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Thursday , August 9 , 2012
 
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Veda : A Tour
Interiors of Veda

Mirror, mirror on the wall... who’s the fairest of them all? If the mirror utters your name, then Veda at 57A Park Street, Park Mansion, may just be up your alley.

Dominated by mirrors and mirror work, or Rajasthani thekri art, the 2,700 square feet of Veda’s restaurant area — it stands right where Calcutta’s ol’ favourite Skyroom used to be — dazzles and glows. And you know just how flattering candlelight can be.

Entering Veda feels like walking into fashion week on finale night. Shimmering tealights, ushers showing you the way... excuse me, which way is the catwalk please, you almost ask. Until you realise that like Shakespeare’s ‘world’s a stage’, fashion designer Rohit Bal’s stage is this restaurant, and us not mere diners but a part of his awestruck audience.

The square dome and stained glass chandelier

Go up the winding old-school wooden staircase to an area that is elaborately decorated with mother of pearl inlaid tables, black leather and dainty dim lights. A dome that’s not really a dome — being as it is square in shape — dominates the centre of the room. Thousands of tiny black glass pieces have been used to embellish this centrepiece with a dramatic red-stained glass chandelier. Just below the dome, on the floor, is the Veda’s sun — a shiny brass inlaid star that reflects the overhead lights.

Tucked away in a cosy corner, overlooking Park Street, is the famed ‘Table of Lords’ — the VIP table with seating for eight to 10, with dramatic wingback chairs. This too is a “break from tradition” or what passes for tradition at a restaurant brand that is only five years old.

Death by Rabri, Chocolate Rumali with Mango Malai and Gondhoraj Chhena Cake

The Table of Lords is usually placed under the dome. “But Calcutta’s elite like their privacy and an exclusive table on Park Street must have a view of the street,” explains Mohit Sancheti, director of Penguin Hospitality, partners from the Calcutta end. The separate lounge area downstairs, off-limits now, will be open to the public in “six weeks”.

The Table of Lords

The food will be “regal” in nature with dishes from the “royal kitchens of India”. So expect all sorts of kebabs — Galouti, Kakori, Burra Kebab... the works. There’s a separate vegetarian menu to spare the strictly vegetarian the ordeal of “ploughing through non-vegetarian fare to figure out what they’d like”, says Alok Aggarwal, chairman of Gateway Hospitality that owns the brand. North Indian twists to the hilsa, in the form of an Amritsari or a Mussallam, is also on the cards.

Murgh Reshmi Tikka

Desserts are “fun and fusion”, says executive chef Debasish Saha. Expect a Mishti Doi Mousse with twin delights of mishti doi and Mascarpone cheese; Death by Rabri, which will be layers of rabri and spongecake with an oozy rabri milk centre; and Gondhoraj Chhena Cake, a variation of layered cheesecake made with cottage cheese.

Front-row tickets to Gudda’s show might not be easy to come by. Thankfully, at Rs 1,600 for a meal for two, Veda on Park Street is a lot more accessible!

Malini Banerjee
Pictures by Rashbehari Das