Disclaimer: I was invited by the management and PR of Hola! for a food tasting. What follows next is an honest experience. Take it with A Pinch Of Salt!
Kolkata, you surprise me each time I think about “What Next?” in terms of food and you bring, yet another new pair of feet embarking on their culinary journey which manages to swoon my taste buds. My escapades this time led me to a very popular lane on Southern Avenue that already owns its legacy with the existence of two very dynamic established enterprises- Xrong Place and Tolly Tales.
Trying to settle in and graciously making its way to our hearts amidst these stalwarts is Hola!
One would be mistaken by the establishment’s name and think “These guys have opened a Spanish restaurant in the vicinity”, but there’s more to what meets the eye.
Located two blocks ahead of Tolly Tales, is Hola! – a very colorful dining space that caters to almost every need and taste. The quirkiness of the décor starts right from the moment you walk up the stairs, which prepares patrons for a whole lot more.
Once inside, you’re floored with the impressive interiors. From colorful lamps to beer bottle walls, there something for every Instagram account or a digital camera.
Hola! , Primarily is a multi-cuisine restaurant and bar that caters to all age and food groups. So while the millennials or simply young at heart can soak in the lively atmosphere of the casual dining space; those with a refined taste can luxuriate the fine dining space where each table is an enclosed cubicle filled with complete privacy, not to mention, it also has a private television set.
Hola! also has a small stage dedicated to live performances and open mics, so yes, if you’re fed up with the mundane clubbing and movie watching, this could be a great place to unwind. There are unplugged music sessions, stand up comedy acts etc. to entertain almost every weekend.
Being a Multi-Cuisine restaurant, it is usually seen in most cases, that an establishment quintessentially becomes the “Jack of all trades but a Master of none”; that’s not the case with Hola! The menu is diverse, with Italian, Continental, Indian and Oriental spreads out to spoil you silly!
The reason behind so much variety?
“Well, when we were deciding on Hola‘s menu, we were considering those dishes that we would order as customers too. My husband is a non-vegetarian while I’m a vegetarian, therefore diverse choices were on the cards,” says the owner Aarunima Dhawan.
So what should you try when you head out to this chilled out destination next?
The Oriental Fare
The Chefs at Hola! are ex Yauatcha stalwarts so be rest assured, your oriental experience would be nothing short of awesomeness. My top favorites from their Oriental menu would be:
- The Chicken Manchow Soup (INR 225): Taking the classic Manchow soup to a hearty twist by adding a hearty portion of bite-sized dumplings. Yummilicious!
- The Chicken Bok Choy Dumplings (INR375): This was what stole my heart. Steamed Chicken Dumplings tossed in chef’s secret sauce with bay Bok Choy and toasted sesame seeds. I could come back for this alone!
- The Wasabi Prawns (INR 425): Crispy batter-fried Prawns served with spicy Japanese Mayo and a Hola special dip. This was so delightful.
- Grilled Fish Cake on a bed of Pea Puree (INR 375): Grilled fish patties seasoned with mustard and herbs, laid on a base of pea pure, is what I think most Bengalis would love delving into. For me, it was decent but not a show stopper.
- Nasi Goreng Platter (INR 475): I’ve been asked a number of times about where can one get a decent and authentic Indonesian Nasi Goreng. Well, look no further. Served with Chicken and Prawn Satay, Prawn Papad, Peanut sauce, Sambal Oelek and Pickled vegetables- This is one treat you must NOT miss at all. You could also ask for a double chicken or a double prawn satay instead of their regular combination too!
The Indian Fare
The Indian fare at Hola! too has something to tantalize all taste buds. My Top 3 on their menu are the following:
- Dal Makhni(INR 295): The Classic Dal Makhni- Black lentils simmered overnight and served with butter and cream- is honestly, at par with the ITC Peshawari, I kid you not! I almost ate up the entire bowl! Try it to believe it!
- Lahori Gosht (INR 450): Mutton cubes, simmered in Lahori masala gravy was pretty decent. Again, not something I’d personally come back for but it’s ideal that you give this a try.
- Keema Kulcha(INR 150 for 2): Filling, wholesome and perfectly complimenting with the Dal Makhni and Lahori Gosht.
The best is always reserved for the last and that’s exactly why you should wait for the desserts at Hola!
Because there is no fixed menu for desserts at all and is completely based on the Chef’s special of the day!
Priced at INR 200, you could definitely ask for their super fudgy Chocolate brownie with Vanilla ice cream. Theirs is one of the best I’ve tasted in Kolkata till now, maybe because Hola! has an in-house bakery that makes bread, croissants, cakes, muffins, and brownies with much love and perfection.
Their chocolate mousse is silken and full of goodness- something that an ideal mousse should be!
All in all, amidst all the Brand thoroughfare hitting the City of Joy, I feel Hola! still deserves a chance to be savored. If nothing else, you will definitely have a great time and build lots of memories guaranteed.
Do let me know about your experiences/feedbacks at Hola! And never miss an update with A Pinch of Salt!