Kolkata's newest gastropub Episode One takes clubbing to an all-new level
The city's most plush gymkhana also happens to have a stellar sense of humour and is throwing some sneaky shade over the colonial hangover that the Indian clubbing scene still appears to suffer from. We’re, of course, talking about Episode One, the spanking new Topsia property, which is making way for some fantastic mood dining, clubbing, solo unwinding, and everything you want out of your nightlife.
Episode One’s fantastic anticolonial aesthetic and revamped desi-ness is something that shines through the era-accurate detailing; consider a cheeky portrait of an imperial overlord in a Supreme T-shirt, a wall made of antique bakelite toggle switches spelling Azadi in Hindi, experimental tap cocktails (more about this later), a 19-foot-bar, and old-timer verandas, all of which make the 7,000 sq ft space superbly indulgent. “Call it a period dining experience for the modern era. The designers, Samir Raut and Faizan Khatri of Mumbai’s Studio Eight Twenty Three, actually stayed with me in gymkhanas across the city, and we pieced a lot of details together,” reveals Avik Chatterjee, who spearheaded the venture.
The 135-seater resto bar is a rehashed take on a gymkhana, and of course, features an array of scrumptious platters — from Indian, Turkish, American to Thai and Japanese cuisine. As we made our way through the expansive dining room, the first thing we noticed was the sleek, oblong bar situated at the Tap Room. Episode One’s Tap Room is a first of its kind, demarcating a format that is clearly made for the future of urban drinking milieus; it mainly features bespoke cocktail tanks, which were devised to pump out excellent craft cocktails with better consistency and at remarkable speeds, directly via taps.
The ‘taptails’, as they are called, come in four customised flavours as of now, namely Berries and Rose, Khatta Aam-Ada and Mogo Mogo Tea, Mai Tai, and the Lychee Lemongrass Carbon Lemonade — the latter being our first cocktail for the afternoon. We also got a peek at a special vodka-based Bleed Blue cocktail, featuring some green apple lemonade and kaffir lime, which the gastropub will be serving up for the World Cup finals.
Settling into the gymkhana chambers, which is also conveniently a cigar room, we got our first batch of appetisers — the ever-trusty Truffle Wasabi-infused Dumplings and Bhutte Ka Kees. The latter is of course, a popular lunch time delicacy in central India, but this version blew our minds. The crispy, skinny fried rolls had a wonderful evenness and were filled with corn and cheese; they might even convince meat lovers to give veggie appetisers a chance! The General Tao Chicken Sui Mai, served with a Cantonese Chilli Oil and House Soy had a dreamy filling, and a delectable clear base. We also tried some Corn & Water Chestnut dumplings, but we were soon distracted by the creamy plate of Pink Udon noodles, served with Tobanjan sauce, parmesan and almond flakes. The Japanese noodles had an incredible creaminess, and a perfectly achieved flavour palate.
We decided to mix things up, and teamed up the Udon with some classic Malai Chicken Tikka; if you’ve never done that, we suggest you try it at Episode One. As both dishes possess their individual creamy palates, the spicy tikka was an ideal companion for the summery Udon. We found something else on the menu which we don’t see very often: a classic Turkish Pide. A pide is a flatbread, much like a dense pita, baked with meat and veggies; we ordered a Farm Select Pide glazed with olive oil and baked with spinach, fresh feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and corn. We loved the English muffinlike consistency and the aromatic farm-fresh toppings.
We finished our fantastic lunch with a quirky dessert called the Snicker Bar. It’s essentially a luxe re-imagination of our regular Snickers, with dense chocolate, hazelnuts and a wasabi ice cream topping. Some of the other delectable sweet treats from the menu are the Tiramisu Pancake and the Gulab Nut, which is basically a Pista Rabdi.
Meal for Rs 1,800