| A view of the al fresco section at Reflections. Pictures by Rashbehari Das
Reflections, Ffort Raichaks round-the-clock coffee shop, has been given a makeover. With two al fresco areas being included in the previous 62-seater, the seating capacity is now more than double, the menu is new and even the riverview (all 240 feet of it) is improved.
Up the wooden stairs at the fort hotel, the air-conditioned space of Reflections welcomes you. Housed in this 100-cover area are a two-tier buffet station (they say it can house 40 dishes as opposed to the regular 25) and a counter where live kitchen action takes place. A round table of 16 forms the private dining space. The feel of the interiors is organic and relaxed and that was the primary idea, says designer Vivek Rathore. Even the chairs are made of wicker and larger than normal cramped coffee shop chairs. Everything had to be easy, explains Vivek.
If the indoor is easy, outdoor is even easier and that is where the real change has taken place. The adjoining terraces have been converted into al fresco areas (perfectly timed before the Calcutta chill makes an entry-exit). The section (30 covers) overlooking the river on one side and a water body with a boat decked up with seasonal blooms on the other is perfect for romantic day-trippers.
The other al fresco section is for families or larger groups (60 covers). A wrought-iron installation sets the backdrop for a performance stage. We didnt want to do too much. In Reflections, we want people to sit back and enjoy the river while watching its changing lights from dawn to dusk, adds Vivek.
An empty stomach may not be ideal for this plan and this is where we need to turn to the elaborate menu. From a five-page breakfast menu to a range of cheese products along with Indian and international staples, variety clearly wins. The F&B team has studied the ordering pattern of the last two years. This menu reflects customer feedback and is demand-driven, says Manish Pandey, resident manager, Raichak on Ganges.
The illustration on the menu card shows a villager rowing a boat, presumably on the Hooghly, and this sort of reflects the strong focus of local flavours on offer. We have a section called Tribute to Kolkatas Street Food, says executive chef Snehashis Sinha. The other interesting page is The Lazy Bites By The Ganges that offers everything from dim sums to prune and cottage cheese brochettes. Their Melon Arugula Sun-Dried Tomato & Feta Cheese Salad (recipe below) needs special mention. It was outstanding.
Welcome drink (a tangy nimbu paani or a frothy chhaanch)
Half-hour head-shoulder-neck massage at Anaya Spa
Lunch at Reflections (buffet or a la carte, choose from a variety of cuisines)
Laze in the Ffort pool, chill out in the sports bar Footloose or take a boat ride down the Hooghly
Evening chai and cookies
The package is priced at Rs 1,599 per person
Melon Arugula Sun-Dried Tomato & Feta Cheese salad (Serves 4)
Watermelon (8 big dices), Arugula lettuce (50g), Feta cheese (50g), gandharaj lemon (1 whole), toasted pinenuts (10g), sun-dried tomatoes (20g), mustard paste (10g), salt and pepper as per taste and olive oil
Make a dressing with mustard paste, salt, pepper, lemon juice and olive oil. Coat the dices of watermelon. Stack two slices and put lettuce in between and on top. Drizzle with pinenuts, feta cheese and sun-dried tomatoes. Serve cold.