Souk at Taj Bengal has always been my favorite destination for authentic Mediterranean cuisine in Kolkata since its very inception. It was back in 2009, I went there for the first time with my father. That was the time, I leave the city for 6 years. I have had my fair share of Mediterranean food after that but one thing remains consistent. Well, till date I am partial toward the Baklava served at The Souk. I always wanted to know the reason and it took me 9 years to know it! Finally, I met the man who was there during the initiation phase of Souk at Taj Bengal Kolkata. I am talking about chef Simone who was there at the beginning of this specialty restaurant. Do check his take on the food on Souk below.
Taj Bengal at present is showcasing the specialties of Chef Simone at the Souk apart from their regular offerings of Mediterranean cuisine. They are running an event from 7th till 16th of September 2018 for both lunch and dinner with the Chef’s special.
Mediterranean cuisine and Chef Simone’s take on the same!
Mediterranean cuisine is all about the elemental ingredients. This genre is defined by olive, wheat, and the grape, yielding oil, bread, and wine! Mediterranea, however, is a vast region and hence the culture and food vary. This time Taj Bengal is showcasing the food from Turkey, Lebanon, Greece, Serya, Morocco, and Egypt. When asked Chef told they are having a balance between vegetarian and non-vegetarian food keeping in mind the clientele in Kolkata. I was surprised. I can understand the Mezzes or the starters with the veg option, however, I was not much aware of the typical veg main course. Indeed it was an eye-opener for me.
Our meal started with the Cold Mezzes. Hummus bilsanobar or hummus with crispy pine nuts and lemon followed by Hummus with basil. Hummos has always been a personal favorite and found both perfect for my taste bud. The Hummus was served with fresh Pita bread.
From the Hot Mezzes, we opted for the Garithes salatasi aka the seared Prawns tossed with bell peppers and onion. This dish was my favorite from the lot and I ended on asking the recipe from the Chef and he shared happily. You may check the recipe below. I loved the use of subtle spices and the cooking to the proper point that resulted in extracting the flavors.
Shawarma these days is quite popular in the city of joy and so are the wraps. Unfortunately, what we get here are loaded with mayonnaise and with an improper cut of chicken. I actually miss middle-east and even Delhi for the perfect dose of Shawarma. Needless to say, when prepared at Taj Bengal’s specialty restaurant I don’t need to complain about the imperfection. It was just the way it should be! I was quite satisfied with the Chicken Shawarma Harra. Soft and fresh Pita pockets filled with perfectly spiced Chicken and yes no complain from my side.
From the main course offering, we had the Lahm Barkook, a delicacy of Greece. Lamb shank simmered in caramelized onion and prune sauce can’t go wrong and it did not. Perfectly cooked and melting in mouth Lamb served with flavored rice and a subtly flavored gravy, this dish was nothing but comforting.
For the dessert, there was Feta caramel ice cream. Well, I was expecting the Rose petal Ice cream or Baklava but I was not disappointed. In fact, the dessert was quite impressive. You can, however, read about my experience of Rose petal Ice cream or Baklava here.
Before sharing the what and where about the event here’s the recipe of Garithes salatasi (seared seared Prawns tossed with bell peppers and onion) for you!
- Serves: 4 People
- Serving size: 150g
- Calories: 240
- Fat: 12.4g
- Saturated fat: 4.2g
- Carbohydrates: 8.4g
- Sugar: 4.3g
- Sodium: 622mg
- Fiber: 1.9g
- Protein: 23.7g
- Cholesterol: 13mg
- Jumbo Prawn: 500g (8pcs)
- Butter: 25g
- Bell Pepper: 1 (cube)
- Salt: to taste
- White pepper powder: ½ Tsp.
- Lemon juice: 1 Tbsp.
- Onion: 2 (chopped)
- Garlic: 1 Tbsp. (chopped)
- Cumin powder: ½ Tsp.
- Cinnamon powder: ¼ pinch
- Chop coriander: 1 Tsp.
- Chop mint: 1 Tbsp.
- Tomato paste: 3 Tbsp.
- Paprika powder: ¼ Tsp.
- Salt: to taste
- Extra virgin olive oil: 50 ml.
- Clean, wash and marinate the prawn with salt, white pepper powder, and lemon juice.
- Heat Olive oil and add onion, garlic. Sauté it nicely,
- Now add cumin, cinnamon, paprika powder, and tomato paste & cook it for a minute.
- Lastly, add freshly chopped coriander and mint followed by lemon juice and salt.
- Blend the mixture once cooled to make a paste.
- Apply this paste to the prawns and bell pepper nicely & grill those on skewers.
- Brush some melted butter on grilled prawns along with veggies and serve it with rocket leaves salad.
The best of Mediterranean cuisine with Chef Simone!
Where: Souk, Taj Bengal
When: 7th till 16th of September 2018
Pocket pinch for Two: INR 3500++ for Two
Disclaimer: I was invited by the management of Taj Bengal.