Ringing in Christmas with what else but good food, and fond memories...

A few days to Christmas in the December of 2006, my resident editor at Indian Express, Kolkata,
walked up to me with a, "Pen a mood piece on Christmas today, for the anchor..." Taking the cue, I immediately picked up my tote and headed towards New Market and Park Street, the hubs of action at this time of the year. Arming myself with information about the festive offerings in restaurants, party packages and capturing vignettes of the preparations I returned to type down a write-up that graced page one, next day.
Nothing much has changed in 12 years. Except perspectives. Here I am jotting down yet another mood piece on Christmas. But this time, I do not need to venture out. Because Christmas for me today is much more than the hottest party package and the prettiest tree in a luxury hotel. Today, the festival is about a deluge of fond
memories---memories of childhood, fun, carnivals, picnics and lots of good food. Even as I think about the anchor I wrote so many years back, I cannot help but feel how differently I would have done it if I were to do it today...
On Christmas eve this year, after Malhar's school carnival, we decided to go for a wholesome brunch. While browsing in the android for the most appetizing spread at eateries across town, I remarked how simple it used to be earlier. We either headed for a picnic in Alipore Zoo with plum cakes, sandwiches, potato wafers and oranges or drive down to Park Street to witness the bright festivities. Roads would be bedecked with streamers, lights and festoons and at every nook a Santa doll would beckon a child with promises of wonderland. Meals would be simple
yet delicious and fun meant school carnivals where a coupon cost much, much less than a whopping Rs 40. We did not have bouncy castles then but we bounced with glee just to see a ho-ho-ing Santa drop by at school to sing carols with us...
Eventually we chose BED in Greater Kailash 1's N Block Market to relax after running around with the tot. Also, because the family has a thing for Asian food, which the restaurant was serving in its brunch spread. The place was gearing up for a party the next day but the staff made us welcome and comfortable as we sat in the outside seating area to soak in the sun. The sight of a plate of salmon avocado sushi and Bed Spritzer brought an instant smile to our faces. The kid chomped down the chicken sui mai and demanded more of the steamed dimsums. Yes, it was that good. As children we never got to taste momos, a snack that emerged out of Kolkata's China Town to the other areas in the metro only when we were young adults. If we were to grow up on them, I'm sure we would love it in the same vein as my little boy does. 
Next up was the black beans pepper fish that came along with a pink lady, a sushi featuring prawns and crab meat. I opted for a asparagus tempura that was crunchy and tasty. We asked for our mulled wines, a must during Christmas, according to the Mister. Though it took a while to arrive, when it did, it was a comforting sip. 
While we would have loved the roast turkey and harissa prawns for mains, the chef sent out a delectable Chicken Thai yellow curry, steamed rice and a deliciously creamy Mushroom Spaghetti tossed in Truffle oil that we gobbled up without batting an eyelid.
The desserts from the brunch menu were replaced
by a chocolate fondant with ice cream and strawberries, which also found favour with us foodies. It was rich, sinful and ended the meal on that perfectly sweet note. If you are on this side of town do try stepping in. Their food is good, really good. You might not be gobsmacked by the plating et al, but it is a nice place to nibble and chat up with friends. The service speed could buck up a bit but when the food arrives it is scrumptious. 
As the family headed back home, we realised how the enjoyable afternoon and the meal reinstated the fervour of Christmas--- a festival for love, laughter and stringing together memories... 

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