Would you follow up a plate of delicately rolled sushi with a wafer-crisp square of pizza glistening with truffle oil?
At Please Don’t Talk, a fascinating gastropub in Camac Street, doing that would be a great idea. This quirky and spacious eatery charms it’s patrons right at the entrance. With appropriately captivating art on the wall, it gives a foodie’s eye something to feast on even before they step into the restaurant.
Inside, the decor is best described as a cross between a classroom and a nightclub. There’s a gigantic blackboard overlooking the bar; the markers of adolescent education are scattered tastefully (if somewhat confusedly) across the space.
You find yourself walking into vaulting space with exposed brick, eclectic decor and lounge-style lighting. A few preventive protocols for Covid were in place – distances seating, some of the staff donned masks, but you didn’t see anyone offering sanitizer. You had to whip out your own.
After being seated at a rather darkened corner (no other tables available), I looked over a menu that, truthfully, didn’t inspire much promise. It offered everything from kebabs to pizza to hummus (6 different variations) to Mexican fries to noodles. Generally, a kitchen that tries to cook everything doesn’t end up cooking anything well. Thankfully in this case, the first impression turned out to be incorrect.
The only real downside we had to encounter was the absolutely atrocious live band hired for the night. Somehow, they managed to butcher every song they covered – from Backstreet Boys to Dylan to Kishore Kumar. Whoever hired them probably shouldn’t be making musical decisions. If it wasn’t for the food, and the fact that we were seated away from the stage they were caterwauling on, every good thing about the evening (and there were many) would have been cancelled out.
First came the drinks – two gin based cocktails sitting pretty in clunky glasses. The Negroni (gin with a generous splash of pomegranate juice) was appropriately sugary without covering up the alcohol’s heady kick. The other cocktail – gin with green tea and elderflower was a miss on the hot-or-miss scale, thanks to it’s syrupy sweetness clashing with the dryness of the liquor.
The food, however, lifted our mood right from the beginning. To start off, delicate cream cheese and truffle dumplings smothered us with its luxurious taste and texture. Every bite was an explosion of cheesy indulgence, and four dumplings took less than 10 seconds to disappear.
Next came the chicken teriyaki rolls. Good sushi, as any self-respecting foodie will tell you, is hard to find. The rice-snuggled rolls here certainly wouldn’t win a contest, but they did enough to hit the right spots. Sweet-ish rice packing a morsel of tender, flavourful chicken and a sliver of cucumber – to be dipped in a salty soy sauce and touched by wasabi with a few shavings of pickled ginger.
Your tongue will thank you for this.
When the pizza (Funghi Truffle) arrived, we knew it was going to be piece de resistance. Thin crust crisped to perfection, coated with a generous lash of truffle oil, sauteed mushrooms and roasted garlic. As with the best food in the world, a few choice ingredients, melded and made right, turned this platter of dough and cheese into tangible happiness.
Since the pizza was light (another of its marvellous qualities), we felt like we could pack away a few helpings of pasta. Opting for the Pollo Funghi (penne pasta in a white sauce laden with chicken and mushroom), we found ourselves being treated to a hearty bowl of cheesy delight. The paste was exactly al dente, the garlic bread was buttery with a crunch, and the shredded parmesan on top was a playful taste that tickled your taste buds and your fancy in equal measure.
By now, our stomachs were reaching the edge of fullness, but we couldn’t leave without dessert. The restaurant had an interesting spread of options – darsaan, ice cream, brownie, churros and so much more. We chose the Churros simply because this Spanish-Portugese dessert isn’t too common on Kolkata menus.
It’s hard to go wrong with deep fried dough, especially when coated with sugar and accompanied by three varieties of sweet dip – milk chocolate, dark chocolate and caramel. The churros melted in our mouths, were too fast to disappear and left us craving for more. If it wasn’t for the copious platterfuls of dishes we put away before this, we probably would have ordered another round of dessert.
Happily, the sumptuous meal came priced quite reasonably : INR 3000 for 2 very hungry people. Add to that the wacky, fun ambience, the polite staff, and the timely service – and you have a place that is perfect for dinner dates, be it with that cute guy next door or your best friends in the world.
Please Don’t Talk deserves your patronage. They have plenty of good and diverse food to choose from and their decor makes for highly Instagrammable picture-taking – everything you need to fill your tummy and your heart. If you’re feeling too lazy to dress up and step out, simply find them on Swiggy and Zomato.