It’s easy to understand why South Indian food has never been sexy. Luxury hotels and fine dining restaurants have always played by the rules, rarely pushing boundaries while taking the cuisine to newer audiences. With the advent of new and exciting culinary fads and a growing number of food connoisseurs in Kolkata, molecular gastronomy is no longer a theory here. What earlier was a smoky and unfamiliar cooking technique, is now being widely used in many restaurants and bars across the city to prepare some of the most drool-worthy dishes and drinks.
Entering the vibrant, bright-filled interior with a wall full of shining round small brass bell that swings. The 40-seater upscale casual dining restaurant is spread across 1100 sqft. Kathakali wall-arts and elements from the dance-form dominate the interior, the play of bottle green, popped up golden tint yellow and the amalgamated teal-turquoise blue adds up to it, making the place appear vibrant and jovial. The rickshaw themed seating adds up to the city’s connect.
Using an array of modern gastronomic techniques, the food is transformed into the most delicious bits of foam, caviars, pearls or kheer, a Bomb Idly that bursts when you dig that in with your spoon with a startling freshness, and wonderfully the Sambhar inside oozes out. At the same time, let it be said, it’s not about the technology. It’s about re-discovering the original taste of some of our most favourite South Indian dishes and presenting them in a new and fresh way.
Chef Rashi, who’s marking her baby steps in the F&B Scene of the City of Joy adds “Naariyal Paani is a very simple casual dining den for all, we are serving the good old South Indian in a reformed manner, it’s an art form, the rickshaw seating installed is all set to take you on a gastronomical ride, with all the nautanki that we’ll create on your plate, it’s all about the vibe of this place”.
At the helm of this great adventure of discovery is Chef Rashi, an F&B enthusiast from her early days is also an apron winner at the Master Chef India. Naariyal Paani is that rare example of a bold restaurant vision that is executed flawlessly.
The showmanship just doesn’t stop. From a Waffle Dosa that comes in a shape and taste of a waffle, with a brilliant set of chutneys to compliment the same. Each item arrives artfully placed and plated to look like a work of art. Whether it’s the Coconut Idly or Sambhar Caviars, you can taste each item separately. Vegetarians will rejoice in the selection done, and the push given to the same old South Indian favourites.
But what after the novelty starts to wear off? That’s where Naariyal Paani triumphs. This is not a gimmicky pop-up restaurant but where authentic flavours have the last laugh. Naariyal Paani uses innovation that often borders on quirkiness and presents South Indian cuisine in a whole new context. It’s a reminder that great cuisines have always evolved even though purists would like us to believe that they are meant to be frozen in time. It’s just what South Indian cuisine needs to go global and it’s fitting that this global journey begins in Kolkata.
This chef-driven restaurant makes even the humble idly look like a work of art. They present the simplest of foods in the most complex ways and never miss any flavour note. True to its name, Naariyal Paani brings South-Indian flavours and progressive techniques together on the plate. That’s exactly where the Nautanki begins.