Zen……a perfect 10!

 

The Urban Dictionary defines ‘Zen’ as…….”a total state of focus that incorporates a total togetherness of body and mind. Zen is a way of being. It also is a state of mind. Zen involves dropping illusion and seeing things without distortion created by your own thoughts.” My friends and I talk about being zen-ned when we are in a supreme state of bliss; perfect nirvana, usually after a great meal or a great spa experience! Zen, the Asian restaurant at The Park, Calcutta definitely lives up to my definition of it’s name

 

A walk down a black marbled passage on the first floor gets us into this lovely restaurant. Minimalist décor, spacious display kitchen and bar counter, elegant lighting all come together seamlessly to soothe our senses. A smiling, attentive manager seats us with minimal fuss and within a few minutes we are in an intense discussion about beverages. Always adventurous with beverages and food, I decide on the Tom Yum Cocktail, suitably encouraged by the infectiously smiling young man deputed to supervise the service at our table. I later discover that his name is Shivam and he is completing his stint as a Management Trainee. His enthusiasm adds to our already happy mood. The feeling of being zen-ned is on me, slowly but surely. 

 

 

We are a group of talkative people and conversation flows. Get a bunch of experienced hospitality professionals together and there isn’t a dearth of topics to be discussed at the table. We do not notice the passage of time but I do know that food arrives quickly. More zen since I do not like to sit around for long looking at people eating all around me! This is the menu we were served.

 

Sushi platter: 

Salmon ball I Prawn Ball I Spicy Tuna Sushi I Seaweed Salad Sushi

Salad:

Burrata, Water Chestnut, Rocket, Sun Dried Tomato, Bacon with Thai Herb Dressing

Mains

Chicken Ravioli Aglio Olio with Szechuan Spices

Pork Datshi with Echum (Bhutanese red rice)

Thai Green Curry Prawn served with Ragi Appam

Dessert 

Tofu Cheese Cake on the Stone

Crispy Date Crispillinis with Black Sesame Ice Cream

 

Let me start at the very beginning!

Salmon ball I Prawn Ball I Spicy Tuna Sushi I Seaweed Salad Sushi

Beautifully presented on a simple bamboo tray with the usual accompaniments, this is a lovely way to start the meal. Little touches of excellence like a hint of fish roe on the prawn ball and the smooth spicy sauce on the the tuna make this platter stand apart.

 

 

Burrata, Water Chestnut, Rocket , Sun Dried Tomato, Bacon with Thai Herb Dressing 

Italy meets Thailand in this innovative mix of ingredients. Put burrata in front of me and I shall praise the dish to the skies unless you mess it up in some unpardonable way! Maybe this has something to do with my fondness for gooey cheesy things! Creaminess of the burrata is complemented by tanginess of sun dried tomatoes and saltiness of crispy bacon. The light, fragrant Thai dressing does exactly what is should, adds value without taking away anything from the ingredients of the salad. This recipe is provided below.

 

Chicken Ravioli Aglio Olio with Szechuan Spices 

In all the years of eating oriental food, I have not managed to fall in love with the way dumplings are served. I like them but they just do not look very elegant! Chef Sharad Dewan and his team have replaced dumplings with supremely elegant ravioli and their precision makes me wonder if they used geometric instruments while creating them! Lots of garlic which I adore, in addition to Szechuan spices lifts this simple dish to another level. So much that I would not even mind this ravioli minus chicken!

 

Pork Datshi with Echum (Bhutanese red rice)

Ema Datshi is among the most famous dishes in Bhutanese cuisine and recognized as a national dish of Bhutan. In the local Dzongkha language ‘ema’ means ‘chili’ and ‘datshi’ means ‘cheese’. The cheese in Ema Datshi is home-made from the curd of cows or yaks. (source: Wikipedia)

The kitchen staff at the Park know that a post-condition to going on leave; laid down by Chef Sharad Dewan, is having to return with the recipe of a dish local to their place of residence. Ema Datshi made it’s way into the menu at Zen thanks to a Bhutanese chef who has since left his post. But this very popular dish has remained on the menu. All major ingredients including red rice are flown in from Bhutan making this as authentic as can be.

Melt in mouth slivers of my favourite meat; a rich, cheesy sauce which is pure seduction on the tongue; perfectly cooked red rice and I have definitely reached pure zen.

 

Thai Green Curry Prawn served with Ragi Appam

The green curry is lovely but nothing I write can do justice to these appams. Crisp enough to hold shape and soft enough to bend without breaking, these delicate, gossamer light appams disappear in the mouth. One of Chef Dewan’s most innovative combinations, you have to try this one for sure.

 

Tofu Cheese Cake on the Stone I Crispy Date Crispillinis with Black Sesame Ice Cream

We are so full that conversation is difficult but catch me leaving a table minus dessert! The cheese cake display is as pretty as a picture with bits of lemon custard, meringue and dried papaya adding textural variation and zing. The crispilinis are ultra crackly! The black sesame ice cream, another brainchild of Chef Dewan’s is a match winner! A Japanese flavor, the one at Zen is lighter in colour than the ones found in the far east. The toasty flavor of sesame, strong but not overpowering, makes this unique.

 

The meal is over, my soul is replete, the smile on my face says it all.

 

Now for that recipe I always provide……

 

 

Burrata Salad with Thai Herb Dressing

 

For the salad:

Burrata – 1 ball (approximately 400 gms)

Canned waterchestnut  6 pieces

Rocket leaves – 60 gms

Sun dried tomato – 6 pieces

 

 

For the dressing:

Kafir lime 5 gms

Lemongrass – 12 gms

Chilli – 6 gms

Garlic – 8 gms

Light soya – 30 ml

Lemon juice – 30 ml

Sugar syrup – 25 ml

Thai chilli paste – 15 gms

Yellow chilli powder – 5 gms

Salt – to taste

 

 

Method:

Mix all ingredients for the dressing and keep aside.

Cut the burrata into 4 pieces without losing the cream.

Put the other salad ingredients on a plate with the burrata.

Drizzle the dressing.

Serve immediately.

 

 

** MCT verdict – Looking for nirvana? Head to Zen!**

 

Zen - The Park Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Saolii says:

    Awesome food … & surely well penned.

  2. Chayan Banerjea says:

    Beautifully blogged Tara ma’am..
    Appreciate the choice of menu and their vivid description…
    Loved the recipe too 🤘

    1. MCT says:

      Thank you very much Chayan 🙂

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