The Calcutta I knew, I grew up has ceased about 14 years back. The city is evolving for sure, however, the imageries I carry go back to my school or college days. Each time I hear from my cousins or friends about a new eatery, or some culinary experiment in Calcutta, I mentally jot it down. When we go there once or twice a year, both the moms try to dish out the best from their respective kitchens, both the fathers try getting all the fish and vegetables that we missed on the plate, all this while.
On the way back to namma ooru, we regret,’issh’ we missed doing this or “uff” we could not try that new place. While Bangalore has quite a few Bengali or east Indian eateries. These are places we go to relish our childhood memories, we celebrate different festivals here. However, there are lot of our friends who remain non-inducted to these places as they don’t know what to order, when they go alone. They don’t know the pairing. They are afraid it’s all about non-vegetarian food. East Indian cuisine, Bengali cuisine is not all about non-vegetarian dishes. There are lots of vegetables, cooked in multiple ways and each differ from the other in its own way – shukto, dolma, chochchori, chechki, etc.
Now, in Bengaluru, I finally found a place where I can take my friends to initiate the same flavours and taste in a subtle way, where they are comfortable to try our cuisine and later they can explore on their own.
Last Friday Rajarshee and I were elated to start our conversations with “Nimki” & banana chips with 4 different dips – which we are so familiar, but never tried in the dip form – like smoked aubergine dip (read – begun pora?), quintessentially Bengali banana leaf wrap sauce (does it sound like paturi?), creamy & coconutty shrimp dip (did you think of malai curry?) & the kosha dip (no intro required).
Then we proceeded towards the soups Shukto mousse with fried lentils dumplings (read bodi bhaja) – this was so different from the Shukto we have grown up eating, yet every detail taste has been retained including the bodi bhaja. We also tried the Mutton mince and moong lentil soup – this reminded me of a mulligatawny soup. The minced mutton with each spoon adds charm to the creamy soup.
Post this we had gorge on some “chop” and I chose to go for the bitter and blossoms (mocha ar karola r chop) – the finely chopped banana blossoms in a batter just the right way – this left me thinking, should I order for more. However, this being my first visit, I thought of trying the other dishes, instead of repeating the same.
Then we ordered for an aubergine meat boat, this is something new but a good to try dish. Spice minced mutton stuffed in a grilled aubergine. I wish I had a small roti or paratha along with it, then it can be a meal by itself.
Next came the mutton pora.Juicy succulent pieces of mutton marinated with spices and jaggery and finished in the tandoor.
In main course Rajarshee ordered for a Dohneiiong, this is a smoky pork dish from Meghalaya, this goes well with rice. For a change I preferred to order for veg, I was looking for dhokar dalna, here they do have it, with a bit of twist. They have a dish where the same is made with green peas instead of usual lentils and this goes very well with their “kasundi rice”. Yes, you heard it correctly, Kashundi rice – this was new to me too, but this is so good, there’s a zing in this which makes it irresistible.
I am ever amorous with the aloo bhaja – hence ordered for jeera dhaniya coated finger chips, but later realized this might appeal to our younger generation more.
For dessert we chose the mango and date palm cheesecake – now appearance wise, that’s not the usual cheese cake we imagined, but if we think minutely as we savour each spoonful, it will unfold its taste as a different cheesecake. I also could not help resisting ordering for a baked rosogolla. It was steaming when served, I had to resist the temptation of popping those little ball of happiness lest I burn my tongue. They are small and immediately melts in the mouth, leaving the aftertaste of a sweet tale.
We also had the 3 different drinks they had to offer. Gandhoraj Ghol, Crazy Imli & Aam Pora Shorbot.
Overall, I am overwhelmed by the dinner and looking forward to going back as soon as possible.
This is not the place to go in search of those days when grannies or mommies pampered us around the table. This is definitely not the place, if you want to induct your little one to the pride of Bengali cuisine, as your parents did.
Having said that, this is the place to recommend to friends and colleagues who want to taste east Indian food, in contemporary way and then they can decide. This is the place to take friends and colleagues and let them tell you what they liked. This is the place to have the same taste in a different way. Let the background score, a relaxing music, do its wonders while you enjoy your meal.
Amusez-vous with a selfie or groupfie around the hand-pulled rickshaw.