The Esplanade in Bangalore
The Esplanade, Bangalore’s new restaurant, amalgamates Bengali and Continental cuisines, with an attempt to transcend, yet retain the essence and flavour of food that is traditionally Kolkata.
“At The Esplanade, we endeavour to keep alive the tradition of Kolkata cuisine in the way it is meant to be. Apart from the variety of dishes that are synonymous with Bengali cooking, we offer age old delicacies that graced the tables of the colonial sahibs, in the days of yore” said Subhankar Dhar, Chef & Owner, The Esplanade.
With rough white walls, dark wood finishing, large black & white prints of the Kolkata Esplanade on its stairways and bright graphic flower motifs on its walls, the space is contemporary and under stated.
We started off our meal with and Ampora Sharbat a roasted mango drink sweetened and seasoned with Cumin. The drink was a surprisingly refreshing not just as a cool drink on a warm afternoon but also in terms of being extremely wholesome in its taste and flavor.
For starters we ordered the Fish Roll, a traditional Bengali preparation of fish paupiettes and spicy shrimp rolled together and fried in a bread crumb batter. The flavours were distinct and the roll just delicately melted in your mouth. We also ordered Tak-Mishti Channa which is smooth blended homemade cottage cheese patties and as you bite into it a sublime taste of delicate mango chutney or Tak is revealed.
The Chef and Owner of the Esplanade Subhankar Dhar has his roots in Kolkata but has been living in Bangalore for the last 4 years and his thinking behind planning out the Menu. “I wanted to was to burst the 3 myths that seem to surround Bengali Cuisine, 1)That its only about fish, 2) the food is always sweet, and 3) we can only cook in mustard oil. “
Glancing at Menu we’re struck by a uniquely Kolkata menu with the ubiquitous prawn cocktail that is a “continental” favourite with Kolkatans to the Chicken A-la-Kiev a chicken roll that generously oozes melted butter as soon as you put a fork and knife to it. Originally a Russian dish that has become very much a part of Kolkata Continental food tradition.
Our first course is the Kasha Mangsho and Cholar Dal served with delicate, light and fluffy loochis (puris). The Kasha Mangsho means dry mutton and is another all time favourite. What impressed us was the quality of the meat. Generously cut pieces of tender meat on soft bone made with cumin, pepper and mustard flavours distinct yet beautifully complimentary. The Cholar Dal which is lentils delicately blended with coconut was again a tasty accompaniment to the loochi and the mangsho.
In the Old days the Esplanade in Kolkata was the most fashionable part of Kolkata where the British and the Babus all vied to see and be seen; The Esplanade in now one of the most bustling areas in the centre of the city.
“I also believe that Bangalore is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in India where people are always looking to try out newer cuisine. It’s taken me a year and a half to get the Esplanade from the drawing board to service,” says the Chef and Owner.
A true Bengali will consider a meal incomplete without fish. So our last course (before dessert, of course) was Daab Chingri and Doi Elish served with steaming rice. Daab Chingri is a treat for its presentation and taste. The dish is served in a tender coconut in which it is cooked and spiced with mustard paste. The flavours were easy on the palate with the prawns cooked to perfection, dissolving in your mouth. The Doi Elish is Hilsa which is a bony river fish and a favourite with Bengalis served in a yogurt and mustard curry with strong taste of the yogurt which for some may be an acquired taste. The Sorshe Elish is a good option for those not wanting to experiment.
For Chicken lovers the Deshi Murgir Jhol a must try spicy country chicken curry. The Esplanade also boasts an extensive vegetarian menu with classics like Aloo Karaishutir Nimano- baby potatoes in a piquant green peas paste, Mocha Dhokar Dalna- dumplings made with banana flower florets, which we did sample and enjoy.
Finally we topped off our meal the baked Rassagulla and exciting Fried Natun Gurer Ice Cream.
Chef Dhar has been with the Park Hotel Kolkata and is excited about the Esplanade which is occupying his every waking and probably sleeping hour. He says, I am also in the process of obtaining a Wine License. Bengali food goes very well with Wine and people enjoy unwinding with a drink, meal and good company.”
The Esplanade also has an Lunch Buffet from Monday to Friday priced at Rs.199/-The Buffet offers 2 non-vegetarian, 3 vegetarian, 1 dal and 2 sweet dishes and a choice of loochi, rotis and rice. This is served with Chutneys and papads and is a Bengali style meal.
Opened at Early in March, the Esplanade is now geared to welcome guests for the Kolkata food experience. A meal for 2 will set you back around Rs.1000/- but is money well spent with quality food, polite service and good portions.
151 KHB Colony,1st Floor 5th Block,
Koramangala, Bangalore -560096 Map