“First there was Three-Sixty in Delhi, then there came Three-Sixty-One in Gurgaon. We went a bit further and came up with Three-Sixty-Three in Kolkata“. AP smiles and passes me the platter of sushi while RK angles her camera to get a better shot of it.
I ignore her attempts to photograph the maki, and pull a salmon nigiri towards me, plump and pink, douse it in a dab of soy, and then pop it into my mouth. The salmon melts on my tongue, the pure taste of the sea unmistakable. I quickly ask for a second helping of the salmon and the tuna because one is clearly not enough.
The sunlit space of Three-Sixty-Three, The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata is prepped for its afternoon lunch buffet. At 1450/- plus taxes for their lunch buffet (without alcohol, mind you. Its also 1650/- plus taxes for their Sunday brunch, which becomes 2250/- plus taxes if you choose to add alcohol to your brunch), the spacious dining room provides a comprehensive menu which is neatly divided into several sections. Guests can pick from the salad bar, which dominates the center of the large room, or choose to go to the Sushi corner.
There’s a wood-fire pizza oven where fresh pizzas are made every few minutes. We go and check the different kinds of pizzas being made and order one with an assortment of vegetables.
The pizza arrives within a few minutes, and of course, I had to stand right outside the oven to see how it was being made. The pizza has a good deal of fresh mozzarella and a smattering of Kalamata olives. The chef appears magically and explains the necessity to use an assortment of unusual ingredients which were present, yet rarely highlighted, because understated luxury is the sign of true elegance.
I drift towards the salad bar, and of course, end up looking at the Tuna Tataki which beckons me, and I, poor fool, am unable to resist the lure of the siren of the sea. The tuna is barely cooked, serve with a little bit of sprouts, and a sweet sauce which has a good deal of citrus, ginger, and a hit of sweetness to offset the tuna’s creaminess.
I temporarily ignore greens in favor of the cold cuts, spearing a couple of slices of cold turkey (yes, I heard it too), ham, a sliver of Edam and a bit of Brie, because cheese and meat is perfect with a glass of white wine, and that is what I am drinking today. The 2014-bottle of the Italian Chenin Blanc is crisp (I completely forgot the name of the vineyard though), mild but not too light, and is slightly dry – a great recommendation from the sommelier who also makes me another drink with cucumber, sugar, and gin. After a couple of glasses, I’m slightly high, but that’s the spirit of this buffet- to relax and have fun while eating.
The mains are limited, yet caters to most taste buds. There’s a simply cooked Chicken Biryani, some Sarson Mahi Tikka, Daal Amritsari, Roast Chicken with Vegetables, Methi Murgh, and a number of vegetarian dishes which are nice, but apart from the tender mutton, not extraordinary. I am tempted by the desserts at this point, so I naturally gravitate towards the other end of the room, my feet following the commands given straight from the heart.
I begin with the cheesecake, which is not really baked, but is quite nice and cold, and not overly sweet, which is one of the things I look for in one. I pick up an eclair, believing that the layer of cream on top would echo within, but alas! There’s naught to be found within – the eclairs are hollow, although the cream on top more than compensates for the lack of substance inside.
I love the simplicity of the tea cake with the Royal Icing glaze on top and the generous smattering of sliced and roasted almonds on top. One can go wrong with these desserts so easily and its a treat to see the ones which turn out perfect.
My other favorite from their extensive dessert offering, strangely enough, is the chocolate bark with dried fruits and nuts. I like the fact that the chocolate is plain milk, with a bit of tang supplied by dried cranberries and some crunch from the nuts.
The lunch scene of Three-Sixty-Three in The Oberoi Grand is quite promising, and I have already been there twice because the food is good, the service impeccable, and the price quite reasonable. Plus, they have sushi!
Disclaimer: Poorna Banerjee was invited to visit Three-Sixty-Three at The Oberoi Grand by the management.