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    In a first, Kaidi Kitchen brings you a refined version of eating in prison, with convicts and policemen waiting

    Save your surprise for when you actually get there. But for now, know this: there is a place in town that gives you a taste of dining inside prison cells — but these are cells fit for royalty. At the week-old Kaidi Kitchen (160 covers) off RK Salai, expect prison bars, handcuffs, brick walls, convicts and red sirens to call the jailor. Only the shiny porcelain and cutlery seem out of place. “Many guests have asked us to use the kind of plates that one would find in prisons.

    But we didn’t want to,” smiles Akshit Agarwal, who owns the Kolkata-based brand. Just like him, Aditya Harlalka, wanted to start something different, and after hunting in many a metro, discovered Kaidi Kitchen. “It was the great vegetarian food that attracted me. The theme was a bonus,” says Harlalka, the franchise owner, whose family has been in the iron and steel industry for over 20 years.

    Counting pages
    The jailor hands us what we initially mistake to be encyclopedias, only to realise the easily 30 pagers are actually menus. Despite keeping conversation to a minimum and reading all through dinner, I barely take in all the names — leave alone reading the factoids about various jails across the world. Now going by Agarwal and Harlalka’s recommendations, we nod to a few starters thinking they would give us time to ponder over mains. But how would we know that terms like ‘tasting portions’ don’t really count when you’re in prison!

    The big break
    From the Burmese khow suey (vegetable chunks and crispy noodles in a chickpea broth that delivers the typical lemongrass tang), to their signature litti chokha from Bihar (gramflour-stuffed wheat balls roasting on coals that we douse with desi ghee and mint chutney before enjoying with masala mash potato) — the all-vegetarian fare successfully satiates the meat eater in me. And deserving special mention is their in-house cottage cheese, that in hariyali and Amritsari avatars, has us leaving behind but morsels. If you don’t mind your gravy being sweet, we suggest the rich, pista badam kofta that has us cleaning our plates with garlic naan. Left with no room to try their Italian pastas and Oriental rice, we take deep breaths and make a run for the gates, before our dessert sentence is passed.

    Meal for two at approximately Rs. 450. They also have a banquet hall. Details: 42009701/02

    -Ryan Peppin

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