Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Balinese Lunch at The Orient and meeting some lovely people.

The Orient tucked away in the ground floor of City Centre NewTown may seem to you as another Chinese watering hole but it has much more to offer. I myself being a frequent visitor of the mall had not ventured beyond take aways. But not anymore! The other  day  KFB was invited to sample their fare over a Balinese lunch along with some lovely people from the Ambuja Neotia group. I was joined in by my fellow bloggers Antara of Antipasti and Pritha of Guilt Free - both being big fans of South east Asian cuisines. I am, to be honest not to adventurous when it comes to SE Asian cuisines but I went with an open mind. With non stop servings of Jasmine Tea we tasted a flavourful - not over powering-Balinese meal. My fellow bloggers tell me that originally Indonesian cuisine is very robust and spicy but I presume that was underplayed at the Orient keeping in mind the local tastebuds.

We  started off with a flavourful,mild spicy Soto Ayam - Java's popular chicken and glass noodle broth that could be made spicier by adding some sambal sauce. I stuck with what was being served and quite enjoyed it.

For entrée there was Lumpia Sayur - Fried spring roll stuffed with vegetables and tofu - served with some dips. The filling was subtle with an aftertaste of black pepper. The Sate Udang Besar, Bumbu Rujak - Skewers of king prawns with a spicy west java sauce was something I liked a lot. The prawns were cooked well and went well with the sauce. To be honest by now I was pretty much full and requested the chef to cut down on few of the items that was a part of the original menu.

Sate Udang Besar

Lumpia Sayur

Nasi Goreng - Stir fried rice with shrimps,sate,chicken and pickles,topped with fried egg and a prawn cracker was Chef's choice of main course. I am totally a rice person so was very happy to see a loaded plate and especially that perfectly fried egg had me at it. It is definitely the most popular dish when it comes to Indonesian cusine and as google tells me it literally translates to "fried rice". The flavours were reminiscene of the quintessential oriental fried rice to me and I would have liked it a bit more spicier. There was Ayam pelalah - Shredded chicken,tomato chilli sambal served as an accompaniment.

Nasi Goreng

Ayam pelalah

The star of the afternoon would how ever have to be the Balinese Chocolate Cake with white chocolate and rum ganache served with wasabi icecream. Must admit the icecream did have that kick in taste from the wasabi flavour used and the chocolate cake was one of the best I have had in a while. And this coming from an absolultely non chocolate person like me!

Wasabi icecream with chocolate cake

As we know, Indonesian cuisine is diverse and vibrant and has a lot of ethnic influences, so it is commendable on the part of Chef Ghanshyam  - the executive Chef at the Orient to be able to design and execute an menu that would also be appealing to the local palate. The Orient hosts frequent food festivals from around the SE Asian countries as Tanmoy Roy  - Corporate F&B Manager, Operations from Ambuja Neotia tells us. They also have this brilliant concept of oriental martinis that is a part of their happy hours. So there, now you know where to go for your martini fix!

They also have some vegetarian options in their menu like the Tempe Manis - Crisp soya bean curd,green bean,kaffir lime,lemon grass and palm sugar and Sayur Lodeh - Sweet potato, baby corn and baby egg plant cooked in mild curry sauce.

So there ended my tryst with Indonesian food and a good one I would say. I was lovely meeting everyone from the Ambuja Neotia group present that afternoon and thanks a ton for the goody bag- that ofcourse went to my 7 yr old!

Hand made chocolates as a parting gift!


Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Italian Fare at Swissotel, Kolkata

"Its the Italian Menu launch" - said Enakshi over the phone and I jumped at the idea. I can get quite restrictive when it comes to trying out new cuisines but not Italian. There is so much beyond pizza and pasta and I would not leave the opportunity to enjoy the hearty Italian dishes sitting right here in my city. Swissotel, Kolkata has always been the pioneers in giving the city of joy a taste of varied cuisines - be it the Penang or the Kenyan and more recently the Turkish Food fare that they presented was talked about very highly. It is a hotel that caters extensively to the expat community and hence it keeps in mind the diverse taste buds!
The Italian menu has been specially curated and executed by Executive Chef Pranay under the supervision of the ever cheerful Mr. Saxer , GM, Swissotel. Arundhuti of My Saffron Kitchen and myself headed off to Café Swiss @ the Swissotel to experience an evening of great food. Now Italian cuisine is varied with each of the provinces proudly presenting something very indigenous to the region. Chef Pranay has painstakingly tried to include a little something from across the provinces. You have the quinesential pizzatini as you also have some exotic hand crafted ravioli served with burnt butter. If hearty Italian staples is your thing then the buffet every Thursday night is where you should head. Some of the dishes like the Eggplant Parmigiano and the Agnello Con polenta - braised lamb shanks literally falling off the bone  that we sampled that evening is now a part of the regular menu at Café Swiss. All I would say is food is something personal and sacred and I would not like to dissect each dish here! All I  will do is leave you with some pictures that would surely make you drool and head out to Café Swiss for your Italian fix right here in your city!

Bellini - a cocktail of sparkling wine and pach puree - perfect to kickstart the evening
Parma ham with melon - antipasti

Dips - basil pesto and sundried tomatoes

A varied selection of antipasti

Make your own pizza!

Prawn Frito Misto - crunchy yum
Mushroom with provolone - a part of Hot antipasti selection
Eggplant Parmigiana
Introducing Micro greens - the trend of the moment
The mmost amazing Lemon sorbet - a palate cleanser in between the courses!
Herbed Focacia

Hearty Braised chicken stew with beans and Fish roulade in Butter sauce

Fish terrine
Hand rolled ravioli with Burnt butter
Braised Lamb shanks

And some drool worthy dessert too to finish off your meal.
Tiramisu bites
colourful meringues
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 There is also a wide selection of Italian wines to choose from - Pinot Grigio Collection or the Chianti Barbanera.


The delectable buffet dinner will be available every Thursday priced at INR 1600 plus taxes per person and an a la carte Italian menu will be available everyday only at Café swiss, level 6, Swissotel Kolkata Neotia Vista.
You can place reservations through email to, or by phone at +91336626666.