The Salt House: A Promising European Restaurant in Kolkata

Prior to my recent trip to Kolkata, I have been seeing a lot of posts on social media about The Salt House from trustworthy friends like Rukshana and Anindya. The latest European restaurant to open in the city, it serves European cuisine with a twist, incorporating local ingredients into the dishes as much as possible. The innovatively styled dishes in their posts were some more aspects which interested me, and as a result, in spite of my busy schedule, I readily accepted an invitation to review the restaurant during my short stay Kolkata.

Bhetki Roulade
Bhetki Roulade served with Sauteed Mushrooms

The restaurant is located on the top floor of a building at the busy Theatre Road and Rawdon Street crossing. There is a nice rooftop al fresco seating option, but since the weather was very cloudy with chances of pre-summer showers, we decided to seek the secure refuge of inside seating.  Later we discovered that they also have a glass house which will soon house the bar.

Chef Auroni Mukherjee is heading the culinary team in this restaurant. After a decent stint in Mumbai, where he had fashioned the food at a well-known café as well as curated special Bengali meals for select audiences as a home chef, Auroni has a different bent of mind regarding the food he wants to create. He is wedded to the concept of locavore, with well-known dishes having an amount of substitution by local produce, without sacrificing the overall theme of it. Thus ideas like Gobindobhog Risotto with Kumro Phool (pumpkin flowers) or Mishti Doi Parfait served with Nolen Gur are conceived to present a very different take on continental preparations instilling Bengali flavours in them.

Chicken Tortellini in Broth
Chicken Tortellini in Broth

I had a long talk with the Chef and could see the passion he brings to the table, as a result really looking forward to the meal.  I was told that apart from their usual favourites, they would also present some items from their Bengali New Year special menu.

We started with Chicken Tortellini in Broth. The broth had rich chicken stock in it lending it a lot of taste.  I was told two types of chicken were used in this preparation, chicken leg meat for stuffing the tortellini and rooster meat for the broth.  This was followed by a salad of spring berries, blue cheese and a collection of Bengali greens like sarshe shaak and mulo (radish) shaak.  The combination was a delightful experiment and worked well with me. When we substitute ingredients by local ones, there is always a chance of the recipe misfiring, but this was not at all the case here.

Spring Berries Salad
Spring Berries Salad

A white thin crust Pizza was served next. The lightweight pizza had truffle and brie cheese and topped with pomegranates. Though I am not much of a pizza person, I tried a couple of slices of the same. It was not great, but not bad either.

Thin Crust White Pizza

The best item of the day came in next, Agnolotti Pasta pockets stuffed with prawns and served in a pesto sauce. This was garnished with two popular Bengali leafy vegetables – my favourite lal shaak as well as kolmi. The pesto powered by coriander leaves was a perfect foil to the seafood taste of the pasta. This is something which is a must try here, though it was a poila boisakh special item, it should be on the regular menu.

Agnolotti Pasta Served with Pesto Sauce

Bhetki Roulade served on sautéed mushrooms and served with a slice of gondhoraj Lemon was served on a buttery pepper veloute. Good quality fish and nutritious oyster mushrooms made the dish a nice jugalbandi. The final main course served was Slow Cooked Pork Belly with bok choy and kasundi.  I was also very impressed with one of the sides – apple slaw in mustard and mentally made a note to replicate at home. Some of the best pork in the country is available in Kolkata, and I always look forward to a few porkaholic meals during my visit here. The preparation of the dish did full justice to the quality of meat.

Slow Cooked Pork Belly
Slow Cooked Pork Belly

There were three desserts to round off the meal. Lebu Cheesecake was a nice concept, though I would have loved the dish to be more lemony. Carrot fondant served with ice cream was delicious. The Doi Parfait served with berries and granola had maple syrup as an accompaniment. I had heard that usually Nolen gur is served with this dish, but due to the gur season being over, the chef had replaced it with maple syrup.

Lebu Cheesecake (Top), Doi Parfait (Middle) and Carrot Fondant (Bottom)

Overall, some very satisfying food. The prawn and the pork dishes along with the soup were the clear winners. The other dishes were worthwhile too. The place is not very expensive, a meal for two will cost between Rs 2000-2500. Once the bar opens, small bites like ham & cheddar croquettes, beer battered shrimps and bhetki fingers will pair well with alcohol. I am sure Chef Auroni will continue to innovate and provide us many more options using local flavours in the times to come.  As the restaurant stabilizes I would love to see some really aggressive experiments from him.

The Salt House
6th Floor.
Shakespeare Point
40, Shakespeare Sarani (Rawdon Street Crossing)
Telephone 98367 32154

Disclaimer: The review is based on an invite from the restaurant. Some pics are courtesy the restaurant.

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