Perfect Pitch @ Calcutta Cricket Club (of Calgary)

Calcutta Cricket Club of Calgary, 340 17th Avenue, SW

Here's what I can tell you in my limited experience of the sport of cricket (and for you aficionados, I'll apologize ahead of time):  I had the chance to watch it, for the first time, on one of the lawns of Rideau Hall on an early Sunday morning years ago. Popular in the Commonwealth countries for a long time (hundreds of years), there appears to be a lot of ball throwing and slapping with bats (flat ones), running back and forth on the pitch, or field, and the participants (in this case, only men, as I recall) were sharply dressed in crisply pressed light coloured slacks and v-neck pullover sweaters. There was a lot of good-humoured shouting and it looked like everyone was having fun.

And there are wickets. And yes, sometimes they're sticky (as in a difficult situation, or play in the game). So there--now we all know where that came from.

After that, I was intrigued enough to try and watch a match on tv.  This was serious business.  Tens of thousands of cheering, boisterous fans fill the arena—almost like a soccer (ahem, that other kind of “football”) game. The matches can go on for hours, yet the game moves relatively quickly and there is quite a bit of action.

As much as I tried, I couldn’t really figure out the scoring, except to say that the team with the most runs eventually wins.

No doubt there are smaller venues for cricket matches, and perhaps even fairly loosely organized pick-up-type games, and I suspect there are clubs that dot the countrysides of countries where the game is played. 

I'm guessing that just like places to play sports in North America, they range from patches of dirt with enough room to play to members-only swanky spots.  

And I'm also guessing that in the more upscale venues, there are clubhouses where you'll find well-dressed men and women, enjoying popular beverages, exceptional food and each other's company.

In Calcutta, India (now called Kolkata),the Calcutta Cricket (& Football) Club (of Calcutta) has been around for more than 225 years; on the other hand, the Calcutta Cricket Club (of Calgary) is one of the newest restaurants in town.

The new place on 17th popped open in early July. With its mint chocolate-chip green exterior and heavy iron gate hiding a quiet courtyard, the Calcutta Cricket Club (of Calgary—I’ll stop saying that now, and just refer to it as the CCC) is a clean, bright space that lends itself to conversation among friends.

Which is perfect, because I’m was joined by three of mine on this evening.  Deb, Kelly and Lindsay were all as curious as I to try out this new drinking and dining place that features a range of snacks and appetizers as well as full size mains and cocktails that reflect what I’m guessing you might find in an upscale bar or restaurant—or cricket club--in the West Bengal capital.

It was yet another warm (ok stifling--what a hot summer it has been!) Calgary evening, and although the CCC won't take reservations and we were told the wait was an hour for a table in the main dining area, we only sat at our street side table and had a few sips of our first drinks before being ushered to the outdoor garden area behind the gate.

The dining space behind the iron gate
The menu features typical Bengali dishes, and the four of us ordered up a more than a half dozen different tastes, so that we could get a sense of the possibilities.

I think we all agreed that a highlight was the kati roll….we were told that this is a true Calcutta street food.  It’s a thin pastry rolled and filled with egg, meats or cheese. We had a couple of the tandoori spiced chicken pieces, and they were delicious; in fact, I think you could probably order one of each of the kati rolls and a good cold, crisp beer, and you’d have yourself a pretty good meal. 

It's not much to look at, but the kati (this one is chicken tandoori) is loaded with flavour

But we had more to share: we ordered the boti kebab, keema chop, chicken tikka, spiced-up broccolini, and a prawn curry…all really excellent.

Boti Kebab on the left, and Gunpowder broccolini

I think we were unanimous: the CCC is definitely worth a try—service that was both pleasant and efficient, a nice atmosphere, and great food…and I’d venture a guess to say that the only way we would have been able to sample something more authentic would be to go directly to India.

For one of us, the tasting of traditional, genuine Indian cuisine will be had right at the source; Deb is heading there in just a few weeks, and she’ll be gone for a while.  She decided it was time to cash in the air miles and she bought herself an around-the-world ticket. India, followed by Nepal (or Bali, she doesn’t know which yet), Africa, Europe, and everywhere in between.

Here's hoping she has an amazing journey; perhaps she can give us a rundown on the cricket club scene over there. And the kati rolls. Fingers crossed that she blesses us with a blog--or at the very least, a lot of photos. 

Bon voyage Deb!

আপনার যাত্রা শুভ হোক      (Google translator assures me this is the Bengali translation of that previous short sentence/sentiment and I checked it with a friend who writes and speaks the language--he assured me it was accurate...I sure hope so....)  😊