Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Comparison between Sigree and Abcos, Kolkata

Last week I had lunch in these two restaurants. It was my second visit at Sigree, and I don't remember the count visit to Abcos. Since both of the current visits were treats, I don't remember how much the sponsor had to shell out, but I will try to give my feedback with references to my past visits.

Eating is my hobby and I have been frequenting Kolkata restaurants since I have started earning. Abcos was our idea of an upscale restaurant, till the new restaurants came up in the upcoming malls. Some of the more costly restaurants like Hushh in City Centre, Salt Lake I believe offers value for money: the others, like Sigree I believe is nothing but a money burning machine. For example, in my last visit to Sigree, I had three 60 ml pegs of Teachers - Highland Cream, and although I don't remember how much exactly I paid for them, but I believe it is somewhat close to Rs 1500/- ie almost Rs 500/- per peg.

Anyway, lets forget about the past visits and compare the two restaurants, where I tested similar fares, on two consecutive days.

  • Food Quality
    Both restaurants offer great tasting foods, comparable, atleast to my taste-buds.

  • Ambience
    Sigree scores higher, as there is more breathing room between tables. The table sizes are similar. I didn't find any exiting visual appeal in either, as compared to some other restaurants with great ambience. Sigree is comparatively quiet, but I think that depends on whom I get as fellow diners.

  • Service
    Both restaurants offer good service

  • Price
    Sigree is priced much higher though the marginal utility you get over Abcos does not justify the price

I may go to Sigree once in a while, only if I am with my family, to spend a quiet dinner. 9 times out of 10 however, I would choose Abcos (or Charnok City, or other similar restaurants) for my lunch and dinner needs. If booze is one of the important items, I will definitely avoid Sigree.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Catch me if you can: Movie Review

Name: Catch Me if you can
Year: 2002
Director: Steven Speilberg
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks

This movie made a mark with me because of the undercurrent of love between Frank Abagnale Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks). Frank has a brilliant mind, which he uses to forge checks and and embezzle money masquarading as a Pan Am airline pilot, a doctor and an attorney. Carl on the other hand is a FBI agent specializing on bank frauds and is determined to catch him. To find what happens, you have to watch the movie.

The first part of the movie is characterized by the smartness of Frank, the second part holds us to the edge of the seats as Carl is hot on Frank's trail and the third part is heady with the sublime affection between the detective and the fugitive. A well balanced movie.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Bhojohori Manna, Swimming Pool Area, Salt Lake, Kolkata: Restaurant Review

Bhojohori Manna at Salt Lake, near Salt Lake Swimming pool is a restaurant serving Bengali cuisine. It is a chain with multiple branches in the city, all being served from the same kitchen.
I have visited this restaurant many times, and have enjoyed the quality food. The last visit was on Friday, 9th January, 2008.
I have eaten at two of their franchisee restaurants: at Sector V and at the Swimming pool branch. In both cases the restaurant is cramped, densely populated and no room for a breather. Before the sector 5 branch opened, there would always be a huge wait time to get a seat in this restaurant. Now, in this last visit we got a seat promptly in this restaurant, which is quite a surprise. Leaving this particular visit however, during all other visits we have to wait for a long time, in fact often we have decided to move to a different restaurant as time is precious during a working day.
We had the vegeterian thali along with Mutton Dakbunglow and crab curry. The vegeterian thali is a good option with Rice, dal (lentil soup), shukto (mildly bitter mixed veg curry), alu bhaja (fried shredded potato), polau (flavored rice) and once choice of vegeterian entree. Since there were three of us we selected three separate entrees : Mochar' ghonto (Can't describe this in english) , chana'r kalia (curried cottage-cheese) and dhokar dalna (fried lentil cake,curried). The food was ok but as always I did not like the chanar kalia, the cottege-cheese balls being too soft and too sweet. The mutton dish was okay and the crab too.

The vegeterian options are quite good, specially if you get few chances to taste authentic bengali cuisine.
There is not much options for meat eaters, this restaurant specializes in fish as non-vegeterian entrees. If you like fish, cooked in a traditional bengali way, this is the place to be.
This restaurant serves to the mass, not to the class. Be prepared for long wait-times, cramped space, people brushing around you and below-average courtesey.
The restaurant is fairly priced for its class, except for the fish dishes. Average fish dish costs Rs 120-Rs 150 for 1 piece of fish, which I think is very over-priced. (even for a classy restaurant, which this is not)
The service is prompt as they served pre-cooked food.
A meal for two will cost you around Rs 500/-
The taste is authentic bengali and the chefs are excellent.

Go to this place if you want to taste some of the best bengali fish cuisine available outside a bengali home, and you don't mind 30 min wait for a table and below average service in a cramped room.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Rahmania, FC Block, Saltlake, Kolkata: Restaurant Review

Rahmania at FC Block in Salt Lake is the franchisee of the main Rahmania restaurant. The cricket tournament of our Company was being held at FC Grounds, and 4 of us decided to have our lunch here.

Before venturing out to restaurants like Rahmania, please remember that they lace their food freely with "Hydrogenated vegetable oil" (Vanaspati) and it is very difficult to digest. Though the free use of vanaspati does great to the tastes, they are hard on our digestive system.
I am sure this is an exception, but the meat in mutton biriyani which my friends ordered was rotten. On complaining they changed the food, but the new biriyani was the same. Finally they courteously replaced with Chicken Biriyani, which was OK. I had "Shammi Kabab" (Minced meat mixed with gram flour and fried) which was ok.

A meal for four cost Rs 400 i.e. Rs. 100/- per person.

Taste, Courtesy, Price,
Lack of Quality Control, Use of vanaspati (Hydrogenated vegetable oil), Lack of amenities like place to wash your hand, etc...
My Verdict
I may visit these place sometimes when I am adventurous, looking for a great taste and don't mind the inconvenience of indigestion later.