Roast & Burnt Garlic

The two restaurants featured in this article, have an interesting filmy connection. The first one is ‘Roast’, which has a menu in which names of popular films and images of film stars are used to highlight the list of items, while the other ‘Burnt Garlic’ belongs to a cinema hall owner and is based on the ground floor of a very popular Cinema Hall. 

This article was triggered off by a flyer that I discovered in my bag. It had been tucked inside a newspaper and had remained folded and saved in my bag for a couple of months.  My reason for storing it was because it featured ‘Roast’, the quaint restaurant located in a quiet neighbourhood in south Kolkata. The name is of course borrowed from the ‘Roast Restaurant’ in London’s iconic Borough Market, which opened in 2005 and has since acquired a legion of fans and numerous awards.   

I have fond memories of Kolkata Roast’s rather special (and affordable) Caeser Salad. The flyer had announced “Roast Goes Multicuisine — Introducing Chinese and Pan Asian Food.” So far the menu had mostly featured continental and Indian cuisine — roasted, barbequed or cooked in the tandoor. The present Roast menu  is quite a work of art and I wondered what changes would be made to its design, while including the Pan-Asian cuisine. 

The Roast Menu’s page on sandwiches and burgers was captioned ‘Mera Naam Sandwich/Burger, with an image of Raj Kapoor as a clown, the items included: The monster (triple decker Burger), ‘Pulled Pork Burger’, ‘Chicken Burger’, ‘Cubanos’ (Cuban Sandwich), ‘Smoked Chicken Sandwich’ and ‘Roasted Veggie Cheese Sandwich’. Then there is a scene from Titanic for fish items titled ‘Fish-Tanic;’ here we have ‘Roasted Basa’, ‘Fish Florentine’, ‘Louisiana Blackened Fish’ and ‘Roasted Tiger Prawns’.

A page with a scene from Gone With The Wind has been chosen for roasted items and is titled ‘Gone with the Roast’. Here we have a vast variety — ‘Caribbean Roast Chicken’, ‘Roasted Whole Octopus’, ‘Chicken Steak’, ‘Pork Chops’, ‘Roasted Lamb Chops with Beetroot and Wine Sauce’ and more. The Indian kebabs are on a page that features Rekha in Umrao Jaan, and is titled ‘Kebab Jaan’. It includes: ‘Dahi Kebab’, ‘Haryali Kebab’, ‘Chicken Tikka’, ‘Tunday Kebab’, ‘Chicken Reshmi Kebab’, ‘Chelo Kebab’ , ‘Shammi Kebab’ and more.

However, the most interesting page is ‘Kids Alone’ - a scene with Macaulay Culkin from the film Home Alone. It had all the items that kids love – ‘Mac and Cheese’, ‘Chicken Nuggets’, ‘Cheese Fries’ and ‘Nachos with Cheese and Salsa Dip’. 

We now move on to the second restaurant cum bar, ‘Burnt Garlic’ that opened in November 2016 and serves Continental, Oriental and Tandoori cuisine. The bar is upstairs and there are happy hours between 3 to 6 pm every day. There are also retro nights on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

To begin with the restaurant’s name is as interesting as the decor of the restaurant. Starting with the restaurant’s pneumonic of a lady with a kettle covering her head till just above her nose, holding a huge whisk in her hand to the patchwork upholstery and to the see-through dividers made of rolling pins, strung together with string and suspended from the ceiling. 

The crockery is ceramic and looks perfect on the tables that are made to look rustic and rough with paint partially scraped off, but are actually smooth to the touch.  

The seating offers tables for twos fours and groups. The seating on both levels is in the same style, except for the bar counter upstairs. The bar is well known for its cocktails and is usually very full by late evening. Burnt Garlic does roaring business, both for its location and quality of cuisine. There is also a discount for all cinema goers and many stay on to dinner after the late evening shows.

The Thai cuisine is presented under the title of ‘Phat Mama Rice Bowls’ has a number of very popular  dishes such as : ‘Spicy Chilli Garlic Rice with Cottage Cheese and Bokchoy’, ‘Thai Fried Rice with Basil Chicken and Sunny Side Up’, ‘Roasted Chilli Pork with Coriander Rice and Egg’ and ‘Krabi Style Prawn with Galangal and Lemongrass Rice’. 

Salads and soups are also popular, among salads the most appreciated is ‘Savour it Salad’, and ‘Greek Salad with Feta Cheese’. While among soups ‘Broccoli and Lemongrass’ and ‘Lemon Coriander’, appear to be the most popular.

Pastas, pizzas and Burgers are mostly popular with the cinema goers. Among pastas, the choice is ‘Penne Jalapeno in cream Sauce with Confi Garlic’ and ‘Just Prawns with Spaghetti in Coriander sauce’.

According to the restaurant staff, the biggest selling items are ‘Burnt ‘Garlic Fried Chicken’, ‘Roasted Pork Chilli’, ‘Grilled Pork Chop’, ‘Porchini Chicken’, ‘Corriander Rice’, ‘Krabi Style’.

Since no meal would be complete without a dessert. Burnt Garlic offers just a few for those with a sweet tooth. Everyone’s two hot favourites are ‘Tiramisu’ and ‘Bluberry Cheese Cake’. Then there is ‘Caramel Cake with hot Toffee Sauce’ and ‘Molten Lava Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream’ — more than enough to satisfy everyone’s craving.

Shona Adhikari