Though quite a few city diners have resumed services since June 8, it will be a long time before things return to normal and patrons flock back to the restaurants. Aware of the crisis facing the food industry that employs over seven million people in the country, most diners, including a few 5-star addresses, have retained their home delivery services that they had started during the lockdown period. And Holiday Inn Kolkata Airport is no exception.
This international hotel’s all-day diner Social Kitchen has resumed services with a newly created a la carte menu last week. But, for those who are still unsure about stepping out of their home’s safety, the hotel can have the lip-smacking Bengali, North Indian or Chinese Combos delivered to their doorstep. We sampled a few of the dishes from their Bengali and North Indian combos and were pleasantly taken back by the sheer quantity of the food sent. Packed neatly with complimentary jars of sanitisers, the best thing about the food was that despite the spicy and colourful texture, they were absolutely non-greasy and low on spice and thus apt for the sultry summer.
“Since most of us were physically less active due to the lockdown, our digestive system is not at its best state. Hence we aimed at keeping the dishes healthy, low on spice yet palatable,” tells Debarpita, junior sous chef of Social Kitchen. From the Bengali combo, we started with the age-old luchi and eggplant fritters followed by Moong Mohini Daal, a wholesome bowl of Bengali-style pulses with seasonal veggies and Enchorer Dalna, a creamy gravy of raw jackfruit cooked with potatoes.
We also checked out the non-veg offerings, which tasted like a homemade meal. Balanced in the spices and well-cooked, the Kosha Mangsho, an eternally delectable mutton preparation popular in almost all Bengali households, took the cake. We also relished every bit of the Bengali Fish Fry including the spicy coating, that made us even more nostalgic about the familiar aromas that come wafting from the ubiquitous eateries that line the streets of North Kolkata.
Among the delicacies that comprise the North Indian combo, we simply loved the Ramgarhi Machhi doused in a sweet and spicy gravy, and is made with whole spices like cinnamon, cloves and star anise. The mint and coriander stem added to the freshness of the bekti that was well-marinated and is best had with the Jeera Mattar Pulao. The piquant Amchuri Bhindi with the moist Methi Paranthas could be a great option for the green brigade besides the creamy Daal Makhni.
The best thing about the combos was the dessert part. The Aam Rabri deserves a special mention and we can bet you would have never had something like this before. The consistency was way thinner than the regular rabri dishes and slightly thicker than Nolen Gur (Date palm jaggery). The heady flavour of the Himsagar mangoes could happily tempt you to skip the calorie counting. Kamala Bhog, the spongy, syrupy balls of orange cottage cheese, and Gulab Jamuns are also a must-try.
The veg combo packs are priced for Rs 650 for two and the non-veg at Rs 850 for two.