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Most often, like the Bengali vegetarian cuisine, vegetarian restaurants also take a backseat in Kolkata. To get an experience parallel to some of the top non-vegetarian restaurants in the city has been extremely tough. Amongst the few vegetarian restaurants in Kolkata, there has been Casa Kitchen which is a part of the Casa Fortune, the old timers favourite Teej in Park Street and Rajdhani Thali, which wows the customer with the unending synchronised serving of food. Not to forget Kaidi Kitchen which opened up a few years back with a theme of prison inmates serving the food within the Jail themed restaurant. Few more have cropped up in the recent times; however, most of them lack the panache of drawing the non-vegetarian clientele towards them, until now.
SpiceKlub has opened up in Park Street a couple of months back and is already making its name amongst food lovers of the city for the sheer brilliance of the taste. After Mumbai, Kolkata was the second destination where this chain opened up, presenting molecular gastronomy infused, deconstructed vegetarian food to the city. The menu fearlessly explores some of the common street food and popular vegetarian dishes from across the country, presented in a distinctive style with theatrics around them, making the eating experience worthwhile.
There is a myth that is slowly building up around SpiceKlub – very rarely people stopover for a main course in their food journey and most of the times, like a fast train they rush to the desserts after the starters. An impressive spread of starter is a testament to that. The famous Maharashtrian deconstructed vada pav, where the vada is served in the form of a mousse with the masala is tucked in an edible pouch is the surprise item on the menu. The first bite is burst of flavours inside the mouth transporting you to one of the numerous by lanes of Mumbai and Maharashtra. Juhu beach makes an appearance with the pav bhaji fondue and again the taste has been kept intact as a replica of the original version. Everything including the deconstructed dhokla and papri chat with coriander chutney foam and yogurt spheres are worth experiencing.
The much talked about desserts are not to be missed and before anything else, the show must start with the bubbling kulfi. This is served on a dry ice bottom with frozen kulfi and assorted toppings such as blueberry compote, salted caramel sauce, chocolate ganache and rose caviars sprinkled on top. There is a rabri pannacotta also with some blueberry compote as well as the ‘volcano’, which has chocolate mousse, with peru jelly and a kesar milk injected through syringe on top of the volcano giving it the necessary theatre and fun. Needless to say, the abundance of the syringes, beakers, test tubes and extra large vessels, which are an integral part of any molecular gastronomy joint, makes it further more interesting.
There is a lot of debate on whether molecular gastronomy is all about a lot of show and theatre and the taste misses the spot. However, in case of SpiceKlub, they have done a splendid job in keeping the taste of the food intact along with all the glamour. It has always been a big challenge for Kolkatans to make vegetarian guests check out some contemporary veg food joint with a wow experience. Guess that is going to change now.