It is impossible to miss the powerful gaze of Benjamin Franklin, as you enter Billions, the new lounge and bar in Kolkata because of the dollar bills adorning the walls. “We look forward to inviting Kolkata’s connoisseurs of good living for a treat worth ‘billions’ at the lounge,” said Devraj Dutt, founder and owner. The rich brown tone of the interiors with a hint of gold lend a warm luxurious feeling. The neon lighting adds a touch of brilliance to the bar side. But if you want a lighter and relaxed ambience, head for the balcony where a flood of sunlight by day and the outside street scene by night gives a more open-air feel.
With over 8,500 square feet of area to its credit, Billions is well spread out, a much needed aspect in these times of crisis when physical distancing is so important. It is divided into five sections; apart from the main dining area and the bar, it has two private seating rooms, and a covered balcony. The interiors of the larger of the two private seating rooms, the Billions Den, has a pleasantly quirky touch. The covered balcony tucks in a smoking corner.
Eat and Drink
The currency driven theme flows down to the cocktails and some of the popular ones include The Billionaire, The Billions LIIT, and Candy Crush. The lounge also offers a selection of ‘craftails’, or cocktails from the tap.
Unlike many lounge bars, Billions takes its food menu seriously. The focus is on world cuisine. But thankfully, even though the menu is diverse, the dishes available under each is limited, and you do not have to spend a long time choosing them.
Apart from soups and salads, the menu listed dim sum, sushi, kebabs, sliders and wraps, pizzas, noodles, biryanis, etc. Depending on your hunger pangs, you can choose from a selection of small and large plates.
Although the Achari Paneer Tikka served as a starter was good, it was the mildly spicy Turnip Cake (topped with burnt garlic, spicy chilli and scallions) that stole the show. The Margarita Pizza which came after that was soon forgotten in favour of the corn and asparagus dim sum and an excellent California Sushi Roll. It was late in the afternoon, so instead of ordering any weighty dish, we asked for a Chicken Cheetos Slider, which came with the Billions logo stamped on it along with a side of French fries and a chilli dip. But weren’t I glad that I had only a bite or two from everything by the time dessert arrived. The Lotus Cheesecake (a yummy cheesecake topped with Lotus biscuit) was too good and while others, quite full by now, could only have a spoon each, I gladly (and greedily) mopped it up.
With the nip in the air, Billions has started a Panache Brunch every Sunday, which offers a special menu and live counters. Guests can select a two hour unlimited pouring package to go along with their brunch, ranging from a choice of beer and whiskey, cocktails and even mocktails. The Billions Tickets every Saturday night is known for its varied entertainment programmes.
And before you leave, do not forget to take a selfie at The Billions Magazine Cover positioned at one end of the balcony.