I have known Sujith Reddy for almost a decade now. A close family friend, he was CFO of an IT company till a few years back, when he quit his job to follow his entrepreneurial dream. Two things stand out about Sujith – his knowledge about all things Tech and his passion for food.
Of food and friends
Dinner at his house is always an event in itself; something to always look forward to for he is a hands-on cook who dishes out the most amazing dishes and desserts. I have been witness to his love for food and the pains he takes to make sure to get genuine ingredients and the appropriate equipment (utensils), which always make it an awesome experience to enjoy his hospitality.
So if its biryani that he is serving, he would source the Handi and the spices from Old Delhi, and if it is a Thai themed dinner, he would go all the way to INA market or even to the other end of the town-Gurgaon to get the kaffir limes, galangal and lemongrass etc. The result would be a Thai Red Curry with the most authentic taste and we his friends getting to taste the real Thai food without having to make that trip to Bangkok.
So we were thrilled when he invited us to dinner last evening but a tad disappointed when told that the venue was not his home. He would be taking us out to a restaurant. Which one, we asked? It’s a surprise, he said and asked us to reach Sector 50, Noida. Imagine our surprise when he took us to Kalpak, a yet to be opened restaurant, and we came to know that it is a place which he himself is setting up.
The scene at Kalpak was something like this – A balmy September evening, pleasant breeze blowing at the second floor terrace, warm lighting, well laid out canopied tables amid big size lush green palms. And topping it all – a virtual cornucopia of good food.
The starter drink – lemonade but it’s not your usual lime soda; it has a kala khatta flavour that adds to the refreshing quotient of the drink.
We were served some very innovative kababs – I especially liked the Ganderi kabab, served on a sugarcane stick and the Money balls, which is basically vegetables & nuts wrapped in the thinnest and crunchiest crust, fried to perfection, a definite yay. While red and green chutney is the standard accompaniment for snacks across restaurants, what caught my eye was the fresh beetroot chutney along with the usual suspects. The taste was a thumbs-up too. The stuffed mushroom tikka was also an unusual dish, what with the yummy nuts filling inside.
Biryani in the main course was one of the best I’ve had in years. And it is also served in the typical earthern Handi in which it is cooked, with the dough sealing the mouth of the handi and all. If it is Sujith’s venture, I can vouch that the taste is going to be authentic. And last but not the least, the steamed pomfret is definitely to die for, soft and flavourful in each and every bite.
A fitting end to the meal was a Paan, no not the traditional one, but all the flavors of Paan combined into a single Shot – A Paan shot! Interesting, isn’t it?
Winter is on its way. Now I know where I will go to enjoy delicious food basking in the warmth of the winter sun….I’m going to head to Kalpak.