Monday, 18 June 2012

Time-out at The Blue Poppy

People eat to live, but, we-the Bongs, live to eat.

And, of course, I am not an exception. When I was in Bhubaneswar, within a span of 3 and half years of my stay, I had visited more restaurants than perhaps a normal localite who had been living there since his birth would have done. Right from lavish Mayfair or Trident to obscure roadside hotels on Cuttack Road, we- me and my wife, missed nothing.

And Kolkata has been a favourite place of ours, notwithstanding all the negatives it has accrued over the years, with Food being one of the major factors. No matter how much you scold the system and government in the daytime, a Chelo Kebab at the Peter Cat on Park Street, can instantly make you soothened up. And, at the end of the day, like all Bongs, I land up saying " ভাই, কলকাতার মত জায়গা হয় না "( Boss, there cant be anything like Kolkata).

The Kothay platter with red Naga Chilli
 And, yes, we keep on hunting. Like a traveller always carrying his maps, we carry our Food Guides.

And, one day, while roaming around the City Center at Salt Lake, we came across the board- Blue Poppy, inside the Gorkha Bhavan building. Unsure, still, of whether to go inside or not, we looked at each other's face, and then we found ourselves creeping inside the gate. Not that, the name had anything to appeal us, but that "smell", the smell a seasoned hunter gets when the prey is nearby... :)

                                                                                                      And, we have a setback at the start. It seemed we have entered inside a Sarkari Circuit House. No trace of any restaurants whatsoever, we were puzzled. The problem with a seasoned hunter is that just like he has many famous preys to his biodata, the list of misses are also quite too many. We asked an apparantly Nepali watchman about "Blue Poppy" and he immediately pointed out to a room inside the big hall, which from distance, looked nothing more than a subsidized canteen. Let this be another flop story, we told ourselves, and went inside.

Aha, lots of Mongolian faces in a crampy sitout arrangement with seemingly no luxury. Just when, the mood was about to get dampened, a smiling Boy came forward and showed us our table. And then, with good hospitality, he brought the menu. And this is where our story starts.

Interesting, to the core, the menu had cuisines all across the Himalayas- Nepalese, Bhutanese, Tibetian, Chinese.

There were quite a few stuff in the menu which we hardly understood (yes, in spite of our so called well maintained biodata)- kothay,(not pronounced as the Bengali where, but), phalay, phaktu to just name a few. Start cautiously, we told ourselves, remembering the mishaps which had occurred in the past. Safe bet to start with was under the Tibetian cuisine- the tried and “tasted”  Momos J
We absolutely love momos. The menu offered a large variety of momos from steamed to pan-fried. But we decided to try out Chicken Kothay as a starter- relieved to get the first clarification on those alien names- Kothay is a kind of Momo. It’s a kind of steamed momo that is fried on one side. One bite into it and my mouth was filled with a mix of  crunchy and juicy flavors. We immediately knew that this is going to be an experience to savor.
Courage and taste, both getting a booster by now, we ordered without knowing anything, a Pork Phalay- again a Tibetian starter. It had a resemblance in appearance with the Bengali sweet dish - called “Pati Shapta” .From inside it was  completely unique. Minced pieces of pork and onions retained the steamed texture whearas the outer coating of flour was crunchy fried.

The Phalay is at the far end

Things were going more than our expectation. Time for the main course came and we intended to keep on the experiment- this time by mixing the flavours of two neighbouring(and sometimes fighting as well) nations- Tibet and China!!(Hey, a nice gesture from two Innocent Indians, are the UN guys reading my blog?? ;) ). We ordered another Pork variant- Pork Shapta, which is, as we later found out, a Tibetian version(and a better one) of the Chinese Chilly Pork. For the second main course, we went for the Chinese Fish in Hot Garlic Sauce. Tell you what, guys, their Hot means really “HOT” and if you are one of those Bongs accustomed with having four teaspoons of sugar in your Chholar Daal, this restaurant is not for you.  We needed some rice now, and without banging our heads too much, went for the evergreen Garlic Chicken Fried Rice.
Great would be an understatement to what we had at Blue Poppy!!! It surprised us like anything. Even more than what Netherlands have got from Denmark in their Euro 2012 group match. It is worth a visit for all those who try to taste something different and unique in Kolkata at a very reasonable rate.
Summary of Blue Poppy:
Cuisines: Tibetian, Chinese, Nepalese and Bhutanese.
Preparation: Spicy and Hot with quite substantial use of Red Hot Naga Chillies(if you want a milder Chilly, you may specify that while placing the order).
Service: Very courteous and prompt.
Ambience: No nonsense, no frills.
Price: Very reasonable.
Value for Money: 100%.
Dishes to look forward to:  Kothay, Momos, Phaktu, Shapta, Thupka, Nepalese Thali.
What I recommend: Don’t miss Blue Poppy ever!! It might surprise you big time.

1 comment:

  1. try not being so racist? "...Aha, lots of Mongolian faces .... " unnecessary.