Walk into Cal 27, the newest all-day diner at Taj Bengal (the pin code of the hotel is 700027 and therefore the name) and you will feel as you’ve stepped into the courtyard of an old North Calcutta Rajbari/Jamidar Bari. From the chequered marble floors to the green ‘khorkhori janala’, one can clearly see where the designer was inspired from while conceptualizing the interiors. And for someone like me who is obsessed with old Calcutta and old Calcutta houses, that is the first thing that made me fall in love with the place that replaced another favorite, The Hub.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets aside, the highlights of Cal 27’s menu are the Taj Autograph Collection (signature dishes from Taj properties across the world), Taste of Calcutta (Calcutta specials like Singara, Maccher Jhol etc), Comfort Food (all-time favorites like Khichri, Butter Chicken etc) and Classic Grills. Plus, beverages, mocktails and cocktails (try the signature cocktail, Cal 27, a refreshing mix of rum, gondhoraj lemon and sugarcane juice), salads and sandwiches, burgers, pizza/pasta/risotto and desserts (Chilli Chocolate Parfait is a must-have).
Cal 27 Buffet
The Cal 27 buffet is a lavish affair! The buffet station is located right in the middle of the restaurant and you can spot a wide variety of salads, cold cuts, soups, breads, pizzas, pastas, main course dishes, desserts and fresh fruits. From Indian to Asian, European and Mediterranean, the options are limitless. I went on a Saturday for lunch and filled my plate with grilled fish, tenderloin terrine, Milano salami, sausages, succulent kababs, biryani, honey glazed pork belly and a brilliant orange and chocolate pudding.
I am a dessert freak and I judge the quality of a good buffet by the number of desserts it has. The Cal 27 buffet has an endless variety. From tiramisu to cheese cake to pudding to tarts, fresh fruit and ice cream, they have it all. One day, I’m just gonna forget about the calories and go to Cal 27 only to eat the desserts in the buffet spread. Yes, they are that good!
Buffet Pocket Pinch
- Everyday Breakfast (7 am to 10.30 am) – Rs 850+
- Weekday Lunch (12.30 pm to 3 pm) – Rs 1550+
- Weekday Dinner (7 pm to 10.30 p.m) – Rs 1650+
- Saturday Lunch (1 pm to 3.30 pm) – Rs 1750+ (with unlimited beer)
- Sunday Brunch (1 pm to 3.30 pm) – Rs 2150+ (with sparkling wine)
- Sunday Brunch (1 pm to 3.30 pm) – Rs 2950+ (with champagne)
- Child Buffet (Saturday and Sunday Lunch) – Rs 1200+
Taj Autograph Collection
The best part of the Cal 27 menu for me is definitely the Taj Autograph Collection. Sitting in Kolkata, you can sample the best dishes from some of the most iconic Taj properties across the world. Five dishes make up the Autograph collection.
Fish & Chips from St. James Court, London – Calcutta bhekti deep fried in a beer batter and served with peas, tartare sauce, french fries and malt vinegar. Most restaurants mess up with Fish & Chips. Either the batter is not crispy or the fish is not tender enough but what is served in Cal 27 is just perfect. Moist, tender fish fillets wrapped in a light crispy beer batter. So British!
Vegetable/Fish Exotica from Taj Exotica, Maldives – Fish exotica is fish and shrimp coconut curry served with rice, salad and crispy shallots. A spoonful of this curry will transport you straight to the white sands and clear water beaches of the Maldives!
Vegetarian/Non Vegetarian Lamprais from Taj Samudra, Colombo – Sri Lankan specialty of yellow rice, vegetables or meat curry and egg wrapped and baked in banana leaves served with sambol. This dish is the epitome of comfort food and a distant cousin of the Bengali ‘khichuri’. It is messy and soggy but the taste makes up for it!
Vegetable/Shrimp Nasi Goreng from Vivanta by Taj, Langkawi – Fried rice tossed with shrimps, topped with a fried egg and served with chicken satay and crackers. This fragrant rice dish is the ultimate comfort food for spicy food lovers!
Vegetable/Chicken Bunny Chow from Taj Cape Town – Bunny Chow or Bunny is a South African fast food dish consisting of hollowed-out bread filled with vegetable or chicken curry.
This dish has a very interesting history as I got to know from the internet (geniuskitchen.com). ‘During the Great Depression in 1933, Indians, Whites and Chinese in Durban, South Africa, suffered hunger like everyone else. The kids then discovered that the cheapest curry they could buy (for a quarter penny or half a penny) was made by a vegetarian Indian caste known in Durban slang as the Bania. It was made from dried sugarbeans (no meat). The children didn’t have plates, and one kid got the bright idea to hollow out a quarter bread, asked the seller to put the bean curry in the hollowed-out bread, and then used the broken bread he’s taken out as a sort of eating utensil. Chinese food was called “chow”. Somehow the two words came together: Bania Chow. In time it simply became known as Bunny Chow. Bunny Chow was what the Indian sugar plantation workers took as their day’s food to the lands: curry in hollowed-out bread halves’.
If you look at the menu of Cal 27, you will see that soul food or comfort food makes up the biggest chunk. It is food that you and I are familiar with and love eating. It is food that is not pretentious or claims to be ‘out of the box’ and that to me is the USP of the place. And the reason why I will be heading to Cal 27 pretty frequently.
*I was invited by the management to dine at Cal 27