Que Up For A Heritage Hiatus At The Astor, Kolkata

Disclaimer: I was invited to be a part of an exclusive girly luncheon at the Astor Hotel, Kolkata’s on going food festival “Remembering Our Heritage With Food”. What follows is my experience of the festival at large and the food given to taste. Take it with A Pinch Of Salt!

Think of Kebabs and your mouth has this sort of mental conditioning to automatically start salivating; which of course is then followed by an incessant period of gurgles in the stomach till it’s not satiated with the above craving.

Kolkata may have had this allurement to kebabs centuries ago but it was Chef Avtar Singh who made Kebabs a delectable favourite in the modern day Calcutta and instated Kebab-e-Que to an honorary pedestal.  The Astor Kolkata, celebrates his culinary genius by introducing Remembering Our Heritage With Food –a unique food festival that brings back “Kebab King” Avtar Singh’s age old recipes with a twist on your plates.

From left to right Chef Madhu Jana, Chef Islam and Chef Amlan Bose

The festival features three legendary chefs who have been a part of The Astor Kolkata’s repertoire for the last thirty years. Chef Islam, Chef Sirajuddin and Chef Madhu Jana, who apprenticed under Chef Avtar Singh are the maestros whipping up the decade old delicacies.All the dishes are robust and hearty and sing of flavours from a bygone era.

astor1Our starters included the Zafrani Qalmi Kebab (chicken) which looked like a typical chicken tandoori leg piece but the tenderness and melt in the mouth meat had a different story to tell.

Chakori Mahi Tikka
Chakori Mahi Tikka

The Chakori Mahi Tikka (fish) is a must try if you’re a seafood lover for you’re bound to fall in love.

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Surprisingly, it was the vegetarian kebabs that bowled me over. The Subz Gullar Kebab was a complete treasure ball, encompassing a celebration in the mouth.

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Chilam Paneer was a hot favourite amongst all of us present in the room. Chilman means handkerchief, the dish is  basically cottage cheese coated with a creamy and aromatic marinate that almost covers it like a handkerchief.

Akbari Murgh

 Our main course was an absolute delight, not to mention made our stomach bloated! We had the Akbari Murgh which was rightly named for a dish of royalty. A  smoked tandoori chicken lying on a bed of flavoured pulao rice, with rajma and keema gravy on either side is a meal fit for a king or queen.

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I didn’t much care for the Cheese Palak, although it would make a great meal if served with hot naan or roti.

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The Jhinga Hara Dhania (prawn) was another favourite main course. The unique flavours of corriander, the prawns and coconut were an ethereal combination and would be perfect when accompanied with plain steamed rice or a pulao.

“The Astor Kolkata has always been famous for kebabs, but with changing tastes the original recipes somehow got lost 30 years ago. The main purpose of this festival is to revive the flavours for which the hotel is famous. We are trying to bring back the same taste and flavour profiles of the kebabs and biriyanis which were found back then. Guests who visit our hotel can enjoy and relish our heritage food.” said Chef Islam .

This limited edition festival is on between July 22 to August 7, 2016 for lunch and dinner from 12pm to 4pm and 7pm to 11pm. Pocket pinch for two at Remembering our Heritage with Food at The Astor Kolkata will be Rs 1800 plus taxes.

Make your reservations NOW!

 

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