From a typical Indian highway dhaba to a café on a Thai beach, from an airplane to the tram, from Tintin to motorbikes, Kolkata restaurateurs are leaving no stones unturned to catch the diners’ eye with their theme restaurants. If you call yourself a foodie, these themed restaurants must be on your list the next time you are in the city. And for the citizens of Kolkata, what's stopping you from visiting these places? Go now!
Do you miss the traditional ‘dhaba’ on the highway, which are now being pushed out of business by the food plazas? Then this restaurant is likely for you. Incidentally, Mirch Masala ranks among the earliest themed restaurants of Kolkata. The ‘dhaba’ feel has been replicated with ‘charpoy’ style furniture, bell metal utensils, Bollywood posters, graffiti, and other faux paraphernalia, including a yellow ambassador taxi. The food is north Indian with a bias towards Punjabi cuisine. They also have a separate section serving Chinese cuisine.
Where: 49/2-Gariahat Road; +91-9830669233/9088088222; mirchmasala.org
Tintin and The Brussels Club
Do I hear you uttering "billions of bilious blue blistering barnacles!" upon hearing that Kolkata has a Tintin themed restaurant and you didn’t know about it? Tucked inside one half of a refurbished old Kolkata home, the relatively new Tintin and Belgian Café will surely take you back to the world of Tintin comics. According to the owners, it was a visit to Belgium’s Musee Herge (dedicated to Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi or Herge, who created the comic series Adventures of Tintin) that encouraged them to explore the theme. And they decided to enhance the feeling by introducing Belgian food to the city.
Where: 52D Hindustan Park; +91-90387 66666; facebook.com/tintinandthebrusselsclub/
It is the Harley Davidson alone that will draw you to this bike themed restaurant. There are other bike-related paraphernalia that you may explore as you wait for the food. In keeping with the spirit of adventure the food is a fusion of Continental and Mediterranean food.
Where: Platinum Mall, 31 Elgin Road; +91-9674565455; thebikerscafe.com
Even if the famous trams of Kolkata stop plying, hopefully this tram-themed restaurant will carry on the legacy. Reminiscent of the yesteryear coaches made of wood, the restaurant floor has a tram track design. Pictures of Kolkata landmarks just as you would see the originals from a real tram ride cover the walls. The cubicles have been named after the various tram depots of Kolkata. However, the mandatory membership fee and the service have drawn flak from several visitors.
Where: 45 Syed Amir Ali Avenue, near Quest Mall; +91-9830283386.
A narrow flight of stairs lead up to this first floor restaurant tucked in the middle of a busy Tollygunge neighbourhood. The idea of having the seaside as a themeis interesting but a little more space would have heightened the experience further. One half of the room represents the beach while the other half is the sea. Tables and chairs are laid out in both the sections. You will be asked to enter the themed section barefoot. The menu focuses mostly on Thai cuisine with a smattering of dishes from other Oriental nations.
Where: 23 Russa Road, near Rabindra Sarobar Metro Station, opposite Bhavani Cinema Hall; +91-8335844414; seaesttainnrestaurant.com
Let your mind soar while your feet are firmly on ground say the owners of Fly Kouzina, Kolkata’s only aircraft themed restaurant. It is like stepping into the first class cabin of an aircraft. They even give you a personalised boarding pass. The plush interior reflects the theme through animated visuals (windows), displays and miniature airplanes. The restaurant serves only vegetarian fare with an extensive north Indian, Chinese and Continental menu.
Where: AD 73, Sector 1, Salt Lake; 033-40631002/3; flykouzina.com
Leave the urban world behind when you enter Machaan. Part of Speciality Restaurants Limited, the restaurant has managed to create an intense jungle theme, with trees, forest paths, statues of forest dwelling tribal people, animal and bird figurines tucked in among the greenery, etc. The menu consists of largely north Indian dishes along with Mughlai cuisine.
Where: Avani River Side Mall, 32 Jagat Banerjee Ghat Road, Howrah 711102; tel: 033-26780281