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Just like you would need a magnifying glass to find a tinge of red in the blue and white city of Kolkata, these days you would also need the gentleman from 221 B Baker Street to find out the reasons for the diminishing winters in Kolkata. The duration of winter is just like the cameo appearance of Anil Kapoor in one of the Mission Impossible sequels, however, the fondness of celebration of food and bonhomie is what excites people to go for open air barbecue parties on supposedly wintery evenings. Hence, before the winter disappears, these are the places in Kolkata which are a must-visit for the winter barbecues.
Taj Bengal has started a new trend of black rock grill from last year introduced by Executive Chef Sonu Koithara. The granite, specially procured from abroad is heated at 400 degrees in the oven and the steak or the meat is served on the hot stone which keeps it warm till the last bite. Poolside, beautiful setting, the whiff of grilled meats and a hot stone; what more can one want in the winters. The menu is eclectic, to say the least. One can start with soups and appetisers before going on to the main course and every dish has been specially created for grilling by the poolside. So for soups, one can get a Hungarian goulash or a bhune bhutte ka ras; for appetisers, one could go for char grilled beckti with raw mango salsa or a dahi palak ke kabab and so on. Steaks on the stone see all kinds of meat from duck, lamb, spring chicken and pork to a classic fish fillet steak. There are also options with seafood including Canadian scallops and rock lobster. The vegetarians have a hearty choice of Peruvian asparagus, tofu, exotic vegetables, cheeses etc. All the steaks are available with a choice of sauce, sides and marination. Grill by the poolside will be on until the end of February 2017 and is available every evening post 7 except Mondays. The food is available on À la carte basis.
Hyatt Regency has an enviable outdoor setting and they have started a fantastic poolside barbecue on every Wednesday and Saturday evenings to compliment the season till the 31st of March 2017! There is a wide-ranging selection of meats and vegetables which are grilled and served directly on the plate. The grills are paired with exquisite drinks, some cold mezze and splendid desserts. The best part is that all this is available at a fixed price of INR 1399 plus tax with unlimited selective beverages and grills.
Novotel also is doing a Grill by The Pool – Barbecue at the poolside, where they have a whole range of exotic dishes such as dill marinated fish ‘pave’; rosemary and black pepper marinated beef medallions; honey, mustard and soy marinated chicken breast; thyme, garlic and orange zest marinated pork loin; Cumberland and sage pork sausages and lemon and coriander marinated grilled squids cooked to order. All of this along with experimental and bold desserts such as grilled white chocolate brownie with double chocolate sauce; grilled pineapple with coconut espuma and cognac flambéed fruit skewers. This event is there every Friday and Saturday evening from 7 pm onwards and per person cost would be INR 750 for veg and INR 950 for non-vegetarian plus tax.
The grills are the star of any barbecue set up and ITC Sonar firmly believes in that. As Executive Chef Vijay Malhotra says that from seafood to kababs, all are fresh. Be it the paneer to prawn seekh kababs in Indian section or the shawarmas to the other Mediterranean grill section, all are worth checking out, coupled with some wine or winter mulled wine. If after the grills you feel like you can go for more; then try out some metaibruz biryani and other delicacies. This is available on all evenings at Eden Pavilion lawn until January 30th, 2017 at INR 2599 plus taxes including grills and soft beverages.
The climatic conditions of Kolkata are always deterrent for outdoor parties for the rest of the year. However, winter is the only time and specifically a time window of 2 -3 months when one can enjoy an outdoor meal. The certain nip in the air, the colourful scarfs and jackets with some smoky charcoal grill and some spirits will definitely keep you warm.
A true blue Kolkata foodie, Anindya loves cooking and eating his Kosha Mangsho. Anindya weaves stories around food as he believes exceptional food is an emotional experience. Previously a restauranter, now a passionate photographer and traveller, he runs a successful blog called Pikturenama and contributes to other publications.