Now I don’t profess to know anything about Indian cuisine, my palate is not at all refined. I do however love a blooming good Korma or Tikka Masala. That’s about my level of curry knowledge if I’m honest. So when I was invited to the Calcutta club on Maid Marian Way I was excited to get out of my comfort zone. As I was taking part in Veganuary (Going vegan for the whole month of January) I was only interested in the meat free options and was happy to see that there was a full vegan menu on their website. Rated number 1 on TripAdvisor for Indian Restaurants in Nottingham, I was expecting big things.
The Calcutta club is inspired by the world’s oldest polo club in Calcutta. They say on their website:
Our desire is to treat you like the Maharaja’s of India when dining at the Polo Club, making your meal and experience memorable and enjoyable, over and above expectations each and every time.
So did they do that?
As we approached the door, it magically opened for us and someone was immediately there to greet us and take our coats. The restaurant is large and airy with a gorgeous olive green covering the walls. There is also a large drawing of a polo match on the wall by the table we sat at. It isn’t styled in the style you would expect from an Indian restaurant which really gives it a point of difference and the ceilings are so high, giving the place a feeling of understated wealth. There is also a good mix of table sizes. Romantic twos against the window looking out to Maid Marian Way, all the way up to tables of twelves. You get the feeling that this place is ready for a huge party to wander in at any moment. The darker corners of the restaurant would be perfect for a romantic dinner for two, but doesn’t help when taking photos of the food ha! The thing I loved most was the space between the tables. Although there were tables around us, they were far enough away for me not to be able to hear every single word of the other diners conversations. I hate being squashed into a restaurant and this certainly gave us room to breathe.
We dined on a Tuesday and although we arrived at 5.30pm the restaurant already had bums on seats. By 6pm it had filled very nicely.
As we sat down, I asked to look at the vegan menu that I had seen on their menu. Unfortunately they didn’t have a printed version and I think they are missing a trick. Instead someone had to come and go through all the options that were vegan, or could be made vegan from the main menu. I would definitely recommend getting a full vegan menu printed up!
For starter I went for Chana Puri, chickpeas on a bed of puri bread with red onion, coriander and a tamarind sauce. The chickpeas were coated in Indian spices (a hint of turmeric and cumin I think) and lightly fried before being placed on the puri bread, a deliciously deep fried base. I love chickpeas, I love bread and I love Indian food – a real winner for me and something I would usually choose from the menu regardless of whether I was vegan or not.
Unfortunately there were no dessert options available (I would usually have opted for Pistachio Kulfi, the magical Indian ice cream, and my favourite ever dessert) but to be honest I really didn’t need it as I was full. Petit fours were offered from the tiered cake stand presented to us prior to the bill, which I thought was a lovely touch.
My experience of dining at Calcutta Club was great. The building was beautiful, the food was delicious and the price is exceptional value for money. My starter should have been £5.70 and the main £14.95. I took half the main course home as the portion size was too large for me to manage. It made for a great lunch the following day, the flavour even more intense. The vegan menu has a wide variety of dishes and the only criticism of the experience was the lack of printed vegan menu. However the gentleman that serving us knew the menu inside out which made choosing a dish a lot easier with his help. Calcutta Club does vegan food exceptionally well and I can’t wait to go back to try some carnivorous scran.
*I was invited by Calcutta Club to review the experience for my blog. However, as usual my thoughts haven’t been influenced by the fact that I dined for free.