Trincas to celebrate 60/50—60 years of its own successes at Kolkata’s Park Street, and the 50th anniversary of Usha Uthup’s first performances it hosted
Kolkata, September 17, 2019: Usha Uthup’s live performances at Trincas on September 27 and 28, 2019 8:30 pm onwards will mark 60/50—the celebrations of Trincas’ completion of 60 years under the Puri family as one of Park Street’s most legendry restaurants, and of the 50th anniversary of Usha Uthup’s first performances here.
Trincas was a quiet tea room until July, 1959, when Om Prakash Puri and Ellis Joshua acquired and converted it into a restaurant. To this, they added live ‘floor shows’.
In 1961, they completed renovations to the tea-room – a center-stage backed by a padded velvet wall, large mirrors, ornate lights –and the ambience turned plush and decadent. The food offerings were classic Continental and Indian food. Excellent live entertainment established Trincas as one of, not only Kolkata’s, but India’s leading restaurants.
In the 1970s, Trincas attracted superstars of the day like Amitabh Bachchan, Dilip Kumar, Tiger Pataudi and the West Indian cricket team. It was here that one could rub shoulders with politicians and business tycoons, artistes and entertainers—while listening to world class musicians like Biddu Appaiah (Kung Fu Fighting, Boom Boom), The Trojans, Eve, Ajit Singh, The Cavaliers, Beat Four, Flintstones, Chequered Tricycle, Great Bear and The Savages. Trincas became synonymous with the cultural heritage of the city. It became truly iconic.
On October 1, 1969, Usha Uthup (then Iyer) first performed at Trincas. She added a spectacular new dimension to Trincas’ already lively music scene with her trademark charisma, Kanjivaram sarees and flowers in her hair.
Trincas and Usha Uthup’s fates were intertwined from the start of their association. As her star rose, so did Trincas’ and two legends were created. She had and still has, an uncanny ability of reading a room, understanding her
audience and capturing hearts and minds. She calls Trincas her home and Trincas calls her it’s own.
Usha Uthup says of her coming to Kolkata and performing at Trincas “a dream come true”. She met her husband Jani Uthup at Trincas, fell in love with Kolkata and stayed on, even naming her son Sonny after a song she would perform at Trincas.
Trincas has stayed on too! It is now a landmark and a legend. The only remaining stalwart of Park Street that never brought down the curtain on its stage. The music has always played on. Trincas, to this day, has Hindi music (performed by The RGB) from 6 – 9 PM, followed by a Western band (Sweet Agitation) from 9 PM onwards – every single day!
As a nod to it’s legendary “Sunday Jam Sessions” of the 1970s, Trincas has revived it’s “All Day Sunday” Music, with new bands such as Paradise Official performing on Sunday afternoons to a great response from new guests and regulars. Music starts at 1:00 PM every Sunday and goes all day until 11:30 PM
Trincas’ Legacy Quizzes
In the 1960s and 1970s Trincas had a variety of floor shows other than music – acts from abroad would perform theme-based skits, magicians and jugglers would entertain while the comedians livened up the stage between bands. As a tip of the hat to this interactive entertainment heritage, Trincas will be hosting a series of “Legacy Quizzes” once a month. The first will be a music based quiz that will feature a live performance interspersed with quizzing on the afternoon of the 12th of October. Following months will see more Legacy Quizzes such as ‘India Legacy’, ‘Lifestyle Legacy’ and ‘Food Legacy’ quizzes .
Trincas has revived its ‘Classic Ambience’
Trincas has also brought back elements of its classic décor and ambience. Step in for lunch as soothing piped music from the 1950s, 60s and 70s will take you down nostalgia lane with The Beatles, Elvis, Sinatra and Neil Diamond. As you sip a classic Trincas Cold Coffee and wait for sizzling Chelo Kebabs to arrive, look up and you will see a beautiful plush red-velvet padded stage, providing a rich backdrop for the live music performances in the evening. Across the room, rich red curtains frame the wide floor-to-ceiling windows that stream beautiful natural light into the room during the day and lend to the evenings a classic luxury look.
In the evenings, small golden table lights wink on, casting cozy glows around which friends gather for scrumptious classic continental fare, rich Indian curries and spicy Chinese food.
All around, black and white pictures have appeared, framed in beautiful gold frames – images of Trincas from the 1970s, of Usha Uthup on a guitar, and of beautiful Eve’s profile (1965-69).
Let’s not forget however, that Trincas is also an excellent restaurant that has survived the test of time!
The food here is classic favourites – Continental Dishes from the 1960s such as Chicken Chippolata (which once cost INR 5.50) have been re-invented as the Chicken and Bacon Delight (chicken wrapped in bacon with a creamy demi-glace mushroom sauce, served with crisp French fries). The Chicken A’la Kiev can now be shared with friends as 5 Mini A’la Kievs are served with a decadent cheesy dipping sauce. The baked Beckti with Paprika Sauce is an all time favourite. Then there’s the Caramel Custard to finish—one of the best on Park Street!
Trincas started the Ming Room in 1985 – the first to introduce spicy Sichuan food in Kolkata. At that time, Chinese cuisine in the city was mostly non-spicy Cantonese cuisine. Ming Room introduced the classic Drums of Heaven, Lamb in Hot Garlic Sauce, Chicken Hong Kong and many more dishes. Its unique selling point was the special Trincas-made chili paste. That same secret chili paste recipe has been revived again, making the Chinese food at Trincas a stand out! You could say that Ming Room was the starting point of a food revolution in the 1980s. It led, by popular demand, to the ‘spicy-fication’ of Chinese food and is very much part of Kolkata’s culinary heritage. Ming Room today not only looks beautiful, but serves classic ‘Kolkata Chinese’ made with its own classic fiery chilli paste.
Original Trincas Indian food from the 1960s has also been reinvented – the classic Prawn Curry (INR 3.50 at the time), is now a delicious Shrimp and Crab Coconut Curry. Classic tandoori items are being served with a twist—the Chicken Phooljhari Kebab and the spicy Murgh Lahori Kebab.
Trincas – Secrets you might not know:
As Trincas turns 60, there are a few hidden nooks and secrets to the restaurant that not too many people know of. For example, the two ‘secret’ rooms of Trincas are the Tavern and The Other Room – both cozy little spaces located just behind the main restaurant.
The Tavern, conceived and decorated in the mid 1960s, is a quiet after-work place. It is dimly lit from behind medieval English shields decorated with knights, has uneven cave-like walls, and a price point of INR 60 for an Old Monk!
The Other Room is another cozy hide-away – a large speckled mirror runs the length of the room, guarded by two plaster-of-paris knights. Small table lamps dressed in red shades cast a muted, comfortable glow on the whole room. It’s a great place to visit with friends and colleagues.
Young people have been slowly discovering these hidden places thanks to the internet and social media. Just as Kolkata is seeing a renewed interest in its heritage and history led by many who are discovering the hidden, tucked away gems of old Calcutta.
Speaking of the internet, Trincas can be found on Facebook and Instagram as @trincasrestaurant Its new website www.kolkatarestaurant.in is currently under development, but people can already sign up to be a Trincan and receive a 15% discount loyalty card as part of the celebratory offers that Trincas is proposing this year. Anand Puri, of Trincas has this to say…“In Kolkata, there is a huge and honest interest in food, art and history facilitated by social media and growing awareness. While people in their 20s and 30s enjoy the new, they are also looking for the roots of this spreading cultural tree and re-discovering the originals hidden in plain sight. People born in the 1990s walk into Trincas these days and say “wow! Why haven’t we been here before?”. Trincas is very much at the right place and time once again. It is a cultural and historic original; an icon around which trends have grown.”