In a NUtshell A Royal mess in terms of managing the restaurant, cold, over worked & badly trained staff who reminded me of Sukumar ray’s ‘ram garurer chhana, hanste tader mana’ (people who don’t smile), good ambience but nothing Royal about it, HOWEVER, a truely grand spread of dishes & very good food – our taste buds were super happy. Address & other details: grand … Continue reading Grand market pavilion (ITC Grand Royal, kolkata)
Shiraz as a name rings a bell with Most Calcuttans (since the Days when Kolkata was Calcutta). I have had many good experiences in the past here like many others. Over the years I have seen a decline & had stopped going here & insead to the newly opened Arsalan. Similar experiences cud b heard from others as well. This time around I made it a point to revisit Shiraz & check it out myself…………….
There are two restaurants at Park Street Mullickbazar area. One is a few shops away from the other. The newer one is closer to the crossing & the older one is a few shops away. The newer one is swankier as well. We decided to go to the Old one.
The old restaurant has a non airconditioned ground floor & an airconditioned first floor. Furniture, look & ambience of the first floor is much upgraded as compared to the ground floor. The look at first floor was that of an old Eightees restaurant. Cubicles made with set of sofas facing each other. Lighting was dim.
The staff of this place need a special mention. Some of them seem to walk out of a 70’s movie. They have been in the same job of waiting tables for decades, have got bored enough & that shows on their face every moment, appear at the tables like robots without any facial expression & at times frown if too many questions are asked. The uniform has quite a ‘Nawabi Khansama’ look. The relatively younger Manager who I guess was the only person in suit, was also quite serious faced. He was continuing to speak to me in English even though I was speaking in Bengali. It was then that I did what I do best – mentally poke. I striked a conversation on ‘what is popular her / what is legendary her, I have come from far to eat here/ what is ‘mash-hoor’ (famous) here etc & within 3 -4 sentences each, the customer – server barrier fell apart. We were talking to each other as two human beings & the interaction was excellent since then for the rest of our stay.
The food is surely very good in isolation but as compared to others, this one takes a beating – Straight away from Arsalan Park Circus & surely from Aafreen, Metiabruz. We were unlucky to get stale meat in one of the dishes, very happy to get a replacement after we reported the same & even more disappointed when the replacement turned out to b stale as well.
However, inspite of that, people throng to this place in thousands, more due to emotional reasons than pure culinary ones.
This is a late add to YUMMRAJ’s series called TIMELESS KOLKATA EATOUTS – reviews of Heritage Kolkata restaurants. Each restaurant has been rated as ‘Old is Gold’ or ‘Old is no more Gold’ based on the experience.
Year/decade of opening- Around Independence.
YUMMRAJ Demystifies the Legend of Peter Cat & maintains OLD IS GOLD
In a nutshell:
A retro restaurant (not by design but coz they never changed with time) with a great ambience, old school staff, good food for the prices that they charge but nowhere as good compared to the ’real thing’- be it European or Persian.
Peter Cat has been around for decades & that speaks a lot – Restaurants open very often & close down almost as often. The ones who survive the test of time surely have something good / unique to offer.
The décor as I mentioned above is retro in today’s context – red sofas facing each other & nice lamp shades above each table. The lighting is dim overall but the lamps on each table illuminate the table good enough to see each other, have a good chat & enjoy some good food. There are two floors & the way to top floor is as grand as it can get.
Waiting staff look Grand as well, with their sherwani suits, flamboyant headgear & pointed shoes. Most of them are however quite Old School – smooth talking, knowledgeable, not overtly attentive but attentive as well, not quite warm, talks with an air of authority interspersed with some rare smiles & I guess quite bored of doing the same job for donkey’s years…… & that shows on their face. U will enjoy the evening if u think this to b a part of the package – dining at a retro restaurant & being served by people who r enacting the past:)
The food is good in general & at the prices that the food is offered, I wud say some are excellent. However, if u compare the non- Indian dishes to the original dishes the way they r, then u might b quite disappointed.
YUMMRAJ shifts the crown of ‘Best Biryani in Kolkata’ from Arsalan after eating for the second time at Aafreen. Arsalan is now ‘Best Mutton Biryani in Kolkata’. This shift is purely on the basis of taste – not anything else.
Crispy Layered laccha parathas, super tasty subtle rezala , fiery looking bhuna that is very tasty & yet not half as fiery as it looks, a grainy & robust tasting Chhap, a subtle burhani to cool all this & the showstopper – As I write, I am salivating just at the thought of the biryani, even a week after munching it……… soft, melt in the mouth rice, not dry but not very greasy as well & unbelievably tender & tasty meat.
Detailed Description – In case u have the time to enjoy reading: