Best Of The Transitions Undergone By Cuttack, The Millennium City Of Odisha!
With a millennium resting on it, Cuttack’s slow transition into modernity presents a unique amalgamation of the traditional with the ultra-modish contemporary times. It, in fact, is one of the few ancient cities in the country that still has an old world charm to it. From the narrow & noisy lanes to the almost-extinct-everywhere-else rickshaws, from the buzzing roadside evening khattis to the quintessentially exclusive dahibara aloodum, relished with abandon, breakfast, lunch or dinner notwithstanding, the city stands out for its typically Cuttacki features. However, lately, the city is also trying to don a new, cosmopolitan look owing to the demands of modern lifestyle.
Harmonious co-existence is the essence of bhaichara ra sahara Cuttack that manifests distinctly in every facet of the Millennium City. So, while the roadside khattis are still a daily affair for old-timers and youngsters alike, rooftop restaurants, glitzy joints and hangouts too have made their way in. Enjoying hot chicken wings at KFC is popular but so is gobbling dahibara or gupchup at the favourite huckster in every locality. The ‘bapa pua’ store still commands the faithful as do the exclusive brand stores. We take a look.
Cuttack has always been famous for its street food, particularly the succulent dahibaras soaked in aloodum and ghuguni. The reputation of this local delicacy is such that it has also become a must in the wish list of tourists who visit the city.
However, notwithstanding the evergreen charm of Cuttack’s street food, the city has also seen a sudden spurt in modern, fancy restaurants that are attracting the young crowd like never before. Be it for their lip-smacking choices in food, funky décor or unique themes, these restaurants have become popular hangout destinations for denizens of Cuttack today. Some of them are listed as under:
Situated near College Square, this restaurant located on the fifth floor of Rex Plaza has been divided into two sections – a cozy café and an open terrace, which is called the Skypark. With an amazing ambience and décor, this place is currently a hot favourite among the young crowd. Hangout at Skypark is in and how! Youngsters seem to have fallen in love with the concept of rooftop ‘khatti’, one of the reasons why the café has a decent crowd at any point of the day! There is also a hookah section in Skypark, which again is a hit among the young crowd. As it is situated near the Ravenshaw Campus, the students spend a lot of time here.
But owner Sanjeet Kumar Sahoo tells us that Blast is equally popular among families. Sanjeet, who also owns the entire building, tells us, “When Rex Plaza came up in the city, it created a buzz because it’s like a mini mall which was a new thing for Cuttack. We have Reliance here and different other food joints in the ground floor. As far as Blast is concerned, that was made with an objective to give the city a proper hangout destination. Cuttack is my birthplace and I really feel bad when people think that nothing interesting can happen here. That was the reason I wanted Blast and I am so happy with the response we have received from people here.”
He further adds, “The open terrace, was something, many had advised me not to go ahead with but the same people are now applauding me for planning it so well. Initially, when we started, we offered Chinese and Continental. But now we are also offering Indian, particularly focusing on biryani and kebabs. Of course, we do not serve alcohol but that has not affected the footfall in any way. We are also coming up with a branch in Bhubaneswar soon.”
Flaunting probably the most unique theme in town with a ‘prison’ and handcuffs, Dexter’s has forayed into the hearts of the young crowd of Cuttack. The theme has become so popular that for a change youngsters from the capital can be seen coming all the way to Cuttack to have a fun time here.
Owner Sai Sarthak tells MCL that he always wanted to give something new to Cuttack and that’s how Dexter’s was born. “Having a restaurant on such a unique theme was something people here had never imagined. That’s why Dexter has come across as a refreshing change for them. I hope we attract more people not only from Cuttack but other cities too in the days to come,” he shares.
3) Munch at Mikey’s
This one again stands out for its décor and ambience. With wooden interiors, a royal atmosphere, candlelight dinner that too inside cosy huts and a range of amazing delicacies in Indian, Chinese and Tandoor along with a variety of mocktails and beverages, Munch at Mikey’s has become popular among the Cuttackies in less than a year of its establishment. What’s more, to make their ambience even more interesting, they also create ‘red horror’ effects if customers request!
Owner Srijit Mahapatra tells us that it was his own personal experience of non-availability of decent hang-out joints in the city gave him the idea to come up with the restaurant. “I remember every time I wanted to hang out with friends, I ended up going to Bhubaneswar. So, I decided to come up with Munch @ Mikey’s in Cuttack. We are also providing online booking services, so that customers can pre-book their tables,” he shares.
4) Hunger Lounge
Another popular destination for the foodies is ‘The Hunger Lounge.’’ Mouth-watering Chinese cuisine in a simple yet trendy ambience, that’s the USP of this restaurant.
According to owner Swati Rekha, one of the reasons why they have managed to tap the young crowd is also because they serve not just tasty but healthy food as well. “I think youngsters today are very conscious about their weight and we use very less oil for all our preparations. I belong to Cuttack and I always wanted to provide Cuttackies the best Chinese ever. And, that’s the reason we have an exclusive team from North East in our kitchen. Our momos are the best. We also get frequent customers from Bhubaneswar,” she further adds.
5) The Golden Spoon
Not in the category of trendy eateries but ‘The Golden Spoon’ too has caught the fancy of people for its fine dining concept in a royal and elegant atmosphere, that too with live piano music in the backdrop. Even though the prices are on the higher side, the place has a loyal list of customers. The quality of food is good. There is a variety to choose from and they give discounts to their regular customers. The home delivery facility is a plus point.
6) Pramod Convention & Club Resort
Talk of upscale dine-in or an ideal place for lounging, this one tops the chart! Pramod Convention & Club Resort has become the most preferred destination for Cuttackis to spend a relaxing evening or hang out with friends amidst a luxurious and sophisticated ambience. The guests too have a range of dining options to choose from ethnic or continental cuisine to kebabs and sizzlers to South Indian food, street snacks and sweets in its three restaurants namely Rajwada, Smoke House & Desibites. The 24-hour coffee shop Courtyard Bakers Café is also one of the finest bakeries in Cuttack. Serving specially selected teas, coffees, shakes, coolers, small eats, dessert and bakery items, it is situated in the centre of the resort, overlooking the landscaped garden and the swimming pool and sets the perfect mood to have a relaxing evening.
If you are not a foodie, and looking to de-stress and re-energise yourself, you can also head to the in-house Olive Spa and Salon to indulge in the holistic treatments, ayurvedic massages and relaxation programmes offered at the spa.
MOVIES & ‘MASTI’
The New Shopping Trends , Shopping Cinema has been the best entertainment services for all generation.
Although it’s still single screen cinema for Cuttack, Inox is slated to come soon to the old city. That’s not all! Considering the changing tastes of movie-goers, the existing single screen halls are also trying to don a modern look to attract the crowd. Sangam Plex is a case in point. From their all new comfortable seats to online booking system, this old cinema hall is not only flaunting a modern look today, it is also screening Hollywood films. “We decided to renovate it because we understand that the tastes of people are changing and a good ambience has become a necessity to get people to cinema halls,” says owner Shreeram Pradhan.
Called the commercial capital of Odisha, Cuttack is well known for its handloom and cloth market besides being home to the world famous silver filigree work. In fact, Cuttack has always offered an enviable and fashionable variety to shoppers in comparison to Bhubaneswar. And interestingly, the traditional market of the city was never particular about brands!
However, with changing lifestyle, growing awareness about new trends and the easy accessibility to online shopping sites, Cuttack market has evolved, allowing co-existence of brands as well, not just stand-alone stores but also malls and shopping complexes.
So, the city today flaunts showrooms like a Pantaloons, Big Bazaar, All That Jazz, Reliance Trends, to name a few besides reputed brands like Adidas, US Polo, Turtle, Raymond for men and BIBA and Soch for women. Brands apart, the mall culture, which is new to the city, has given youngsters new destinations to hang out at!
With new trends evidently visible in every facet of the city, can the beauty market be left behind? While there was no dearth of local salons in the city, but lately brands like Indulge, Lakme and Naturals have also entered the scene. Even the existing salons have gone for a facelift with some of them introducing the unisex concept as well
“People today are travelling a lot and they are aware of the latest beauty trends. And, that’s why they prefer brands and Lakme is a fine example. We are very happy with the response we have got from the people of Cuttack, particularly the youngsters,” says Sarika Charurvedi, who has taken the franchise for Lakme in Cuttack.
Similarly, Naturals, which came to the city after quite a few branches opened at Bhubaneswar, has been getting very good feedback from the beauty conscious population of the city. “I belong to Cuttack and I was very well aware how people here had to travel all the way to Bhubaneswar for selective beauty treatments, be it for hair styling and colouring or a party makeup and even bridal makeup. Although Cuttack had salons, there was no brand, no expert in this field. That’s when I decided to bring Naturals to the city and I am happy I took the decision.” says Subhashree Hati Romma, make-up artist and franchise owner for Naturals.
Article Courtesy: Dikhya Mohanty and Saheen Afroz