FROM CHOWPATTY TO CALCUTTA - A FIRST LOOK AT A VEGETARIAN CHAIN
Vegetarians can rejoice as one of Mumbai's restaurants has upped shutters in Calcutta. Cream Centre, the 1958 chain, popular in Mumbai's Chowpatty and Oberoi Mall (Goregaon), has opened a 122-cover restaurant at 1 Allenby Road (the lane opposite Forum). Officially open from July 9, the Cream Centre in Calcutta looks as plush as its Mumbai counterpart. The 3,500sq ft restaurant is divided into three sections, with open seating dominating the centre and booth-like alcoves on one side, built to fit in with the thick pillars of the old building. There are also seats near the entrance, partitioned from the reception with lattice pattern screens. The overall effect is a nice cosy feel. "It's a casual dining restaurant so we have TV sets in every section, so that families can come, grab a bite and then head to their destination," said Prasant Menon, director, Green Earth Hospitality Pvt Ltd, franchisees of Cream Centre Calcutta.
Almost everything in Cream Centre is super-sized. The Iced Tea comes in a glass that seems to extend from elbow to palm and The Big Nachos is, well, big. "The Original Channa Bhatura", with a trademarked secret recipe, fashioned by the late owner Ramesh Chona, includes a king-size bhatura and the original masala pre-packaged from Mumbai. These last two items, along with the American Corn Cheese Balls, are the restaurant's best-sellers. Some of the dishes can also be whipped up as per Jain kitchen rules.
Like the restaurant's name suggests, the best dishes in Cream Centre are the creamiest and the cheesiest - from the American Corn Cheese Balls to Macaroni Magic. While the crunchy cheese ball is full of dripping melted cheese, the latter is prepared with mushroom and a creamy sauce - definitely not for those counting their calories! If you're up for Indian, try the Tandoori Paneer Tikka, the thin-crust pizza or the Bambaiya Ragda, a plate of hot aloo tikkis served with spicy dried peas (the Mumbai version of good ol' ghugni).
Full already? Don't leave without several spoonfuls of the Sizzling Brownie. A meal for two would cost around Rs 600 (all inclusive).
Aromas, Kenilworth Hotel.
July 21 to August 20.
On the menu:
Tuck into Ilish Tok Jhal, cooked in tamarind paste and mustard or Sabuj Ilish, made with spinach and mint leaves. Else try Bengali classics like the Ilish Maachher Paturi, Doi Ilish and Begun Diye Ilish. Prefer boneless? There's Smoked Hilsa too.
Meal for two:
Rs 1,200 (taxes extra).
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