Actor Dev enjoys immense clout in Bengal, where he is known as the star who romances the lovely young ladies of glossy Bengali cinema. He is also an influential Trinamool Congress MP. The celebrity has now put his brand to the culinary test with his resto-lounge Tolly Tales, near south Kolkata’s buzzing Deshapriya Park.
The 70-seater looks pretty unremarkable from the outside, but Dev has managed to work in the movie theme quite well. Right from the Arriflex camera, supposedly used by Satyajit Ray himself, and giant murals of Bengali film icons Uttam Kumar, Suchitra Sen and, well, Dev himself (owner’s artistic license, after all) to film posters, poster mats, analogue cameras and spotlights at the bar – he seems to have got most of the details right. But, we are not sure what to make of the rickshaw hanging over one of the tables.
You would think the theme would extend to the menu – we were hoping for imaginatively named dishes, some cinematic flourishes, but no. The Indian, Continental, Chinese menus have no surprises, nothing for the adventurous diner. Rather, the actor seems to have played it safe with classic favourites – hakka noodles, batter fried fish, grilled chicken… you get the drift?
We order mocktails, which are served in trendy mason jars. The Italian Smooch (Rs 150, fresh ginger, brown sugar, lemon juice, cola) is refreshing. As is a Diet Coke-based mocktail (Rs 160), which they offer to ‘create’ for us.
The staffer who served us was well-versed with the menu, and suggested we stick to Continental fare. We, mostly, followed his advice. Our starter was Bacon-wrapped Prawns (Rs 250). Fatty bits of bacon around juicy prawns popped with herby flavours in the mouth. Our main was a portion of Smoked Chicken Breasts with Pepper Coulis (Rs 290), served with mashed potatoes and grilled veggies, and Tolly Tales’ signature Butter Keema (Rs 320) with naan.
The chicken was moist and flavourful, and the portions robust. The keema, as the waiter had warned us, was spicy, but it also made you long for some buttery pav to wipe the plate clean.
The end note was the Fried Ice-Cream (Rs 150). If you are used to fried ice-cream enclosed in cornflake, cookie or tempura shells, you may be in for a surprise. This one came in a coconut casing, and while that gave it a rich texture, the cashew nut shavings and the green mango and strawberry syrup made the dessert seem like an 80s’ Bollywood version of the tutti frutti ice-cream.
Would we go back again? Yes — for a second helping of the bacon-wrapped prawns and the orange-ginger chicken wings, and the Japanese meatball pizza, which is on our wish list.
Where: 34, Dr. Sarat Banerjee Road, Southern Avenue, Kolkata
Timings: 11 am to 11 pm; reservations needed for dinner
Meal for two: Rs 1,600 (excluding alcohol)
Phone: 033 41445555