Try out some 'dramatised' South Indian fusion fare at Naariyal Paani, Kolkata
When it comes to South Indian cuisine in Kolkata, there is really no dearth of options. Be it idli, dosa or uthapam, it’s ubiquitous -- from the roadside eateries to the upscale restaurants. So, what’s new, we asked the proprietor-cum-chef Rashi Kedia, when we went to review Naariyal Paani. “It’s all about nautanki (drama)”, said the zesty 31-year-old. “We wanted a lot of drama around food. So, everything, starting from the decor to food has a lot of drama and innovation in it. There is no South Indian restaurant in the city, which involves molecular gastronomy while revving up a dish. We offer that and more,” adds Kedia, who graciously carried on the interview despite running high temperature.
Indeed, each and everything about the place yells drama with a capital D. With interiors done up in bright hues of yellow, green and red, there is no dullness around the brightly lit 40-seater, vegetarian diner. There are green parrots hanging from the ceiling all over the place and even on the back of your chairs, which are replicas of the typical rickshaws found in and around Chennai. The menu card, too, is simple yet dramatised with the page stuck on blackboards that we were all so fond of during our childhood.
The food, too, is a lot different than the usual fare. “I went on a two-month food trail crisscrossing many cities of South India, before launching this eatery, to taste the South Indian dishes are offered. I surmised that in terms of novelty, there was nothing much except may be a chowmein or schezwan dosa or a paneer tikka dosa. Hence I decided to offer South Indian fusion,” explains the winner of MasterChef Bengal in 2014.
Thus you have dishes like Bomb Idli – you bite it and a rush of sambhar lava engulfs you-- and Bubble Dosa, which is nothing but dosa that looks like a waffle.
Kedia has successfully experimented with molecular gastronomy and come up with dishes, such as Shotgun Murugun, steaming idlis served stylishly, foam chutneys and Tikka on the Rocks. Tikka on the Rocks is a dish that’s interesting, where paneer tikka is turned into an idli and live grilled with a blow torch in front of you.
But the most interesting dish probably was the Jalebi Caviars, a dessert where the jalebis have been turned into caviars using molecular gastronomy and each time you have eat, dragon smoke comes out of your nose literally. The Coconut idli, is a pleasant surprise, served in coconut shells and made with grated coconut and idli batter.
Besides the fusion dishes on offer, there are the regular South Indian dishes including Thatee Idlis, upma, uthapam, lemon rice, curd rice and besibeli (a typical South Indian khichdi). In the dessert section, apart from the jalebi caviars, the Rose Petal ice cream, made of fresh rose petals is a must-try.
“If things go well, we want to expand and open six more outlets in the city by 2019,” says Kedia, whose five-day-old eatery already has customers waiting for over an hour in the queue.
If you are on a budget but yet want to try out something different and spectacular, we highly recommend this new kid on the block. It’s worth your money.
What: Naariyal Paani
Where: 19/F, Alipore Road, Enclave Mall, Kolkata – 700 027
Timings: Weekdays - 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Weekends (open for breakfast) – 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Reservations: 98305 00223