A culinary heritage of Kolkata, Peter Cat has been around for over 40 years. I first heard of it from V (who else?!), whose last visit was over 20 years ago. We planned for a visit, a late lunch, so as to avoid the lunch hour crowd.
Little did we know, there is hardly ever a lull with Peter Cat.
We arrived past 2pm, put down our names on the waiting list... and waited. We were told it'll take 20 minutes for a table. Unfortunately, they do not take reservations, and poor V's mom had to sit on the edge of a pillar. Eh hello, Peter Cat, at least have the decency to provide seats if you are not willing to take reservations?!
A congregation of both locals and tourists, dutifully recording their presence at Peter Cat (as is yours truly!).
While waiting, the group of expectant diners swelled in size; I overheard a conversation between the host and a customer - waiting time has increased to 40 minutes! We were lucky just to arrive ahead 5-10 minutes!
Finally, our names are called and we were ushered to a table at the back of the restaurant. Inside, the lighting is dim, but the setting cosy. Servers are friendly, and looked regal in their outfits.
We both agreed the cat on the menu card looked more like a koala than a cat.
Lighting so dim the photo turned out noisy. Or perhaps iPhone7 needs to work on their low light photos :-)
We placed our orders, and the waiting resumed. Service is quite slow here and we only got our food some 40 minutes later. That's more than an hour of waiting around!
Top to bottom: Kabuli Naan (naan bread with stuffings), Nalli Gosht (lamb shank) and Chelo Kababs.
Chelo Kababs are Peter Cat's signature dish, (under the "Aphrodisiacs For the Harem" section, hehe) -
Special Kebabs prepared in rare spices, blended with Persian herbs, and served on a bed of rice with butter and an egg.
The "Original" Chelo Kabab comes with a combination of chicken and mutton kebab, long-grained rice (most likely basmati), a dollop of butter, and a fried egg. While Vinnie liked the Chelo Kebabs, I wasn't all that wild about it. The rice with butter felt very greasy; and while chicken kebab is very flavourful, I felt like there was something off about the mutton kebab. I also bit into something hard in the mutton kebab, that might have explained my lack of enthusiasm for it. The poached egg also does not complement the dish, I felt.
On the other hand, the Nalli Gosht was excellent. The gravy is rich and beautifully flavoured, the mutton falling off the bones and deliciously tender. We pretty much wiped the dish clean, mopping up the last drop of gravy with naan.
I got my caffeine dose and dessert all at the same time. Saw "Coffee with Ice-Cream" and made a mental note to order it later. Ice-cream was chocolate chip, but coffee tasted like instant stuff. Not saying it's bad, but I think I'll go for affogato next time....
Post meal: we both had upset stomachs later that evening and remnants of it the following day.... Not sure if it was the richness of the spices that our stomachs couldn't handle, or the greasiness of the rice......
18A Park Street
(Around the block, right turn at Flury's)
Opens: Daily, 11:00am - 12:00am