An engraved letter was lying at my desk at home all week. It finally forced me to open it.
Dear Doc Rambo,
We could not help noticing that since the time you attempted to become a famoush blogger, you became a famished one. As this is the season of good will and that kind of popular shit, we have the pleasure of feeding you if you can drag your sorry ass to our new restaurant at Silver Spring, Kolkata within the next two weeks.
Well, a slight exaggeration, actually. It sort of said (if memory serves me right):
Dear Doc Rambo,
We recently analysed the last Census results to form a data base for our new restaurant in Silver Spring, Kolkata, and noted with pleasure that your name figures first among the select list of Indians whose tongue-tips can reach their elbows. Sir, we would be privileged to have you at our new restaurant within the next two weeks, as we are unable to think of more practical ways to check the culinary skills of our new chef,whom we are paying enough for him to consider bonking Paris Hilton.
So, when informed that tonight’s dinner at home (dal, roti, sabzi, dahi) was refused even by the alley cat, I decided to venture out to Sigree.
Located at the mall in Silver Spring (a swanky new condo complex near the ITC Sheraton Hotel), Sigree, for some reason, looked like a brand new restaurant.
We (wife, kid and blogdoc) were welcomed so profusely that the last named got nervous. Are we the only family they have managed to coax entry into their restaurant, I wondered.
The ambience was warm and unpretentious. There were certain murals and jug-like structures on the walls that I couldn’t describe or name. If I could, I would have been writing for the New York Times, rather than being stuck in Blogsville, writing anonymous posts for you
stinkers wonderful people.
The restaurant manager, Debdatta, came up to us and explained that they were going to Beta test their cuisine prior to the opening in mid-January ’08 and would appreciate our comments on the food.
They started off with a few starters.
Among the vegetarian starters, we had:
Dilli Wali Tikki (a large blob of potato pastry with chickpeas, onions, masala and a bit of sauce).
Hare Masale ki Paneer (cottage cheese kababs in green herb gravy).
Chutney Wali Makai (a sheekh kabab made out of blended vegetables and pulses, mildly spiced).
Multani Chat (fried sliced baby potatoes in a piquant sweet red sauce spiced with ginger).
(Notice how professional I sound? Piquant indeed!)
Kurkure Bhendi (thinly julienned okra in light batter, fried and lightly spiced).
The non-vegetarian starters were:
Gosht Sheekh (mutton kabab).
Murg Chandni Tikka (ginger-garlic flavored white chicken kabab).
Murg Kandahari Tikka (spicy chicken tikka kabab).
Bhuna Methi Tikka (bhetki fish kabab with fenugreek).
All of these were superb, save that the Chicken kababs were not really the kind I like (chandni tikka: a bit too garlicky, and kandahari tikka suffocated by spices). In particular, the okra was mind-blowing.
After all these were demolished, mostly by the hungry laborer who had been operating since 7 in the morning, I told my wife, “Let us not sit around any more. Let us leave before they bid us goodbye, please come again!”
As if they had heard me, a troupe of waiters came in with the main courses.
A point of digression. The proper collective noun I should have used is ‘an indifference’ or ‘an absence’ of waiters. However, the waiters today were devoutly solicitous, almost as if I was their son-in-law-married-to-ugly-daughter come to visit. No absence, and no indifference.
Amritsari Kulcha (tomb-shaped soft breads stuffed with pomegranate, mashed potatoes, onions and a touch of red chilli pepper).
Butter Nans/Baby Nans/Ajwaini Rotis.
Yellow Masala Dal (with a slightly burnt garlic flavor).
Gosht Chilman Biryani (mutton chunks in spiced Basmati rice, sealed in dough and cooked in a tandoor).
Sabz Dum Handi (fresh veggies in a mild green sauce).
Murg Shiroudi Masala (Chicken in red sauce spiked with black pepper).
Chaap-e-Baluchistan (Rogan Josh by another name).
In short, the chaap was the best I have ever had, and the Chicken Shiroudi packed quite a bit of flavor, too. The others were all very stimulating, with the Amritsari Kulcha getting my gourmet vote.
At dessert time, the Firni captured the flavor well, but was a bit too sweet. I was too sated to really enjoy the Shahi Tukda, which turned to something like Farex in my tired mouth. Good, actually, because I heard a female voice (probably belonging to my wife) saying, “I will never come to a restaurant with such shameless gluttons. Ever!”. I thought she was talking of others, but there were no others in the restaurant at that time. Odd, that.
By the time of the dessert, the others had long given up on food, and were desperately searching for a place they could lie horizontally over.
They wrote profuse eulogies in the comment sheets, while I rolled out on all fours, ready for the drive back home.
Being an astute surgeon, I realised the reason this insane assault on the body’s system with so much of food did not cause any feeling of sickness. I could see the parietal cells of my stomach lining frantically secrete acid to digest the initial starters, and then slow down, finally collapsing under the onslaught, limply secreting H2O instead of HCl.
If you are the numerology sort, here is a rating (out of 10).
Price: 10 (complimentary for us)
(Pedantic note for the greedy visitor from Googledom: Sigree is part of the Mainland China group of restaurants. This is a 168 seater restaurant, and has been preceded by others in Pune and Chennai. Bangalore and South City, Kolkata, are the next sites to open soon. Its chef is Sandeep Pandey, formerly of Gucchi of the Hyatt Regency, Kolkata).
(Pictures mine. Once the food came, somehow, we forgot to take pictures.)