Kolkata has long been considered to be a Mecca for lovers of fast food. From the ubiquitous kathi roll to baked delicacies at stylish patisseries, there’s something for everyone. Amidst this humongous gamut of snacking options, the American fast food outlets are a rage among the burger-and-fries aficionados who swear by their crispy coated chicken slathered with mayo and placed between buns. Fried chicken, burger, fries and wings aren’t traditionally a part of this city’s culinary extravaganza. In the last couple of years, however, things have started to change. A host of stand-alone outlets and a few franchises have started mushrooming in the city who have zeroed in on Kolkata’s newfound love for American fast food! Contrary to the Corporate U.S. fast food outlets, these newbie fried chicken outlets serve an almost similar taste but are surprisingly easier on the pocket. This has helped them engage with a wider clientele. In this issue of Kolkata on WHEELS, let’s visit some of these economical fried chicken outlets and see what’s on offer.
QFC by Fry Hut
A takeaway outlet that started back in October 2017, QFC is located on Harish Mukherjee Road in a neighbourhood dominated by vegetarian restaurants. They have managed to bring in a balanced taste to their fried chicken that is tender but not really fall-off-the-bone. Like the American fast food chains and their many Indian versions, seasoning is a hush affair with their spice-rub being the ‘magic formula’. It does create a sort of mysticism around the taste but the final concoction often falls short of the desired result. The crispy outer coating is a winner and QFC does not disappoint there although the chicken itself lacks any distinct flavour. There’s a hint of Indian spices which might suit well given that QFC is aiming for a more localised clientele. This presently includes the doctors and visitors at the nearby hospital and its hostel quarters. Being the only fried chicken outlet in the Bhowanipore neighbourhood, QFC gets a lot of new walk-in customers but they have to up their game to retain them.
Fried Chicken Rs 100 ( 2 pieces)
Chicken Burger Rs 70
21/1 Harish Mukherjee Road, Bhawanipore, Kolkata
Timing: 4 pm to 10 pm
Meat & Eat
A fast food chain by a South India-based company, Meat & Eat has 5 outlets in the northern fringes of the city. Promoted as a diner, Meat & Eat serves pizza, pasta and sandwich along with fried chicken and burgers. They have a refreshing selection of mojitos and milkshakes which is a welcome change from the regular cola available everywhere else.
What truly separates Meat & Eat from the other fried chicken outlets of the city is the seasoning and taste of their chicken. The sauce that is used as the main condiment in their burgers has the punchy rawness of mustard along with the blended smoothness of mayonnaise. It doesn’t have the universality of the condiments from the American fast food chains but it does have a flavourful kick which might be more than tempting to some people. This sauce is also provided as dips along with their fried chicken, which brings in a monotonous factor.
An interesting take in their menu are chicken fries that are the perfect alternatives to the more starchy potato fries. Minced meat is marinated with spices, pasted and made to look like fries before being fried and seasoned. A bit gimmicky surely but nonetheless a striking upgrade from regular fries!
Fried Chicken Rs 140 (2 pieces)
Chicken Burger Rs 80
175 Rishi Bankim Chandra Road, Central Jail Morh, Dum Dum, Kolkata
Timing: 11:30 am to 10:30 pm
Food Rocks Cafe
New Kasia Bagan Lane, beside Quest Mall is dotted with many fast food outlets selling fried chicken and kebabs but Food Rocks Cafe is definitely the pick of the lot. This 16-seater joint was started by Gulzar Ahmed back in December 2015 and they serve an almost identical taste to that of the American fast food chains. Fried chicken, burgers and kebabs are the bestselling items on their menu and are extremely pocket-friendly. The burgers are scrumptious and delectable and the meat and condiments inside are seasoned to perfection. The mayonnaise has the perfect balance of creaminess and doesn’t overpower the taste of the fried chicken while the bun is delightfully soft. The fried chicken at Food Rocks Cafe can best be described as the tender Indian cousin of the American fried chicken. The crunchy coating outside has a taste similar to the fried chicken from North India while the interior has a warm and luscious texture. Overall, Food Rocks Cafe has a great fusion of tastes to choose from and their cost-effective rates award them a must-visit status.
Fried Chicken Rs 130 (4 pieces)
Chicken Burger Rs 50
1, Samsul Huda Road, Ballygunge (lane next to Quest Mall)
Timing: 4 pm to 12 midnight
Tommy Miah’s Fried Chicken
The first of a chain of takeaway outlets soon to hit India, Tommy Miah’s Fried Chicken is a culinary brand by renowned celebrity chef Tommy Miah. A Bangladeshi-born chef, Tommy Miah is known for his exclusive line of restaurants in the UK and his entrepreneurial spirit. The fried chicken at Tommy Miah’s is surprisingly original with the recipe devised by the chef himself. The chicken is extremely tender and juicy with the perfect fall-off-the-bone texture. Prices are kept at an attractive rate which has helped in garnering interest from a wide range of walk-in customers.
Apart from regular fried chicken, a first-of-its-kind tandoori fried chicken is also in the offering which combines the best of both Indian and American flavours for a mouth-watering fare. At only three months old, Tommy Miah’s Fried Chicken has generated a lot of enthusiasm among the people of the Kasba locality. It remains to be seen how they expand their franchise in the city amidst the mushrooming fried chicken scene.
Fried Chicken Rs 120 (2 pieces)
Chicken Hot Wings Rs 120
398, Rajdanga Gold Park, Rashbehari Connector, Kasba
Timing: 3 pm to 9:45 pm