India Restaurant is one of the oldest Mughali eateries in Kolkata, famous for their biryani and kababs. It’s around six months back that the place has been renovated and the present decor is absolutely stunning. In a crowded place close to Khidderpore fancy market, India restaurant is like a oasis in a desert. One won’t even think of a place as classy and elegant as India over there. The main disadvantage is the transportation and improper location of India restaurant. But, I can actually assure you, that once you reach this place, the food, the ambience and everything else would make it worth and you would definitely curse yourself for not being here before and would plan all your upcoming visits here.
I had bookmarked this place months back when the pictures of the newly renovated India restaurant were on zomato, T2 and everywhere else. What intrigued me was the different varieties of biryani they serve, which is really rare in the city. This blog is based on my visit to India restaurant on an invitation to my ‘Panchphoron’ group from the management for a food tasting !
First I would say, the décor is simply stunning. This is sure to be in the list of the finest restaurants in the city in terms of decor. The walls, the floor, the ceiling, the furniture and everything else will keep you staring at them for long ! The food was the reason I had come here and the ambience did impress me so much already ! From this point, I had huge expectations from the food and to be honest, every dish I had was just excellent.
We were served a kiwi shake first. This was a proof that a place serving some exquisite North Indian can make some outstanding mocktails too. So, basically India Restaurant has given equal focus on each and every item on their menu and not only on their specialities. The kiwi shake was thick and consistent. It was chilled, refreshing and had the proper amount of sweetness. It is served in a tall glass and the quantity is huge. This is topped with a cherry and pineapple and is actually filling. The other mocktails were unavailable that day. Hopefully, would try the other variants on my next visit.
Next, came the kababs :
1. Chicken cheese kabab – This is the speciality of India and yes it was amazing. The chicken pieces along with cheese and a spicy marination were grilled on tandoor. The chicken pieces were juicy and succulent and the best part was to observe melting choose oozing out from the chicken (picture attached).
2. Mutton galawati kabab – The name itself signifies that the kabab will be so soft that it would melt in the mouth. This is a Lucknowi delicacy where minced mutton along with certain spices are made into a mash and then cooked ! The aroma was excellent as was its taste. Even the texture was perfect. This came with some parathas which tasted really good with the galawati kababs !
3. Pineapple tandoori – I had this first time at barbeque nation where I felt that proper justice wasn’t done with pineapple. Over here, the preparation was totally different and perhaps the best ! Pineapple was cut into large slices, marinated with spices and grilled along with bell peppers. It was then topped with sesame seeds. The juiciness of the pineapple and it’s light smoky flavour was unique and out of the world. We almost finished the entire dish in a few seconds!
Our main course had five different varieties of biryani – normal chicken and mutton biryanis, awadhi biryani, daryabadi Biryani and kacchi biryani.
1. Daryabadi Biryani – This is the speciality of India restaurant. This biryani is quite spicy and somewhat tangy, which makes it different from the normal variants. What I loved about this was the mutton. The taste was completely on a different level. The meat was much more soft than one can ever imagine of. I was too much impressed with this, the softness of the mutton and it’s amazing aroma being the actual reasons. So, from now onwards, visiting India restaurant would definitely mean having a plate of Daryabadi Biryani.
2. Kacchi biryani – After having the Daryabadi Biryani, I felt this to taste quite similar. The difference lies in the style of cooking. In this, mutton pieces are cooked along with the rice. The mutton is initially marinated with ginger garlic paste, curd, fried onions, garm masala, etc and then placed in a handi. Above the mutton pieces, is added half-boiled basmati rice and then topped with necessary spices and ghee. Then it is cooked in dum style. The aroma and taste both were excellent. Loved it totally !
3. Awadhi biryani – This was presented in a large handi and infact the seal of dough was opened before us. What came out was an irresistible fragrance ! The taste was extremely different and unique. It was superb and you can’t stop having this ! The quantity is enough for three to four persons depending on their appetite.
The normal chicken and mutton biryanis were also good. The meat and potato in each was well boiled and adequately flavoured. Most importantly, they didn’t seem inferior before the special biryanis, the credits of which definitely goes to the chef.
Overall, India restaurant is a place that every foodie must visit, irrespective of its location. The food is something to die for. The authentic biryanis are something which is available nowhere in the city.The standard of food that this place has set will actually be difficult for other such restaurants to match up. Also, I would suggest them to keep food as their primary focus as the other Mughali restaurants are busy in spreading their business all over the city, bringing degradation in their food quality !