There is no dearth of Chinese joints in the city serving lip smacking items that compels us to keep on visiting them and some of them turn out to be our favorite hang-out spots on weekends. In this ever flourishing gastronomical environment of Kolkata we have discovered noteworthy Chinese joints in last couple of years and without any doubt there is Buddha Bites in this list. I had been to Buddha Bites, but at their Gariahat branch for a family dinner but I had never been to their Bhawanipur outlet where I was invited couple of weeks back. To start with, I must say this is one little spot you can’t miss because of its lovely quaint exterior décor at the entrance, calm interiors and definitely because of its amazing dishes!
Coming to the location, this place is located at Bhawanipur, quite close to Hazra. You basically get down at Ashutosh College if you are coming by public transport and you take the alley along the right hand side of the college, just walk for a minute or two and take the left turn when you reach the end of this road. Buddha Bites is located right there beside a HDFC ATM.
The place is located at ground floor of a charming south Kolkata building with old-school architecture. The entrance is not that magnanimous but extremely elaborately crafted that exudes the feel of a Buddhist monastery standing with arms wide open to welcome the lovers of Chinese cuisine of all ages! The place is surely honest when it comes to flavors, presentation and service and makes sure you come back for more. I also quite liked the fact that their dishes are priced very reasonably and quality is never compromised which is the biggest plus to stay ahead in this industry.
The interiors as already said, are pretty calm and simplistic with neat crisp Buddhist theme that is just perfect for a family dine-in spot. Though it is not a thematic restaurant and you won’t feel that you are sitting inside a Buddhist monastery or something. It has got two room or sections. The outer section remains naturally sunlit during the day where as the inner room is tad dark or dimly lit with 6 tables. The place has got wooden flooring and Ajanta Ellora themed paintings on the wall close to the ceiling. The ceiling décor is also beautiful with lovely leaf-motif designs. The unique pieces of Buddha sculptures, head pieces and paintings are surely noteworthy at this place. The seating arrangement is quite well planned out and the cutleries are perfect for this place, though I would like them to definitely place chopsticks at every table since this place serves oriental cuisine and chopsticks are an integral part of it, if the customer is not opting to use them then the same can be later removed. The background music keeps on chanting some Buddhist slokas maybe which I didn’t get since I am not an expert in that field or genre of music.
Now coming to the food items that I had tasted along with my fellow Panchphoron foodies – This event was mainly to promote Buddha Bites ‘meal in a bowl’ concept and their summer special mocktails. We tasted most of their meals which were part of this section of the menu card. The final verdict goes out to be awesome! These are compact dishes with loads of kick in them. Most of them promise an explosion of glory in your mouth which collects loads of brownie points for sure. Now let us go through the food items and mocktails one by one –
★ VEG COMBO meals
a) Seven jewel Rice with Buddha Feast – This was one fabulous dish, though it was veg but it had enough promise in it which once will realize after taking in the first morsel. Here the side is named the Buddha Feast which is basically fresh exotic veggies (like broccoli, babycorn, bell peppers, mushroom, etc) tossed with minced garlic and mild sauces. And yes, food here is MSG free so you can devour your favorite dish without worrying much. Overall the seven jewel fried rice was very mild and nicely prepared with finely diced veggies; it went very well with the Buddha Feast which has been described above.
b) Veg Fried Rice with Chili Paneer – This was one pleasant dish, nothing to be excited about, though the dish was again pretty mild and the paneer cubes were insanely soft and fresh, special points for that! The gravy had a slight tang to it which I really liked and had exotic veggies in there.
c) Veg Hakka Noodles with Veg Ball Manchurian – The noodles were quite nicely tossed with fresh veggies and it was not at all oily or soggy. I am particularly not a fan of veg Manchurian balls but had a bite into one here, it was nice but I realize that this must be very good for one who only tries out veg dishes and especially Manchurian balls at other Chinese eateries across the town. The dish was very well presented with chopped spring onion leaves on top.
d) Veg Garlic Hakka Noodles with Kung Pao potato – Oh my mouth is still watering while I am writing down about this dish. I just loved both the Kung Pao Potato and the garlic hakka noodles. I just love anything prepared with potatoes, so I really cant help praising this dish! 🙂 The potato (cut vertically into medium sized pieces, like french fries) was tossed nicely with ginger and cashew nut with tangy spicy sauce. I will try this again when I am here at Buddha Bites!
e) Veg Schezwan Fried Rice with Four Treasure vegetable – Here in this combo there is nothing much to mention about the Schezwan Fried Rice apart from the fact that it looked a bit orangish with peas and veggies in there sitting in the soup of Four Treasure vegetables. Well the side has got a choice of sauce and is loaded with exotic veggies like broccoli, babycorn, bell peppers, mushroom, etc. It had the precise inclination towards the tanginess which was appreciated.
★ NON-VEG COMBO meals
a) Chicken Fried Rice with Hakka Chicken – Actually I guess we all have hakka noodles but actually I have never had hakka chicken! So I was eager to taste it here, it is chicken tossed with green chilli and green bell pepper, and had a dark gravy. It tasted nice and it went really well with the nicely tossed chicken fried rice with veggies which was again garnished with chopped spring onion leaves on top.
b) Egg Fried Rice with Schezwan Prawn – The dish tasted amazing! Sorry for such a bad and abrupt start to this description, but that’s true! The prawns were tossed in a spicy schezwan sauce and it had strong flavors and lovely aroma of the prawn which was very well balanced out with the egg fried rice which actually had quite a generous amount of fried eggs in it.
c) Egg Hakka Noodles with Chili Plum Fish – One of the signature dishes of this place I guess, the plum fish tasted amazing and it was just so insanely fresh! It is plum fish tossed with spicy red sauce that will make you go gaga when you team it up with some egg hakka noodles. Worth a try!
d) Chicken Hakka Noodles with roasted pork – Well I loved it but I expected it to be tad better since it has the amazing pork meat in it. I really love pork more than any other meat so I expected more zing and kick to this dish. But anyway this was good if not great and tasted bit on the milder side and along with the chicken hakka noodles it was really a meaty affair. By the way, this dish was in real high demand amongst us when we were there, and I remember that I had hogged loads of it leaving really less for the others 🙂 That’s cruel of me!
e) Chicken Schezwan Fried rice with steam garlic fish – The side here is steam fish and has a choice of sauce like – garlic, oyster, black bean. We went in for the garlic sauce and yes we loved the garlicky touch added to it, the fish was again fresh and bit subtle in taste. It went well with the chicken schezwan fried rice that was perfectly spiced up and tossed with freshly chopped veggies.
Kindly note – the quantity of all these dishes are sufficient for one person with average appetite; for foodies (read, hoggers) like me it might take two of these dishes or atleast 1.5 portions of these dishes to satiate the hunger pangs 🙂
Here are the mocktails that we had tried –
a) Orange Lemonade
b) Pineapple Iced Tea
c) Mango Cooler
d) Watermelon cooler
e) Virgin Mojito
All of them were presented beautifully with little mocktail umbrellas on top. Though each and every one of them were very refreshing and perfectly chilled, I would like mention my special liking for the Mango Cooler, Pineapple Iced Tea, and Watermelon cooler. If I narrow down further I absolutely loved the Mango Cooler, I guess it was the most refreshing mocktail I have tasted this summer! Must try for sure!
Now to wrap things up, I must reiterate that this place surely promises to impress you with the food at amazing reasonable rates. Also the mocktails will help you hold on to that refreshing moment of bliss! I would only like to suggest some better background music since the repetitive hymn is amazingly peaceful at some point of time or initially when you are listening to it, but if you pay much heed to it, then that might just cause your attention to get shifted from the amazing food and beverages served in front of you.
But overall, I must say the food along with the prompt and courteous service has got enough potential to impress your taste buds and your loved ones. So it is better not to go on reading my old-school reviews, rather just pick up the phone, make a reservation and head straight towards Buddha Bites! Enjoy your meal lords and ladies! 🙂