A New Modern Diner In Kolkata Makes Fusion More Approachable

A host of approachable east-meets-west pairings await your attention at Kolkata’s Madam G. The modern Indian diner located on the second floor of Lee Road’s Altitude building pushes the envelope on fusion food, without radicalising it too much. “Fusion is so much more interesting when you can offer authenticity,” says chef Tanmoy Ghosh. 

“We wanted to share real regional tastes familiar to people, so travelling was important when we made the menu, experiencing the markets and bazaars to understand the palates. We are trying to source ingredients as well, we get our Chorizo and byadgi chillies from Goa, and we also source in our Naga chillies. The chilli-pineapple pairing is such a staple in Naga cuisine, we wanted to recreate that” he adds.

Owned by Drishleen Sethi (who also co-owns Park Street’s Ping’s) the 97-cover diner has been designed by multi-disciplinary artist Eeshaan Kashyap, and has clever pops of colours peering out of a stylised brown and neutral palette. The menu has been designed well, it doesn’t have too many competing flavours and features some staple recipes from Coorg, Maharashtra, Goa, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. 

We started out with Madam G’s Margharita which puts a spin on classic margarita with a homemade lime leaf liqueur. If you want something sharper, go for the signature Ball At Banaras which has a gulkand-infused rum and sambuca, mixed with barrel-aged peaty whiskey, amaro and chocolate bitters. 

We also spotted some milk and fat-washed options on the cocktail menu; the Coorg Story is a sweet and salty concoction made with fat-washed whiskey, sweet vermouth, bitters, caramel, Kahlua and coffee foam and the eclectic Call Me Madam G has a gin base blended with passionfruit, citrus, vanilla, coconut milk and milk wash and amra foam.

Mayfair’s Ghugni, Ghevar Burrata At The Chaat Bar

Madam G picks up on the growing trend of chaat being served alongside haute cuisine; the selection of chaat on the menu is a happy attempt at rethinking the familiar flavours of desi chaat ingredients by invoking nostalgia. The show-stealing Ghevar Burrata chaat is unexpectedly chic; a pouch of gooey melted burrata over a light, biscuit-y ghevar, topped with cherry tomatoes, edible flowers, microgreens and date chutney.

“We were thinking along the line of nostalgia, about the ingredients that go with each other. It got me thinking about what goes well with tomatoes, we’ve seen tomato chutney being made in our homes and it usually pairs well with dates. So the burrata chat has a date-tomato chutney and a wild berry chutney and you can expect to taste the flavours of a chaat,” Ghosh tells us.

Brekkie Bests: Appam Benedict, Dosa Waffle With Chicken Ghee Roast

The small plates segment lines up some winning flavours from the south, with a spin on the unusual ingredients. The first item Chef Ghosh recommended from the small plates menu was the Appam Benedict, which comes with the options of spicy keema (mutton or soy) and Goan chorizo. The meat is served on a fluffy, white appam and is topped with egg and a hollandaise sauce. 

Then there’s a Malabari Aglio E Olio that’s made with tiger prawns, curry leaves and byadgi chillies, a Mutton Kola Urandai that makes use of Southern chilli aioli and the brunch-ready Dosa Waffle With Chicken Ghee Roast. An exciting take on an American soul food staple, the waffle dosas come with a zesty chicken ghee roast topped with sunny-side-up eggs and crispy curry leaves. It’s exciting and yet not unfamiliar. 

The sourdough kulcha bar is an unexpected hit and serves up crispy sourdough kulchas, loaded with toppings and served up like a flatbread. We opted for a four-cheese chilli and truffle option which comes with Bandel cheese and a hint of microgreens; it’s clever, shareable, and has the perfect bite.

Haute Highlights

Kolkata Beetroot Chop: A callback to the ‘Calcutta’-style vegetable chop, it has pickled beets, masala Feta, kasundi aioli and crunchy quinoa

Andhra Mango & Chilli Paniyaram: Light and spicy with the right amount of creaminess this Andhra-inspired Mango & Chilli Paniyaram is paired with Japanese Mayonnaise and Moringa Podi. 

Coorgi Pork Curry: Made with Kachampuli and whole spices, the curry is flavourful and well-rounded. Pair it with a classic Appam

Madam G’s healthy Chena Poda Cheesecake (With Salted Jaggery Toffee Sauce): The dense, creamy shareable cheesecake looks and tastes irresistible and is the perfect marriage of East and West.

Kokum & Chilli: Effervescent and complex in palate, this ice cream is a perfect palate cleanser as well!