On our final night in Kolkata we went to Kewpies for dinner. Tucked away down a narrow lane off busy Elgin Road, it is the kind of place you have to know about to find. Thanks to Lonely Planet and other assorted sources - and the fact that it was within striking distance of our hotel, www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/tips/33343 - we decided to give it a try.
Kewpies couldn't have been more different. They've knocked a couple of ancient buildings together with interconnecting doors, to form a warren of dining areas. An odd assortment of Victorian and Indian furniture clutters up the place. It has charm and originality in spades. The menu is simple, just a list of set meals ranging from a basic thali and rice to a full-on banquet. Jamie wanted the banquet, I wanted the basic meal. We settled for something nearer my end of the spectrum.
A few individual dishes, all vegetarian, were placed on the table in the ubiquitous brick-coloured un-fired pots you see everywhere in Kolkata. The rice came separately. It didn't look like much, and we hoped the dishes would be re-filled. The food was fresh, spicy, delicious and surprisingly filling, for me. Jamie clung to the hope that the bowls would be re-filled. They were whisked away, and we were left wondering if that was it.
Next came a pile of pappads and a selection of pickles. We tucked in. The pappads were light and crispy, and the pickles and chutneys homemade and tasty. Once every crumb and smear had been devoured we were presented with two blocks of white sweetened cheese. Our waiter told us it was 'like ricotta'. When we asked him if he'd ever tried ricotta he blushed, but told us that other people had assured him of this fact.
He was right.
Next we were given bowls of brown curd. Jamie doesn't like yogurt at the best of times. Although it didn't look particularly appetising, we discovered the colour came from the carob used to flavour this delicious, creamy pudding.
We thought we'd finished, but just as we were getting ready to leave, we were presented with the restaurant's own variety of paan. Zingy flavours sparkled in our mouths as we bit into the leaves. Heavenly.
2, Elgin Lane, Lala Rajpat Rai Sarani Kolkata, West Bengal 700020, India
Hours: 12.30-3pm & 7.30-11pm Tue-Sun
Google map: bit.ly/xjcD6Y
Send your feedback or queries to email@example.com