Last Saturday, we took our – month toddler to the gaming zone at Axis Mall, New Town. Since this mall is just five minutes from my place and is generally never very crowded, I seem to have developed a liking for the place. We were famished after half an hour of rigorous driving, galloping and hammering sessions. Not being too keen on the buffet option, we decided to opt for Calcutta Retro. a quiet restaurant on the fifth floor of the mall. It is accessible only by lift. The place was empty saving another table of three and we tucked in to have a quiet meal.
Ambiance – The place has a beautiful old Calcutta feel. I choose to stick to Calcutta instead of Kolkata in this review in order to do justice to the outlet. Once you get inside, there’s a passage with a lone phuchka(aka panipuri or golgappa) stand and typical green colored huge closed windows. Took me a while for the sad realization that the counter is only for show. Then comes the restaurant with seating arrangement similar to park benches,although with cushions. In the middle half, there’s also a more comfortable zone of cushions and pillows. The restaurant is quite spacious. The walls have pictures and word/lines from poems written by Sukumar Ray. The lighting over each table is adorably covered with paper cones to give a display of colors. The central part has a thick pillar adorned with decorative items and lights over it. Tables are laid out neatly. The interiors are very tastefully done, akin to Bengali culture. Lighting is neither too bright, nor too dim giving a perfect feel to the place. Overall, this is a place with great ambiance for beautiful experience. They provide baby chairs incase one requires it.
Food – Instead of going through the detailed menu card, we asked the staff attending to us for recommendations. The place is famous for Bengali food. But they also have an enviable range of options in Indian and Continental cuisine. Since Yin Yang, the Chinese restaurant is next door, they can serve Chinese food also though they have a separate menu card for that. We had decided to skip Bengali food for the day. So we were recommended ‘Calcutta Retro Special Masahari Kebab Platter’ for starters. The dish had an assortment of chicken, fish, prawn and mutton seekh kebabs. There were ten pieces in total served with a tasty pudina chutney. The platter was heavenly,specially the fish kebab that just melted in our mouth. For drinks, we ordered fresh lime soda and virgin mojito (non alcoholic). Drinks were just average. For the main course, we decided to go the continental way. We ordered ‘Bay of Bengal Bhetki’ and good old ‘Fish and Chips’. Bay of Bengal Bhetki dish had two pieces of juicy bhetki fillets along with rice, mashed potatoes and boiled veggies. Very tasty and filling.Fish and chips was crumb fried fish served with french fries. The dish maintained a good standard even though I wouldn’t call it exceptional. We ended the course with baked rosogolla as deserts. This dish deserves a special mention for its outstanding taste. Our son enjoyed it as much as us because of the perfect taste,softness and sweetness. The portions served here is huge. We were having difficulty in finishing our main course items since the started was quite heavy. Also, they serve absolutely fresh items. Right from the starters to the main course to the desserts, every single item was freshly prepared, hygenic, tasted great and set a standard in terms of quality and quantity.
Service – The staff who attended to us asked us the right questions before recommending the dishes as per our desired choice. Even though he didn’t agree with my choice of Fish and Chips as main course and recommended a chicken dish instead, he did it without being too intrusive. When I spoke to him regarding the choice of decor and keeping the menu range quite inclusive, he displayed enough knowledge by providing a proper answer to each of my queries. He definitely sets a perfect example of being the brand ambassador of this restaurant. The other staff serving us was equally polite and courteous. The only issue with service here is that it is extremely slow. We spent close to two hours to finish our meal because every item took almost thirty to forty minute to arrive. When asked, their response was that because every dish is freshly prepared only after order is placed. While that’s a great aspect, they might just tend to lose customers for the delay.A lot of customers prefer a quick meal served up fresh and fast and the restaurant definitely needs to rework on their supply chain management to get this fixed.
Pricing – At the onset, the place comes across as quite expensive. Pricing seems to be on the higher side. Considering the quality and quantity of portion served along with the wide range of available choices, I would say that the pricing is justified. It might still feel moderately expensive but the overall experience makes it worth a visit.
My rating across various parameters would be –
- Ambiance – 4.5
- Food – 4.5
- Service – 4
- Pricing – 4
- Overall – 4.3
Calcutta Retro has a huge advantage in terms of its location yet on a Saturday afternoon the footfall was very low. In our two hours spent there, we could find only four occupied tables including ours. They definitely to work on promoting the place more. This is one of the rare few Bengali restaurants that can boast of having a menu range similar to the British era, a perfect culmination of Bengali, Indian and Continental choices. It makes them unique. Delicious food, amazing ambiance and helpful service adds on to create a delightful experience. Not to forget, this is quite a kid friendly outlet. If only they gear up on the speed of serving, I think they would attain a perfect balance in all parameters making the experience holistic.
Link to the review on TripAdvisor is