Monday, August 13, 2007

American Style Malls

Wow. We heard a rumour that City Centre may have a pet store, so last night after work, we asked the driver to take us to Salt Lake's City Centre Mall. First off, getting out of work occurs at 7:30, and I knew the stores were closing at 8:30, but looking at the map, it looked no farther away than where our new home will be from the office. Boy was I wrong. It took nearly an hour to get there, so we watched the stores close up, but the mall didn't close until 10:30 so people could hang around the food court.

The food court!!!! Wills was so excited. The place was huge. Five stories of cute little shops, Levis, Tommy Hilfiger, home furnishings, lots of iPods, Xbox and other electronics, Bose - you name it, they had it. We were like two kids looking into the windows of the candy store. "Oooh, look at that... Mom, can I get a new game for the PSP next time? ... Hey look at that shelving system - wonder how much that costs..." We rounded a corner to see, yes, Pizza Hut and KFC.

Now, I know we've only been here a few weeks, but Wills is really missing his friends and he hasn't started school yet because we're waiting on the bank account to be set up (so I can pay the school). When he saw KFC, I thought he was going to cry. He didn't want to go in though because it was very busy. He's beginning to get overwhelmed with the attention he gets. He asked if we could come again later when it wasn't so crowded. I felt bad for him. I know it's just a matter of time getting adjusted to it, but even so, it's tough at times. when we were at New Market - I had the same feeling - people zeroing on on me, memsahib can I show you this? Mamsahib, paise hai? What part of 'no' do you not understand? I saw a sign for an Italian restaurant on the fourth floor, so I suggested we go there.

OMG. Hushh has an interesting interior - all black on black. Will went for the fried calamari and I started with the pasta salad, which was kind of weird because they put lettuce in it. The pasta could have been a bit more cooked through (it wasn't handmade either) but the pesto vinaigrette was very well balanced. Will selected a conchigliere with seafood for his entree, and I chose a prawn risotto with saffron. I wasn't expecting much - risotto is a risky choice because it's easily ruined, but with skill, it is the star dish on a menu. Wills and I both had tonic water, mine had the local gin added with a bit of lime. Both entrees were impeccable.

I have to say that until yesterday, my favorite restaurant for risotto was Felidia's in NYC. There was an abundance of saffron flavour and a blooming frangrance of the sea. The aborio rice was perfectly cooked, not too hard and not gummy, the two areas where risottos typically fail. The color and presentation of the dish were beautiful - if anything, I'd use a little more imagination on the garnish - a crispy carmelized onion would have been interesting or a mushroom saute finished with sherry could have been nice too, but overall, the stunning flavor didn't need any elaboration.

Will's tomato-based gravy was bursting with intricate flavors. I detected a nice touch of fennel playing off the prawns and squid. There was a certain smokiness to the sauce that I couldn't define, but it was very, very good. Again the pasta did not seem home made, but the attention on the sauces more than made up for it. This time the pasta was cooked through.

Will had the dark & white chocolate mousse for dessert. Skip it. There was one other bothersome thing - there were three different sources of music heard at our table. We had jazz directly above us, 70s pop and disco towards the interior of the restaurant, and something else everytime the entrance door opened. The entire meal, with a 10% tip was around 1,800 rupees, with about 600 of that for the gin. We're definitely going back. I was so surprised to find a foodie restaurant. There seems to be a few more at this mall, so I think we'll be going back. Often. It was a nice respite to find something comfortable and familiar and best of all exemplary here. I should have expected it, with the skill every cook in this country has with their spices, that they could make simple dishes all the most interesting with a deft hand at the herb and spice rack.

Bottom line? Still no kitty litter, but well worth the trip. :-)


Anonymous said...

10% tip may be too much..I may be wrong but for around rs. 1600 bill, 100 tip might be just great(10% probably is not the standard in India)..

Again, I may be wrong..India changed a lot in the last couple of years..

Glad you're njoying, but I hate that "getting attention" invades privacy and sometimes a turn off too..

Good luck with you work.


Unknown said...

i am glad you are enjoying yourself in calcutta. it keep me wanting to
go back to calcutta, my beloved city.

anyways keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Do keep us posted about any other restaurant finds. When I visit my parents in Salt Lake, I'm always looking for places to go out to with the kids (or without). I heard that there is a good Thai restaurant near Dover Place. Also a restaurant called Oh! Calcutta has a good mix of Calcutta food from the past - Bengali, Mughlai and Anglo-Indian. I believe it is in the Forum Mall on Elgin Road (the smaller cousin of the City Centre). Bhojo Hari Manna has superb Bengali food. They have a number of locations around the city. Small, unpretentious, although the daily offerings vary according to the chef's fancy. Good luck settling down. I love Kolkatta but I am so glad that my parents live in Salt Lake. After an afternoon's shopping in the city, it feels good to escape to clean air and quiet streets.

Anonymous said...

quite interesting story..... simply kool... But what iz KFC ? Your english is really good, quite easy to feel and visualize your moments.


Anonymous said...

City Centre is phenomenal.
That Pizza hut and I share some ...memories

and the Cafe Coffee Day outside terrace is the best place to watch monsoon roll in...

In India many of the restaurants/resto-bars/pubs turn into nightclubs at night. Esp in the malls. That may be where you heard the music coming from

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