Sunday, July 18, 2010

Aheli at the AXIS Mall, New Town, Kolkata

I went to this place, with seven other colleagues on a Wednesday, during the lunch hours. For popular choice, we decided to take "Jamai er Raj Bhoj", which is a fixed bengali menu option.

Being lunch time, on a weekday, the restaurant was not even half filled to capacity. Those who were present, were a mix of office executives, as well as casual diners. The ambience was bengali, the restaurant being a speciality restaurant, and the cuisine was good, which was the only thing positive about the restaurant.

At the restaurant, which is at the highest price point, you would assume the service would be excellent. The restaurant severely fails to cater to this objective.

  • There were brass diya's on each table. The waiters never made any attempt to light them in the two tables where we are sitting.
  • There were two 500 ml water bottles for each table, for 4 persons. The waiter made no attempts to fill up the glasses, or ask if anyone would need a re-fill. Also, I would think that sharing a water bottle, can be a trifle humiliating, if someone is from outside bengal, specially clients from overseas
  • We opted for a fixed menu, and the restaurant was not even half-full. We still had to wait for 45 minutes, before any traces of food appeared on the table. This is absolutely unacceptable, specially during the lunch time
  • We opted for a fixed menu, but still I would have expected a menu card, explaining what is available, which I belive was never given to the table.
  • Bengali rice and dal is always accompanied by gandharaj lebu (A variety of lime). They provided a bowl of 3 lime slices, for each table of 4 (weird!!!)

The menu is fixed, and second helpings is available only for rice, and luchi (Poori). Only customization you can make is to select between a chicken or a mutton dish. I could not test some of the items, as they were not something which I eat (or like).

  • Rice - It was good, and was as expected
  • Loochi (Puri) - Good, but service was slow
  • Yellow Dal - Below average
  • Aloo - Jhinge Posto (Potato, and jhinge (Green indian vegetable) tossed in poppy seeds - I don't like jhinge so I had to miss it. My colleagues said it was good
  • Bhetki Mach Bhaja (Bhetki fish fried in batter) - The fish was good. The portion size was microscopic
  • Alur Dom (Spicy Potato in a spicy tomato curry) - Good Quality
  • Chingri Mach er malai curry (Small lobsters in a coconut gravy) - I am not a fan of fish/sea food, but I had to eat this as I had not much choice. The lobster was fresh, but the gravy (my colleagues opinion) was below average
  • Sorshe Ilish (Hilsa Fish, in a pungent mustard curry) - I had to miss this again, but I tasted the gravy. It was average
  • Mutton curry - This was good, and the muttons were tendered to perfection
  • Chutney - It was served in a single bowl for two tables of 8 people. I never noticed this, before I have finished my meal, and have washed my fingers !!!
  • Chamcham (An indian sweet) - Noting worth mentioning

The food can be aptly described by the statement of one of my colleagues. The incredients used are fresh, and of excellent quality. It can sometime be difficult to buy from these from the retail market, as no longer have people have the inclination to scout the market for the freshest of incredients. However, given the same incredients, anyone who is half a cook can prepare a similar, or better meal.

I belive the price is slightly on the higher side (Rs 600+tax per person), given that no customizations can be made on the menu, and the size of each individual portions are small.

Final Verdict
This restaurant is definitely a miss, if you are on a business lunch.
Quality wise, you can get a better meal at 6 Ballygunj Place, Salt Lake, or at Oh Calcutta (If you are willing to pay a much higher price).
Price wise, 6 Ballygunj place is cheaper.
However, it can be a quiet dining place for a couple who can probably spend 2-3 hours without being disturbed