Hats off!

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Hatari stood the test of time, says a die-hard foodie Sudeshna Chatterjee

I have gone to this place several times many moons ago. Few days ago, when I climbed up the stair case, nostalgia seeped in. Yes, it is the same place though now decked up a little differently. But it retains its position of a major crowd-puller in this side of the town. On a Wednesday night, we had to wait for our turn. That is Hatari. A restaurant that now serves Chinese, North Indian and Sea Food. Located in Triangular Park, Baguihati, Behala and Golf Green in Kolkata, I have always frequented (since the seventies as a toddler) the Triangular Park outlet and have always ordered for Chinese food.

This time, we ordered for a chicken mushroom soup. There is something about Hatari soup. I have never felt the inclination of using any condiments. The only thing I would permit myself is sprinkling some black pepper. The soup, the piping hot creamish broth has the umami flavour of mushrooms with succulent chunks of chicken… the taste is fresh and heavenly….I could just go on having soups, but then, the chicken lollypops were served. While the lollypops were way too fried, I loved the tomato chutney that came with the dish.  It has the flavour of both honey and garlic which makes the chutney taste exotic.

The rice noodles and fried rice, each were ordered in mixed flavours  (chicken, prawn and egg) were truly awesome. The taste is still uncorrupted, in the sense that no one flavour has overwhelmed the rest.  I particularly loved the taste of prawn because there is always the temptation by many outlets to overcook it to suit the Indian palate. We had ordered Mongolian chicken (dry) to complement the main dish. The stir fried chicken with pine nuts was just the perfect foil with the main course. The cool soda lime washed off the last remnants of the meal with a hearty burp.

That the service is prompt and the quantity is good add up to the brownie points.

Yes, Hatari stood the test of time. Born in 1966 and named after the Hollywood film Hatari!, it was the same restaurant where actress Jaya Bhaduri would come before marrying the legend, Amitabh Bachchan. Filmmakers Mrinal Sen and Rishikesh Mukherjee were also said to have frequented the place as were danseuse Amala Shankar ( wife of the legendary danseur Uday Shankar and sister-in-law of Sitar maestro Ravi Shankar) and her daughter and danseuse-actress Mamata Shankar. How did I know all this? It was pasted on the wall like a notice. What is particularly heartening is that the owner maintains that the restaurant will never have any bar so that the family crowd could continue.

Touch wood.

(Rs 1000 for two people on an average; meal price is paid by the reviewer).

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