Mediterranean Cuisine: wins over Kolkata

The very word ‘Mediterranean’ conjures up a vision of clear blue sea and the picturesque locations that surround it. Covering three continents and a total surface area of about 25,10,000 sq km, it is easily one of the most vastly diverse places on this planet. Owning to this great diversity, the entire Mediterranean region is home to people of varied culture and traditions who have their unique lifestyles and of course, food habits. It is safe to say that in general, Mediterranean cuisine is favored by people all around the globe for its use of fresh ingredients and aromatic herbs and spices. But what stands out the most is the variation in the cuisine. Mouthwatering dishes from European countries like Italy, Spain and Greece; Middle Eastern countries like Turkey, Lebanon and Syria; and North African countries like Morocco, Algeria and Libya constitute what is popularly known as Mediterranean cuisine. For our 100th issue, we review the top 2 Mediterranean cuisine restaurants of Kolkata that serve authentic and delectable delicacies that are part of its renowned cooking

The Factory Outlet
The Factory Outlet, more popularly known by its acronym TFO, opened its gates in 2014. Along with Mediterranean cuisine, the restaurant also offers Oriental, Mexican and Italian cuisines as well to its patrons. Located on the fourth floor of the Westside Mall in Camac Street, the entrance to this restaurant is from the bar side. The interiors of TFO have been painted a pleasing shade of pink with chandeliers of the same colour and the wooden overtones from the beams on the walls serve as perfect contrast.

Coming to the food, we started off with one of the most popular dishes on their menu, Veg Mezze Platter. It is an assorted platter of crunchy falafels on kuboos bread, grissini – a crispy pencil-sized dip stick made with parmesan cheese, sesame sprinkled thin and crispy lavash crackers, Arabian pickles, fattoush and four dips that go with everything – hummus, tzatziki, lebaneh and babaganouj. The presentation of the platter was exquisite to say the least, the flavours were mild and the taste really bowls you over with their perfect blend. The best thing about this dish was the dips – four different flavours that go really well with the Falafels, Grissini and Lavash crackers.

Taste Tip: Dip the Arabian pickle in Hummus or Lebaneh for a mouthwatering combo.

After the Mezze Platter, we were served Marhaba Chicken Shawarma Platter. Perfectly grilled chicken, spread over lettuce on a sizzler plate with a dollop of butter added on the sides for the smoky effect. It comes with three pita breads, hummus dip and salad toppings consisting of fresh lettuce, cucumber, onions and tomatoes. The pita breads are hollow in the middle and you can improvise by adding vegetables of your choice according to your preferences. The meat is soft and succulent and every bite reveal a rich texture, thanks to the fresh ingredients and hummus dip.

Taste Tip: Add equal portions of grilled chicken, onions, lettuce, tomato and cucumber for a balanced and delightful flavour.

This restaurant combines good food with great ambience. With foot tapping pop music being played in in the background throughout the day, TFO is ideally suited for a perfect weekend lunch date with your friends over an exotic meal.

Please note, even though we were served the delicious Red Velvet Cheese Wheel as dessert and a Cosmotini and Bubblegum and Candy Floss Mojito as drinks, we could not review it since they are not part of the Mediterranean cuisine. But, owing to their great taste and presentation, we highly recommend you try these items as well.

The Factory Outlet
5th Fl, Westside Building, Block D, 22, Camac Street
Telephone: 033 22811313
Price for 2: Rs 1400
Timing: Noon – Midnight

 

Mio Amore
As one enters Mio Amore, they get the feeling of having been transported to the Middle East. The ambience perfectly matches the cuisine with walls painted in an off-white shade and contrasted as well as accentuated by the dark chocolate brown furniture. The bar is decorated with Arabic lamps hanging from the ceiling and lighting up a soft glow and casting a dark shadow in the corners. Overall it is mesmerizing, particularly when you realise the detailing that has been achieved – even the napkins on the tables are of contrasting colours and arranged row wise. The soothing soft music adds to the charm of the place, leaving the guests warmly cocooned in comfort.

We arrived at Mio Amore during lunch hours and started off with the Turkish delicacy of Potates Kebab. Served over rice, the potatoes are stuffed with a filling of onions, tomato sauce and vegetables and roasted over skewers. On the outside, the potatoes have a subtle char glaze that imparts a smoky flavour. The stuffing inside is mashed to perfection and has an overall creamy texture. The light flavoured aromatic rice with cashews goes well with the spicy and tasty potatoes and leaves behind a rich taste in the mouth.

Then we were served another Turkish dish called Pilich Dolmasi which is stuffed chicken roast with nuts, herbs and a special sauce. The delicate flavour yet the rich taste achieved makes this dish so delicious. The sauce, cream, cashew and roasted chicken combine to give a mild taste and you experience a burst of natural flavours with each bite of chicken. The chicken is tender and the special sauce they use has an aromatic effect. The dish is served with a fresh vegetable salad that compliments the protein rich meat pretty well.

Last but not the least, we were served a Moroccan dish called Choui Chermoala and definitely it was the highlight of our visit. The garnish was simply awesome. This dish is a delight for all the spice lovers. Moroccan food is known for its use of spices and this dish uses a mix of onion, garlic, parsley, coriander, cumin, saffron, olive oil and lemon juice mixed with harissa. This spice mix is then used as an marinade to a whole leg of a lamb and roasted to perfection. It is then served with a generous sprinkle of cashews, slices of bell peppers and golden fried onions and the taste is heavenly. The meat is soft, tender and retains the scent of the lamb which is a major USP of this dish. The spices are not overwhelming and goes delightfully well with the lamb. This dish is a treat for all lamb lovers.

Taking into account the ambience, the service and most importantly the food, there are no better Mediterranean cuisine restaurants in Kolkata other than TFO and Mio Amore. So, the next time you’re on a lookout for some exotic food, drop by these two restaurants that will give you a plethora of mouth-watering options and an unmatched experience without burning a hole in your pocket.

Mio Amore
4th Fl, Mani Square Mall,
164/1, EM Bypass, Kankurgachi
Telephone: 033 23202668
Price for 2: Rs 1200
Timing: 12:30 pm – 11:00 pm

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