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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Dine and Whine-1 : The Blue Pill

Restaurant : The Blue Poppy, Salt Lake, Kolkata( http://www.zomato.com/kolkata/the-blue-poppy-salt-lake)

When the pot-bellied taxi driver drives you through the labyrinth around Park Street, taking you to Assam House, Madison Tower and Fire & Ice before finally to your destination, you somehow lose interest in surprises. Like that bollywood heroine stranded at a railway station at night, you start praying for the rest of the day to be boring. Setting out to try an unknown cuisine, this can be very bad attitude. I am glad that "The Blue Poppy" was around, to reinstate my faith in good food and pleasant surprises. 

Far from the madding crowd of the Park Street and surroundings, operating precariously and quite anonymously from the housing complex that Sikkim House is, The Blue Poppy is that little gem which sweeps you off your feet, without even trying to do so. There are no signboards outside. The ambiance is not lavish and the staff doesn't exchange pleasantries or even smile. (I was the unfortunate recipient of a powerful scorn from the receptionist as she said "No Card, Only Cash"). Yet, in many ways, this place reminded me of why people ventured to eat out in the first place - Good food, and the fastest service I've seen in recent times.

Having heard lots about Nepali, Tibetan and Bhutanese cuisines, and having missed a chance to travel to Thimpu last month, I was quite keen to try almost everything on offer. For once, I was limited only by my appetite, and not my wallet - thanks to the cheaply priced menu. I started with the Chicken Mushroom soup, and was completely blown away by the flavor of mushrooms, and was brought back to my senses by the mediocre chicken. That didn't stop me from emptying my soup bowl in minutes, or ordering 3 more dishes at once. 

First came the Chicken Phalay and then the Pan fried Veg Momos and Baby Corn fry for my veggie friend. Phalay, as the staff explained, is a sort of stuffed paratha, only less oily and entirely devoid of potato. Chicken was ground and cooked with green chilli, onions and a bit of ginger - much like the stuffing for momos. Although saving my belly for meat, I tasted the veg dishes, and pronounced them good. As the Phalay got over, my table made way for the most awaited dish of the night - Dry Chilli Pork. Quite spicy, and simple - capsicum, onion, green chilli and pork - this, as pointed out by many more experienced foodies before me, is one of the best pork dishes in Calcutta. It easily serves two - that put me in a corner, as I looked at my companion. "Eating out with a pure veggie can be a pain" - he pointed out. I smiled, and focused my attention on the pork. As the spice got the better of me, I became a typical south Indian and ordered curd and rice, reaffirming stereotypes in the process. In a space of 30min came our savior- a fellow mallu returning from his round at the Park St- who finished the Pork, and went a step further, ordering the more spicy "Spicy fish with vegetables" upon my friend's insistence. That, to my shock, tasted unbelievably good, despite me being a sucker for bland food.

Blue Poppy doesn't look like the place that gives a damn about what people say about them. Me writing a review or not will not change anything in their universe. In any case, the makers of Blue Poppy, if you can hear me - Thank You! Thank you for making great food, serving it fast and serving it cheap!

PS: Despite loving the food, I was surprised by the amount of spice - mostly green chilli- at use. Did the Buddist monks do it on purpose, to convert all to veggies? One shall never know.

(All of the reviews featured under this tag were first posted on Zomato.com)


  1. 1. Why are you still in Kolkata?
    2. I know you're a Mallu, but when I last checked, it was ThimPu, not ThimBu :)
    3. Why didn't you discover this while I was busily spewing gyaan at you during the last few months of our idyllic 2-year sojourn in the bird-sanctuary?

  2. (Aiyo! So its you! Took me a while to reach there.)
    Haha. So Thimpu it is. It could very well be you who gave me this place! And yeah, Im not in Kolkata. This is an old piece.