The Parking Lot in Kolkata is a pub with a twist
From a continental fine-dining space catering cous cous with chunks of lip smacking beef steaks cooked to perfection, to an ‘all-day’ pub, the metamorphosis of Bodega Cantina-Y-Bar into The Parking Lot seems to be effortlessly seamless. As we step into the transformed space at 24 Park Street, we are greeted by bouncers, who let us through a set of turnstiles once we tap our wristbands, given after registering mobile numbers at the counter.
“Just like a parking lot, there’s a minimum hourly fee, which peaks on a busy day or a party night. The turnstiles won’t open if you tap the band without paying the bills, since the band monitors everything,” tells Aditya Mehta, who runs the place along with Aakash Jaiswal and Varun Mimani.
The best part of this 1,700 sq ft, 72-seater vibrant pub is its bright decor, with Instagram-worthy wall graffiti, a Matador van for a DJ console and hundreds of Hot Wheel cars stuck on the wall at the entrance.
The food, too, has been carefully crafted by the young and experimental Sumiet Raghuvansi, with years of culinary exposure in Mumbai, Moscow and Bangkok behind him. “The menu is targeted at the young crowd and hence no dish is above Rs300-350 on an average with the base alcohol price at Rs 99,” says the soft spoken chef, who has joined here this year after his stint in Moscow.
Vegetarians can look forward to some interesting dishes that have been carefully planned impress the palate and also pique your curiosity.The Pindi Eclairs, for example, was fabulous to taste with the spicy mashed chana (chickpeas) melting in your mouth as you bite into the crusty upper layer of the puri. The mini galawati kebabs served atop bite size ulte tawa ke paranthe were cooked to perfection, too.
Among the finger foods the Chicken Korean steak, hit the spot with the well cooked, sweet and spicy meat. Sumiet has not forgotten to include the ever popularchicken and veg momos in the menu. “We haven’t done any tweaking with the momo recipe and have retained the traditional taste. It’s important for a chef to understand when to stop, you can’t twist everything,” adds Sumiet.
We washed it all down with an interesting line up of cocktails including the Third Hand (that has a hint of lemon grass, litchi juice and Earl Grey tea), a Corn Tale which is a classic twist of Mai Tai with pop corn flavour and finally the Wine Not that has a potent twist of Whiskey Sour with red wine.
There are also a few experimental main courses including the signature pasta pizza. It is a pizza dish served with Delhi chaat and tamarind chutney, Amaranth Aglio e Olio and Palak Paneer Biryani with purple rice. The daal tarka ravioli made of spinach dough with cheese and red chilli pickle stuffing had us asking for more.
But what swept us off our feet are the desserts, especially the Motichur Crumble Cheesecake, served with Oreo pakoda and salted caramel sauce. The crusty Motichur base not for once collided with the smooth cheesecake on the top and the crispy Oreo fritters with a dash of salty caramel took the dish to another level altogether.
A meal for two: Rs 900 plus GST