Food fiesta in Kolkata - Some more!
I am really the queen of procrastination. My phone memory is full of pictures I had taken at random places I had dined in, with the hope that someday I will write reviews of those places, or maybe an article on at least the food if not the place. Sigh. The pictures are languishing in their own world.
Also, I have this hopelessly bad habit of starting to write something and not finishing it. Guilt eats me away as I think of my trips made to Shillong, Wayanad, Chikmagalur, Bhadra WLS, Belur-Halebidu and repeat visits to other places. Someday I plan to finish writing them. Just that I don’t know when. And then again, I don’t need to keep deadlines for my own blog, do I? I shall move at my own sweet pace…
Today morning, I accidentally stumbled across my phone camera images, the ones from last year that I had downloaded into a folder. A few of them jumped out, calling for attention “Hellooo, plan on writing about me?” I took a long look, jogged my memory, salivated at the thought of the food that I had enjoyed, and finally, decided to write about them.
Picking up from the first part where I had written about some of the legendary eateries of Kolkata, here are some more memories of eating out in the city:
The fragrant Dhakai Bengali cuisine at Kasturi, Ballygunge (the pictures don’t do justice)
I don’t remember exactly where I had read about Kasturi. Perhaps I had come across it in one of the numerous food blogs that I subscribed to, most of them by khadyoroshik Bengalis. But the first name that popped into my mind when I had checked into my hotel was Kasturi. I was struck by its unassuming façade as I alighted from my car a few minutes later. Inside, there was space for only a few tables. Although I had the option of perusing through Zomato and deciding on what to order, based on reviewers’ suggestions, I chose to go by what my taste buds preferred.
The menu presented a lot of options and while I was tempted to try out at least a dozen of them, I ordered just three (note the ‘just’…greedy pig I am) – kochu pata chingri, basanti pulao and dak bungalow mutton. I had expected the kochu pata (taro leaves?) chingri to be a dry dish of prawns and had intended that to be a starter. However, all the three dishes came together and I realised that the prawn dish was a semi-gravy one, cooked with minced taro leaves and mustard-poppy seed paste. The dak bungalow mutton was a revelation – the gravy seemed to have eggs finely scrambled into it. Both the dishes, I must say, were not something that would fall into ‘healthy food’ zone, but they tasted awesome. The basanti pulao seemed like a Bengali mishti (sweet) pulao with high notes of gulab jal (or kewra?).
I was the sole diner at the place and the presence of waiters looming around made me hesitant in clicking pictures. The moment one of them turned his back, I would sneak in a click and replace the phone hurriedly by my side. No wonder all the images turned out so horrible.
I don’t know the nuances of Dhakai (Bangladesh) cuisine, but I enjoyed the feast I had ordered and going by the home delivery bags that were leaving the premises, I could make out that the food lived up to the expectations. The greasiness notwithstanding, it was a great first experience of trying out Dhakai food and I am sure I will be there for more in case I am in Kolkata again.
13/6B, Anil Moitro Road,
Near Patha Bhabvan Montessori School,
The avante garde food of a heritage bungalow – The Corner Courtyard
I think I had come to know of this place, a fleeting reference, through Facebook when Rocky and Mayur decided to dine there. I have a knack of storing intriguing names in my mind palace and this one surfaced up suddenly during lunch time. My smartphone told me that it was within walking distance of my hotel and that was where I decided to head towards. I almost missed the boutique hotel where the restaurant was located, lost in my thoughts, till a beautiful pair of wrought iron gates caught my attention. Beyond the gates lay an elegant white structure crammed with stories of its colonial past. Last inhabited in 1904, the bungalow had been renovated with loving care after over a century.
The restaurant seemed to be divided into parts and was quite full when I entered, the mild sound of clinking cutlery emanating from the adjoining rooms. I sat down on a small table in a little room that seemed to have been a waiting area for visitors in its previous avatar. The other tables were occupied by a group of ladies with crisp accent who undoubtedly belonged to the upper societies of the city, sipping delicate cups of blended tea.
The room was eclectically decorated, various knick-knacks and books adorning the wall niches. Also, I may be mistaken but I remember vaguely of spying a rack full of in-house breads that were up for sale.
The menu was an extensive (and expensive) one, not unlike the menus of restaurants serving continental food in other cities, but was exquisitely crafted. I decided to order one starter and one main dish. For starter, I asked for loaded potato skins and a plate of linguine pasta tossed with roast chicken, mushrooms, olives and bacon bites for main course.
The potato skins came after a short wait. They were oven roasted and generously filled, topped with a dollop of sour cream. I demolished them in no time.
Next came the pasta and it looked deceptively small. I was quite disheartened by the quantity and price mismatch till I discovered that the plate was one of those which had a deep middle. The world was fine again and I dug into it with gusto. The creamy parmesan sauce was perfect and smothered the pasta just enough to let the flavor of the other elements shine.
It was another lunch to remember in Kolkata.
92B, Sarat Bose Road, Hazra,
And so, two memorable places, both of them with diametrically opposite cuisines, and yet both showcasing the best of their trade. Kolkata is truly a cornucopia of gastronomic pleasures.
Here’s to more travels to Kolkata and more such dining experiences!