Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Swissotel Date ~ The Durbari Quest...

"THE wavering squint....
The dawdling cinch....
The bewildering perception...
The mesmeric miscellany!

The spirit of wondrous joy...
The alchemy of zest...
The unblemished elucidation...
The vibe of alluring propensity.

When 'craving' takes control...
The quiddity of inner-emptiness surfaces...
The 'grains of gratification' enthralls...
And the cutlery makes it's sweetest rhyme.

The wallop-hunt sustains...
Endearing the troupe of bumblebees...
The logical 'influx' follows...
Gorging along through the high's & the lows." - The Foodie Confession.

"Aye! How many times have you been to the Swissotel of late?"- My 'meddlesome' neighbor poked. It was a Monday morning my friend and I was already late for the client meeting. She has this uncanny knack of darting in those queries at precisely the wrong time.
"How did you know?" - My obvious question followed, extremely preoccupied to say the least.

"Obviously your tweets and foursquare check-ins, I have been keenly following the Kolkata Food Bloggers ' Facebook page of late. I do get to see all the recent updates; but you didn't answer my question" - She had that trenchant look on her face. Her question, by the way, was pretty derisive. And believe me, she is not the first person...of late, I have been facing a number of such inquiries over the different social networking platforms, the subject being pretty much the same- My connection with food.

"I have been there thrice, and yes I was there yesterday as well" - I calmly replied. I could sense the rising Mercury, this neighbor of mine is a big time foodie and an annotator at the same time. I could actually visualize myself being bombarded with an array of interrogatory remarks, but then it was good in one way- I had an opportunity to share the "first draft" of my envisaged review with someone who's equally passion about food. The very obvious question followed.

"So was it a casual meet or a part of the review program-me?"- She asked, as I patiently waited for the client call. The weather forecast wasn't promising enough and with the arrival of the first few 'droplets', the meeting was cancelled. I had almost an entire hour to chat with my 'hedonist' neighbor; not that I complained.

"Both, food reviews are always fun...especially when it's at the Swissotel, we get a chance to re-unite, discuss and of course gorge without 'contingency'. This time it was bigger and better; with the re-launch of the Sunday Brunch at the Durbari it was a perfect mode of gratification for the food-apostles" - I was pretty much relaxed by then, the prospect of a 'washed out' client meeting had rejuvenated by 'drenched' soul. And once I'm in the flow, it's difficult to get a stranglehold for sure. She was slowly driving me to the edge.

"Oh well. The hangover seems to be pretty pronounced, tell me more. Did you enjoy the overall decor and the hospitality to start off with?" - I knew this was coming. She has almost set up a virtual cafeteria in her own backyard, she is super-sensitive in this respect. I remember one of her key statements- "If I get a negative vibe out of the color scheme or the decor, I won't ever dine in there". True that.

"Rach! Come on, this is perhaps one of my best experiences in terms of dining in the perfect 'atmosphere', the well-lit up private space with the soothing background score in perfect sync with the ambiance did wonders to the foodie-psyche. And you are right, the overall 'setting' does matter in setting up a tone for the perfect dining experience. The hospitality, like always has been grand, they treat all of their guests with utmost care". - Ah, you got me fellas, I was deep into the flow. I do analyse the surroundings pretty well before I decide to settle in. Durbari has been a revelation in that respect. I could sense the vibe right from the point of entry, and I bet that the fellow bloggers Kamalika, Amrita, Anwesha, Sayantani, Pritha and Archita would definitely concur.

"Ok! Relax, before you start making my stories, let me ask you very specific questions and please make sure that the responses are to-the-point"- LOL. She had realized her mistake of getting into the 'loop', it's a luscious loop of death, once you step into it, there's absolutely no dodging.

"Haha, I don't believe in a conditional approach, but of course, when it comes to food I do prefer the mode of precision. I'll try my best"- I assured, I couldn't believe that I was actually being interviewed. I was amused seeing the interest level of the interrogator.

"Name the one dish that stole the show, and one feature of the dish that grabbed your attention" - The rapid-fire round began...

The Swissotel Date: Relaunch of the Durbari Sunday Brunch- The Gondhoraj Mahi Tikka....
The Swissotel Date: Relaunch of the Durbari Sunday Brunch- Gondhoraj Mahi Tikka....
"The Gondhoraj Mahi Tikka for sure, I simply loved the way the broiled Bhetki melted in my mouth, the spirit of 'gondhoraj lebu' added a different angle to the flavor altogether. For that matter of fact the 'colour that was brought to table' was simply charming; I always that this thing for a tinge of green. The Dahi Kebabs served alongside was equally deli-sh."- I tried to be precise, but then, I was lying....being 'to the point' with 'food-talk' is simply not my type. The interviewer didn't interrupt though.

The Swissotel Date: Relaunch of the Durbari Sunday Brunch- The Luscious Dahi Kebabs
The Swissotel Date: Relaunch of the Durbari Sunday Brunch- The Luscious Dahi Kebabs
"Alright, I can visualize already, sounds like eye-gasmic. But tell me something- did you taste something exceptional? I mean something new, something for the very first time?" - Hell yeah, she was speaking like a true aficionado, the radiance in her eyes did compliment her glowing refinement. The nerd was suddenly making sense.

"Boy oh Boy! I can't believe you actually asked that. Yeaas! An early declaration of the man-of-the-match follows- Put your hands together for the 'ingenious' chef who conceptualized the Naazaa, the delightful blend of a naan and a pizza presented to us with a savory coating of butter chicken and molten cheese; dude, you deserve a standing applause. We talk a lot about thin crust pizzas in recent times, I bet this cuisine, with it's embedded diversity might just transmit shock-waves to the Dominos or the Pizza Hut lovers. Loved the cheesy dips that were served to us along-side the starters; all of them paired pretty well with the food" - I squelched. To hell with precision my friend, the level of satisfaction attached to a whole-hear-ted vivid gourmet analysis is simply unmatched. And that was what I was precisely doing, venting out my thoughts and 'interpretations'. Promising eh?

The Swissotel Date: Relaunch of the Durbari Sunday Brunch- The innovative Naazaa..
The Swissotel Date: Relaunch of the Durbari Sunday Brunch- The innovative Naazaa..
"Mindblowing. Awesome. And that's it? Anything else for the starters?" - I could sense restlessness in her voice. She was on a virtual tour already, and I wasn't even half-way through.

"Slow down buddy. I haven't mentioned anything about the Murgh Balai Kebabs yet. The obvious question would be why such a twist in the name, and answer is simple...it's wishful thinking, Malai kebab is pretty 'mainstream'. The inclusion of pomegranate along with onions and cheese in the stuffing, did add appeal to the taste buds; however the Naazaa had already set it's tone by then. I liked the texture of this dish, rough on the surface and creamy inside...that's a man-like trait nevertheless. Tee hee" - The food-mood was pretty much set and we were supposed to do a SWOT analysis in office in the afternoon. Damn it ...!

The Swissotel Date: Relaunch of the Durbari Sunday Brunch- The Murgh Balai Kebabs...
"I have to rush, now I need a rapid fire round myself...shoot fast" - I broke her trance with a shimmy, she was lost in her world of comestible assets...I do remember that she had mentioned in a community round-table that she wanted to preserve all of those peculiar cuisines in her own 'museum'. I won't be surprised if she had already started 'romanticizing' with food once again.

"Ok. Relax. I'm going to head over to the 'main course' of discussion now. Quickly name them and specify your 'pick of the day' as well." - She quickly recovered herself, one thing is for sure.... she won't miss out on even a single bit of detail.

"Before I re-start, let me tell you, the Durbari food is an absolute all-rounder both in taste and in restoring the 'health-quotient' with the moderate application of spices, it's imperative that you consume the right kind of food on a Sunday afternoon because sets the intonation for the up-coming busy week. I'm glad that Swissotel doesn't compromise in this aspect" -  I paused for a while, trying to gauge the impact of my words, I failed and I resumed - "So, coming back to the itineraries of the Durbari main course menu, it kick-started with the tomato and gosht shorba (soup) followed by the veggie delights Zafrani Paneer Tikka (yummy), Dalcha Kebab (kinda average) and the non-veggie counterparts Sarso Mahi Tikka (piquant) & the Achari Murgh Tikka (middling). It goes without saying that the scrumptious starters had already driven us to the 'threshold of consumption levels', yet we tried our best to make most of the opportunity that comes once in a while...especially with such a delightful spread on offer. My all time favorite (Ever) Green peas pulao followed and it paired perfectly with the Dal Durbari, a signature Durbari offering. The rich buffet offerings consisting of Aloo Dhaniawala, Palak Paneer, Diwani Handi, Ajwaini Fish Curry, Methi Murg added to the zest factor, with a special mention to the Kumbh do pyaza for it's 'hadke' nudge. It's been a very pleasing experience to say the least"- I almost dictated in exultation. The 'stage' was all mine.

The Swissotel Date: Relaunch of the Durbari Sunday Brunch- The Zafrani Paneer Tikka...
The Swissotel Date: Relaunch of the Durbari Sunday Brunch- The Murgh Achari Kebabs..
The Swissotel Date: Relaunch of the Durbari Sunday Brunch- Of course, 'fit for a king'
The Swissotel Date: Relaunch of the Durbari Sunday Brunch- The savory ride that is...
"Oh! Fatafati."- The touch of ecstasy in her reverberating voice as she interrupted my flow.

"Wait ya! Let me complete. You'd always need a pinch hitter who could end the match on a high and here you go- the extremely fluffy & delicious Swiss Cheese Naan was tailor-made to script a happy ending to what has been a royal treat of sorts. The KFB team literally went Gaga under the impact of this penultimate blow, not to forget that the desserts counter was still left un-attended" - Did I sound a touch dramatic? It's been a regal affair for sure.

"Oh yes. I was about to come to that. I believe that the dessert counter is quite like a flag-bearer and since the last impression is something that holds good, it's almost obligatory that the spread matches up to the their own standards. What's your take on this?" - That again, made sense. I'd actually check out the dessert counter even before I had started off with the meal. Take that.

The Swissotel Date: Relaunch of the Durbari Sunday Brunch- And food is pretty photogenic.
"I'm pretty much on the same page; and I'm impressed with the fact that they didn't overdo it. It's almost like a sensible approach when you see that there's a balance in terms of the variety offered and the quality that's being served at the same time. It did need an illustrious dessert-dollop and full marks for adding the touch of sensibility to it. The inclusion of fresh seasonal fruits is a master-plan and of course the rich assortment of mini cakes, tiramisu's, kiwi-topped pastries did draw our attention. The old-good rabri was yet again the stand out performer in the lot. *Tummy khush to hum bhi khush*" - I quickly summed it up as the deliverable reminder flashed on my mobile-phone. It was a precautionary 'wake up' call for sure.

The Swissotel Date: Relaunch of the Durbari Sunday Brunch- The traditional dahi vada..
"I have to rush now, but then thanks for this Q&A session...I have already decided on a new format for the review posts on my blog"- I smirked. The downpour had almost stopped by then.

"Hello!! Baaki sab to theek hai...what about the price aspect? Seems like spending half of my salary out there" - For the first time in the entire series of conversation, she sounded agnostic. But the query was quite a relevant one, considering my illustrious delineation.

"Hehe. No worries, it's a mere INR 1000 plus taxes per head. Buh Bye :D"- And I rushed out. I wish I could have waited to see her expression at that point of time. Never-mind, that's parked for some other day for sure ;) 

The Swissotel Date: Relaunch of the Durbari Sunday Brunch- The dessert counter....
The Swissotel Date: Relaunch of the Durbari Sunday Brunch- The Kiwi-topped cakes....
The Swissotel Date: Relaunch of the Durbari Sunday Brunch- Diversity in the servings...
The Swissotel Date: Relaunch of the Durbari Sunday Brunch- The good-old  Mihidana.
The Swissotel Date: Relaunch of the Durbari Sunday Brunch- The traditional Kalo-Jaam

- Mandatory Rating time:
Venue:  Durbari, Swissotel Kolkata
Location: City Center New Town, Action Area 2D | Plot No. 11/5, Rajarhat, Kolkata 700157, India
Genre: Mixed bag, serves North IndianKashmiriRajasthaniBiryaniBengaliHyderabadi
Specialty offer: The all new Sunday brunch with customized dynamic menu every Sunday.
Restaurant timings: Durbari is open from Tuesday to Sunday between 1900 hrs to 2300 hrs, the lunch hours commence from 12:30 hrs on the weekends. Mondays are closed.
Type: Non-Vegetarian
Food quality: Excellent- 9/10 , Variety- 8/10, Presentation- 8/10
Foodie Picks: 1. Gondhoraj Mahi Tikka, 2. Naazaa 3. Swiss Cheese Naan.
Desserts: The traditional rabri.
Price range: Very affordable. Costs INR 1000/- plus taxes per head.
Service and hospitality: Excellent 8.5/10
Ambiance: Fantastic...very well decorated and all the counters are extremely well lit up - 9/10
Analysis: With the significant "all-round performance", I would assert that it is highly recommended for all the food-lovers across the country, I'm coming back soon enough for sure.

* Thanks to Swissotel Kolkata for inviting the gang of food bloggers yet again, the review, however, is an unbiased one.
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