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Drive in for meal by the lake

Christened Café Ajante by the CM, the word café with has been replaced with dhaba post-lockdown
A diner is served in her car parked outside Eco Park’s Dhaba Ajante

A Staff Reporter   |   Published 11.06.20, 12:11 PM

Craving restaurant food but still unsure about dining out? Why not drive in and dine in the comfort of your own car? Eco Park has revamped the eatery next to its Eiffel Tower replica and now offers delicious food in the backdrop of a magnificent scenery, all in the isolation of your car.

“This restaurant was christened Café Ajante by the chief minister but in the post-lockdown scenario we have replaced the word café with dhaba,” said Debashis Sen, chairman cum managing director of Housing and Infrastructure Development Corporation (Hidco), that is in charge of Eco Park. “While it has indoor seating facilities with Covid-protective gear like adjustable glass partition, the USP of Dhaba Ajante is the outdoors.”


So expect rustic-themed decor with typical lighting, colours and even khatias where one can sit and eat. “The khatias will be installed presently as the artisan who makes them is stuck in the Sundarbans because of the lockdown,” explained Sen.

But guests can also park their car opposite the dhaba and dine inside the car or outside, using the bonnet or boot as a table. “Since the water body behind looks beautiful, people may want to step out of the car and eat and we are allowing that,” said Sen, adding that parking fee would not be charged from diners.

The dhaba was officially opened on June 8, in the presence of driving enthusiasts like Samaresh Das of New Town’s CD Block, who has driven across continents and members of Kolkata on Wheels, a motoring forum.

“We like to promote new activities for our members and this drive-in concept seems like a great idea,” said Souvik Ghosh of Kolkata on Wheels.

Rupa Roy, a resident of Salt Lake’s DB Block, said she had a fantastic time dining at the dhaba. “I was yearning to break out of the house and this came as a great option,” said the lady eating Tandoori Chicken in the front passenger seat of her car. The steering wheel was obstructing her husband so he moved behind to eat his dinner. “It was quite comfortable eating in the car,” she said.

The new menu includes dishes like Chicken Reshmi Masala (Rs 336), Paneer Dhania Masala (Rs 252) and Mutton Rogan Josh (Rs 368). Do give the Andey ka Halwa (Rs 173) a try. “This is a northwest frontier cuisine dish where egg is slow cooked along with mawa, ghee, sugar and nuts to get a delectable dessert,” said Snehasis Sinha, additional general manager, tourism, Hidco.

Dhaba Ajante is open from 1pm to 9pm. The other Hidco-run eateries — Cafe Ekante in the Eco Park island, New Town Business Club and Biswa Bangla Gate have all opened. Their weekly day off is Monday.

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