Hand sanitised, temperature checked, my host and I stepped into the elevator, which was, thankfully, rather spacious. Small things you never noticed before life hit the new normal. We got down at the fourth floor and climbed a flight of stairs to the Unplugged Courtyard (UC), perched on the terrace of the Hotel Golden Park on Ho Chi Minh Sarani (not far from the Kolkata offices of the British Deputy High Commission and the US Consulate).
The Delhi-headquartered resto-bar, which opened its doors recently in Kolkata, is divided into several zones, across 7500 square feet, offering indoor and outdoor seating arrangements, with their own set of bars. The Kolkata franchise is owned by Amit Kumar Modi and Priti Modi.
We chose Terrazza, the open-air section, again a preferred seating area in these difficult times.
As we settled down in our corner, I wondered what the two edifices on either side of the terrace would say to each other if they suddenly found their voice. On one side, rising above the hazy cityscape was the grand dome of the Victoria Memorial, its angel with the trumpet etched against the late afternoon sky. On the other side, looming high above us was The 42, a much vaunted luxury address, whose top stories almost disappeared into the clouds.
The seating area – cosy chairs to benches – was spaced out, bracketed by red brick walls and overflowing faux creepers; one end was occupied by the long bar. There was an elevated area (the DJ console) topped by a giant television screen. True to its moniker, UC hosts both live bands and DJ music.
We started with a refreshing Virgin Strawberry Margarita. But that should not disappoint the more spirited souls. The bar menu is fairly extensive, and includes signature cocktails (maybe you can try the Victoria Martini) and shots.
I left the ordering to my host who loves to call himself a food enthusiast rather than a food expert. The first to be ordered was a UC signature savoury dish – the Palak Patta and Kurkure ki Chaat (Rs 395) where the spinach leaves were shallow tempered in chickpea flour and served with sweet yoghurt and a sprinkling of pomegranate. As we munched on this tangy dish, I flipped through the menu, a culinary journey that took me beyond the Indian sub-continent, to east, south-east and west Asia.
Apart from the classic soups and salads, the starters included baos, sliders, kebabs, etc. You may try the Water Chestnuts and Asparagus-corn Tempura (made of tempura fried, harissa chili aioli, tagarashi, and mint dust; Rs 415), Lal Mas Ki Lahori Seekh with Walnut Labneh (minced lamb seekh served with mint relish; Rs 555), or a Turkish vegetable skewer (assorted vegetables marinated with seasoning, chargrilled, and served with Lebanese bread and house dips; Rs 425).
We opted for the Adana Kebab (Rs 625) though – four long pieces of kebab made from ground lamb meat and served on Lebanese breads with chargrilled vegetables, onion and dips. The dish originated in Adana, Turkey. For a starter, it was quite filling, which forced us to push the sushi and the mains to another day.
If we had to order, we would have surely tried the Unplugged Special, Peri-Peri Chicken (half chicken marinated in a spicy blend of peri-peri chilies, served with garlic, butter mash, and seasonal vegetables) or the Turkish Lamb Stew with Turkish Rice (consisting of tender lamb cubes stewed in flavourful curry, served with saffron & vermicelli Turkish rice).
In fact, the menu had something for everyone – from sushi to pizzas to pastas to biryani to fried rice and more.
We ended our meal with a round of Chicken and Chilli Dimsums (Rs 455).
If you are looking for something substantial, UC has an interesting range of platters – Unplugged Fruit Platter (Rs 799), Indian Tandoor Platter (Rs 899 for veg version and Rs 999 for the non-veg one) and a Turkish Platter (an assorted platter of chargrilled vegetables, chicken Adana, chicken Sis, Adana kebab, lamb Sis, Lebanese bread, Pita bread, crispy Lavash, hummus, Baba ghanoush, Cacik, carrot Tarama, smoked tomato and pomegranate dip, and Toum; Rs 1099), Sushi platters starting from Rs 1695, etc.
When you are in Kolkata, can Sandesh be far away? We chose the Banoffee Sandesh (Rs 455) – a biscuit tart shell with a banana and Nolen Gur filling, whipped cream, and coconut flakes for dessert over Churros with Hazelnut Choco Dip or Baked Cheesecake with topping of strawberry compote and fresh strawberries.
The indoor section (which was closed at the time of our visit) had a touch of classical décor with big golden lamps and murals; the colour scheme verging on gold and teal, greens and browns. Small groups can opt for the compact private room style seating area adjacent to the indoor section.
Note: Prices mentioned are exclusive of tax and service charge
What: Unplugged Courtyard
Where: Rooftop, 13 Hotel Golden Park, Ho Chi Minh Sarani, Kolkata 700071
Timing: Open every day, 4pm to 4am