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Waldorf serves up on a different table

Time to pick up those chopsticks, once again, for Waldorf is back. And just in time for its 50th birthday.

Though at a different address, loyalists can dig into the Chinese fare served up by one of the city’s oldest and most famous dining destinations. The restaurant was forced to shut down after being evicted from its Park Street address, but it has resurfaced just down the road, and off Park Street at 13D, Russell Street.

It will be officially relaunched on July 1, which is believed to be the eatery’s golden jubilee. Started by three Chinese men on July 1, 1953, it was left to the care of one of the partners, E.C. Wong. It has claimed illustrious clientele — besides hordes of foodies from across the city — Bidhan Chandra Roy, Raj Kapoor, Jyoti Basu...

After the ageing Wong hung up his chef’s hat in favour of the sun and sand of Honolulu, one of his 11 children, H.W Wong, took over, with the help of his friends, including Charles Mantosh, owner of Moulin Rouge, Magnolia and Floriana. Now the restaurant is owned by Mantosh’s Sutton Seeds India.

Waldorf has, since Tuesday, opened at the space adjacent to Floriana, where the Rajnigandha used to be. The budget bar has shifted to the mezzanine floor above, so that none of the business is lost. Though the ambience — with bare ply-board ceiling and plaster walls — cannot compare to that of the well-appointed Waldorf of old, it is something to keep clients hooked.

“On Tuesday, many of our regulars dropped by for lunch. News had got round through word of mouth,” says U.K. Ghoshal, manager, Waldorf. Though they have received some complaints that the new premises is “cramped” — seating 70 as opposed to the 120 at Park Street — they were happy to have it back. A placard sits on every table, which reads: “We have shifted temporarily to Russell Street and we will appreciate your patronage of one of the oldest and premier Chinese Restaurant of Kolkata.”

Soon, the trademark “Duck Festival” or “Crab Festival” banners will flutter at the new doorway, open from 11 am to 11 pm, seven days a week. “We have kept the menu the same to let our customers know that Waldorf is back,” adds Ghoshal. But a revamp of the menu will follow, as well as the “temporary” location.

The management will dress up the Spartan setting, and, at the same time, be on the lookout for a more spacious situation in the vicinity.

Waldorf had been served an eviction notice by landlord Magma Leasing on April 1 and a brick wall had been put up, sealing off the Park Street entrance. Subsequently, Calcutta High Court issued a stay order, preventing any change in “nature and character” of the existing premises. The Supreme Court rejected an application for an injunction on the stay.

The case is still pending before the high court.

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