It’s a version of Briyani that is cooked by the Muslim Sufi nomad tribes in the deserts of Rajasthan.
We have used fresh dried rose petals from Pushkar, and there’s also a hint of saffron in it. We also have great veg options for our patrons including Anjeer Makai Kebab and an appetiser comprising paneer and basil. There are soft-as-cotton Khameri rotis too. For Laal Maas, instead of the usual small pieces of mutton, we have whole lamb shanks cooked in gravy. There’s also Duck Seekh Kebab, which is again very unusual. In fact, you will get more surprises since we are still experimenting and coming up with some very new exotic dishes.
Any more surprises for foodies this year?
My son, Avik Chatterjee, is coming up with another concept eatery, named Hay, and we will also be disrupting another very predictable Indian food concept this year.