Now Kolkata has a string of rooftop lounges and bars, with each claiming to show you the best skyline of the city. Maybe Air 1910 would not have been any different if it was not for the pleasant blend of traditional and contemporary, thus reaching out to a wider selection of diners. According to co-owners Anirudh Poddar and Aditya Ladsaria, Air1910 is not just a rooftop destination. “It is more of a homage to the rich architecture of the city. We wanted people to experience the old architecture and what opulence feels like when you spend time in one of such heritage buildings,” said Poddar. The lounge bar resides at the top of a magnificent restored mansion, which was once the home of industrialist Sir Biren Mukherjee and his wife, art connoisseur Lady Ranu Mukherjee. 1910 is a throwback to the year the mansion was built.
Divided into indoor and outdoor sections, the ambience is a clever mix of vintage and contemporary. A lot of greenery has been added to the outdoor area, which has both luxurious and no-frills seating arrangements. The indoor has been designed like a glasshouse with a lots of vintage charm, including chandeliers and decorative lamps, designer Rajasthani couches, tapestries, an old record player, wall decorations from vinyl records, etc.
While the drinks menu is fairly long, including premium wine, champagne and single malts, it is the sous vide cocktails served here which have caught the connoisseurs’ attention. You may try the fruity sous vide cocktail Gin with Grapefruit and Rosemary Popsicle.
The Vodka Cooler is another popular one, a combination of Citron vodka, pineapple, apple, maple, and star anise. Of the other specialty cocktails, you may opt for the Butterfly Pea Flower Tea Infused Vodka and Tender Coconut. My dining partner was bowled over by the Cuban Smoked Old Fashioned (a smoky old fashioned with a generous portion of scotch).
The food menu was like a slim book, with something for everyone – Pan Asian to Continental to Indian – soups, entrees, appetizers, mains – dimsums, sliders, sandwiches and wraps, pizzas, risottos, and of course desserts. If you have loads of time on hand, then it is worth running through the list. But if you are in a hurry (like us), take the help of the waiter.
We started with Polo Humo Liquido Salad which consisted of smoked chicken strips with jalapenos with ginger, honey and java plum vinegar dressing, plated in an adorable manner – a flower basket with a wee butterfly on top. According to the owners, while the ambience harks back to the bygone era, it is the food which lends the contemporary vibe. “We have taken classic dishes and plated them in modern international styles,” the owners said.
This was followed by a plate of cream cheese dimsum where the covering was half regular dough and half activated charcoal and filled with mascarpone cheese spiced with crispy fried garlic, and a plate of Sicilian burgers. The kulcha-taco appears to be a favourite in the city; ours was filled spicy channa masala and served with dips. If you are fond of cheese, do try the Burrata Kofta, where dumplings stuffed with paneer, mascarpone cheese and dry fruits, are cooked in north Indian style makhni gravy.
If you are looking for something to go with your cocktails, the kebab and the dimsum menus offer a wide choice.
The menu culls a fair selection of dishes from home and abroad. From Kolkata’s very own Jhaal Muri to Delhi’s street style Soya Chaap, from Texan Barbeque Wings to Tunisian Grilled Fish to Korean Chilli Garlic Prawns, among other things. If you are looking for a filling dish, you may try the Lebanese Market – Greek spanakopita (spinach pie), falafel, jalapeno hummus, classic hummus, beetroot feta cream, pickled aubergine with crackling lavash, grilled focaccia and cheese straws.
But what really won our heart that monsoon afternoon was the Balinese Curry. Served with steamed jasmine rice, it consisted of tofu, carrot, mushrooms, peas and Goan cashew in coconut and lime based curry. A great comfort food.
We rounded up our meal with the delectable Cosmic Story, a galaxy inspired milky chocolate hazelnut mousse.
Talking of the upcoming plans, the owners said that musical experiences with saxophonists, percussionists, live music and more are on the anvil. They also have plans to call some of the best bartenders, chefs and artists in the coming months. “Never a dull moment, when you are at Air 1910,” they chorused.
On our way out, we tarried a while at the ground floor foyer to admire the restored building, now renamed as Galleria 1910. The home of one of Bengal’s illustrious industrialist family would have been lost if it was not for Aditya Poddar of Wellside Group. After acquiring the building, he restored it to its former glory. The winding staircase, wood panels, stained glass and chandeliers will give you a hint of the bygone opulence. One of the wooden panels (fronted by two old world armchairs) bore the crest of the Mukherjee family. To ensure the building and its legacy lives on, Poddar has repurposed it as a luxury retail experience,
Address: Rooftop, Galleria 1910 Camac Street, Kolkata 700071.