‘MAGNIFICENT’ – The only adjective that does justice to this place. ‘The Palms’ stands imposingly on Southern Avenue, near rashbehari more. One can reach this place, by taking the metro and disembarking at Kalighat Metro Station; or by taking a bus that traverses through southern avenue and getting off at southern avenue – rashbehari crossing. I was invited for dinner, along with a group of foodies, for a Food Bloggers Meet at this grand restaurant.
‘The Palms’, which gets its name from the one of the renowned hotels of Digha, ‘The Palms Resort’, is located on the first floor; and as I entered, a dramatically lit staircase invited me. After walking up, I walked into the restaurant arena and was awestruck by its lavishness. The owner, Pridarshini Dey, is a woman of many talents; apart from being a gracious host, a wonderful person and one of the youngest successful restaurant owners in the city, she is also a marvelous interior designer. The elaborate and sumptuous interiors are all her creations. The moment I entered, my eyes were greeted with a gorgeous looking mini-fountain. A small white marble fountain upon a bed of pebbles, encircled by small plants, with a background of a black colored stone chipped wall, is awe-inspiring. Each of the walls is intricately and painstakingly done and looks ravishing. An elaborately ornamented false ceiling with modernized lighting gives the place a subtle and yet sophisticated glamor. The sitting area can accommodate about 70 odd people; it’s spacious and well-organized with white and black colored luxurious and comfortable sofas, white table cloth with blue or red colored cloth added for decoration. Everything about this place is grand, luxurious, magnificent, and once I started eating, definitely delicious.
Once I entered, I was immediately welcomed by the manager Shahrukh, and directed to my seat. Before I delve into the details of the food, a special mention needs to be made of our server of the evening, Abdul Imran; he was attentive, courteous and basically a delight. The Plams is primarily a multi-cuisine restaurant which serves both North Indian and Oriental Cuisine (do not expect everyday Chinese). We started off with a few mocktails. First Fruit Punch, Pink Island, Heaven’s Calling, Pineapple Blossom arrived. Fruit Punch was light pinkish in color and consisted mainly of ice cream. It was sweet and came in an asymmetrical glass, it tasted nice. Pink Island was a rosy looking, fizzy drink, and came with lots of ice in an interesting looking glass. It tasted delicious. Heaven’s calling was a greenish fizzy drink, and came with lots of ice. This tasted slightly bland. Pineapple Blossom was a whitish-greenish creamy drink with mild pineapple flavor. This tasted good.
After the first round of mocktails, we started our dinner with an exquisite seafood clear soup with prawn dumplings. The soup arrived with spring onion garnish, and had lots of prawn dumplings. The dumplings had very thin coating with healthy quantity of minced prawn; they were fresh and tasted delicious. I loved the soup. Then Prawn Tempura and Crispy Chilly Squid arrived. Tempura is a Japanese dish of seafood or vegetables that have been battered and deep fried. The Prawn Tempura dish had 5 pieces of medium sized prawn deep fried in tempura batter; it came with three types of garnish. It’s tempura batter coating was just right, inside the prawn was juicy and luckily there wasn’t oily at all. It tasted delectable. The crispy chilly squid was a surprise. From beforehand Pryadarshini had told us that this dish wouldn’t be the run-of the-mill squid fried and tossed in chillies and sauces; rather the squid was to be fried in oat flakes and the chilies were Thai chilies which are primarily sweet in taste. This was definitely something very new, and interesting. It came with two kinds of sauces, primarily chilly based. From the first bite itself, I fell in love with this dish because of its novelty and subtle taste.
Then we choose to have the North-Indian Starters: Makhani Karahi Kabab, Murgh Banjara Kabab, Mahi Kolibara Kabab, Mahi Pahari Kabab. Before I write more about the starters, I must, must say; the starters were all mind blowing. I literally couldn’t make up my mind, as to which one was the best. All the kababs platters had eight big pieces and came with some salad consisting of bell pepper and onions, & two yummy dips. Makhani Karahi was a reddish chicken kabab; it was quite spicy and hot. I loved it. Then the whitish looking Murgh Banjara Kabab came. It was fresh, it was delicious, and it was mouthwatering. The Mahi Kolabari is a Pomfret Fish based kabab; and with the first bite I was transported to another world. Mahi Pahari kabab was a greenish looking Bhetki Fish based Kabab. I loved both the fish kababs, the quality of fish was commendable; and the kababs were really soft and juicy.
After literally licking my fingers for any residue of the kababs, we moved on to the North Indian main course. It arrived with an Assorted Bread Basket and Hyderabadi Dum Biryani. Assorted Bread Basket had cheese garlic naan, keema naan and lacha paratha. I thought that the flavor of the keema nun wasn’t very prominent, apart from that all the breads were well made and tasted delicious. The Hyderabadi Biryani , was a mutton biryani and came with complimentary raita. It was a good, but I found it to be slightly pricy. We had two vegetarian main course items: Maharaja Kofta and Jaipuri Malai Kofta and four non-vegetarian main course items: Nawabi Ghost, Murgh Lahori, Fish Hyderabadi, Lehsooni Jhinga. I generally tend to feel very stuffed after having north-indian food and many-a-times the overtly spicy dishes do not agree with me. But at Palms, even though many of the north-indian dishes were pretty spicy, none of the dishes made me feel overly heavy or sick afterwards, probably because the spices that were used were of great quality. Maharaja Kofta had greenish-reddish gravy and the koftas were made of minced veggies and paneer. Even from afar; this dish looked very alluring with the koftas beautifully arranged with cherry as garnish. This dish was spicy, and tasted mind blowing. The Jaipuri Malai Kofta had white gravy with the koftas primarily made of cashews and paneer; it was sweetish and was garnish with cherries. This was one of the best main courses of the evening. It was creamy, it was subtle, it was wow. While I have a predilection towards non-veg food, these veg dishes totally won my heart. Both the koftas were soft and so, so, so delectable.
The Nawabi Gosht, a mutton based dish, was the best of the non-veg min courses. It had light yellowish-reddish gravy; the mutton was soft, juicy and well marinated; its flavor was overwhelming. This dish was creamy, the soft mutton melted in my mouth and it tasted stupendous. Murgh Lahori, a common street food of Lahore, was a greenish colored, chicken based dish. This was rich, creamy and tasted nice. Fish Hyderabadi, had green colored gravy with some well marinated, fresh, juicy bhetki fish. Being a fish lover, I quite liked this dish. Lehsooni Jhinga, orange colored garlic based curry of prawn. This tasted nice; but not exceptional.
In the meanwhile, the second round of moctails came: Strawberry Blossom, Fresh Lime Soda, Deep Sea and Cinderella. Strawberry Blossom was a thick magenta colored drink with lots of cream. It tasted sweet and delectable. The fresh lime soda was let down, because the lemon didn’t taste ever good. The deep sea was the best drink of the evening. It was an aampanna-jaljeera based dark green colored drink. It was slightly fizzy and tasted yummy. Final drink of the evening was Cinderella; it was an interesting lemon based drink orange colored at the bottom and yellow on the top.
Soon after, the oriental main course arrived; Thai Red Curry(chicken), Thai Green Curry(veg), Kung Pao Chicken, Steamed Fish Fillet in Black Bean Sauce, Chicken Pot Rice with Glass Noodles. This arrived with vinegar dipped Cucumber and Carrot. The Thai curries arrived with some steamed rice, and while both of them were quite delectable, I would have loved them more, had they been a little creamier. Then we moved on to the chicken pot rice, with glass noodle. Firstly, it came in a very pretty looking white pot. Even from afar, it arrested my attention. It came with big chunks of mushroom, carrot and chicken; and with the first bite I was totally mesmerized. I loved this dish, and probably at the most among all my friends. The cashew & soya sauce based Kung Pao Chicken was pretty delicious, and had loads of bell pepper. The steamed fish fillet in black bean sauce was palatable. The primary ingredient, Basa fish was fresh, juicy and of great quality. Since I’m a Bengali, and fish holds a very special place in my heart, so I may be biased; but I totally loved this dish. The combination of Black Bean Sauce and Basa Fish was delectable.
Since I’m a sweet-lover, I always have a special place in my stomach for desserts. As soon as the desserts arrived, while my friends were still quite overwhelmed from main course; I started devouring them immediately. First, the Gajar Ka Halwa came, it looked very enticing. It was very little sweet; that is great because most people are conscious about their sugar intake these days. But I found it be bland and lacking any flavors. Then the Sizzling Brownie with Chocolate Sauce came. It had a beautiful decoration, with a sizzling hot brownie at the bottom, followed by a scoop of vanilla ice cream, then a cherry on the top, and when it came to our table our server sprinkled lots of chocolate sauce; it looked very alluring and with the first bite I was enamored of it. The brownie was fresh, and the dish in entirety tasted awesome. Then Apple Toffee with Sesame came, it looked like an interesting dish. While I was initially skeptical about it, because it consisted of some apple chunks deep fried with flour coating and served with a scoop of chocolate ice cream. I found it to different and nice. Finally, Honey Sesame Toss Honey Noodles with Vanilla Ice-cream arrived. It is basically another version of darshan with vanilla ice-cream; with the darshan a little thicker and the ice-cream sprinkled with sesame seeds. This was good.
I had a lovely experience at The Palms. Special Thanks to my friends Shahbaaz Zaman for the invitation, Krishanu Das for the photographs and Priyadarshini Dey for hosting the event. I wholeheartedly wish the The Palms Team the very best for the future!