while 17th ave is known for being the centre of calgary’s social activity, the laundry list of bars, restaurants and cafes that line the street lack vibrant curb appeal. that is, until now. nestled on the north side of the street, just east of 4th, Calcutta Cricket Club brings a bold and cheerful face to the red mile.
the mint exterior with hot pink writing gives diners a playful introduction to what they are going to experience inside. with its indian 60s social club-meets-the golden girls aesthetic – designed by local calgary artist Maya Gohill – you can expect a chic, tropical, and nostalgic feel that is truly one of a kind.
pretty aside, it is a restaurant, so let’s get down to the food. calcutta cricket club serves bengali cuisine that represents the region’s complex geography, history and culture. the menu draws inspiration from humble migrant street-food stalls to legendary brick-and-mortar clubs, and finally from family recipes that have been passed down from generations.
from curries to masala, tikka to biryani, the menu features a variety of bengali favourites.
one thing calcutta cricket club is known for is kati rolls. tandoor grilled meats or paneer is wrapped in a fresh, flaky paratha. they are served with lime, onions, chaat masala and green chilis, and maggi hot and sweet on the side.
if you’re looking for something lighter, drinking food as they call it, try the papri chaat. the cold dish combines semolina crisps, spiced potatoes, yogurt, onions, chickpeas, mint, tamarind, chaat masala, sev and pomegranate.
one of my favourite from the ‘bar snacks’ menu is the chili chicken. it’s their salty-sweet take on the hakka classic. fried chicken sauteed with ginger, garlic, soy, maggi and green chilis. it’s got the spicy kick you want and all the flavour to go with it!
if you’re looking for something fancy, try one of their traditional celebratory dishes like the lamb shank kosha mangsho. this bengali sunday classic consists of slowly braised lamb shank served with traditional mishti pulao (rice dish) with cashews, saffron and raisins.
keeping the menu short and carefully curated allows the opportunity to showcase local producers and focus on quality ingredients. this same mantra translates into the beverages.
with an assortment of beer and wine by the glass or the bottle, you’ll be able to find whatever you fancy to accompany your meal. or belly up to the bar to try one of their hand-crafted cocktails. maybe the rajdhani express – named after the train – which includes rhum martinique, darjeeling, cashew, lemon, whites and orange flower. non-alcoholic options include nitro chai, thums up (traditional indian cola) and limca (indian citrus soda).
you can’t make reservations, but the seating is ample. unlike many spots along 17th, i don’t think you’ll have to wait hours to get a spot. while the food is delicious, i feel that this restuarant will be known for its instagramable interior.
dinner dates wanted, are you a fan of indian cuisine?
photos courtesy of Calcutta Cricket Club, the newest restaurant venture from the team at Thank You Hospitality (native tongues taqueria, two penny). not sponsored, just delicious.