There are many dishes or the grandma's recipe, you want to try at home but time, cooking style, right ingredients etc are not there and despite having a cookery book, you just can't finish it off. So these days these specialty restaurants have come out with solution to give you the taste and pride of grandma's cooking.
We have a passion for eating out, we keep trying the new restaurants and their food. If we like some place then we revisit them again and again. There are some special occasion also call for special treat. On Tagore's 150th Birthday, we decided to have Bengali food at Oh Calcutta again and their weekend special is just superb. There were many items on the offer but we liked a few items so much that others were left for another revisit.
The weekend special buffet comes at a price of Rs. 505/- ( USD$12) all inclusive, with a free drink ( beer this time) included.
Favorite Dish: Our dish was lavish with two soups, starters, salads, Aam Kasundir Kankra ( Crabs cooked with mango and mustard sauce), Chingri Malai curry ( Prawn cooked with coconut gravy), Hing Mangshor Korma( Mutton Korma with hing. ), Rice, Shukto ( a must Bengali special vegetable curry), Mango Chutney, Postho, Lau Bori Ghonto,and many more and an array of deserts which included Chaler Payesh ( rice cooked in sweetened milk), Black Forest pastry, Rasogolla, soufflé, fresh fruits and so on.
I strongly recommend weekend buffet lunch at Oh Calcutta. You just can not complain about the cooking. It's just perfect! Sometimes it's better to leave your special day on the experts.
We decided to treat ourselves to a meal in one of Kolkata's famous Park Street restaurants. The waiters were extremely attentive, as they tend to be in more upmarket places, and we weren't even allowed to serve ourselves, which I found quite amusing; but the food was superb. The restaurant is divided into two halves, one serving Chinese food, the other Indian - we chose the latter. I have no idea how they'd cope if they had a party of people who wanted a bit of both!
I think we paid about 500INR for a meal for two.
Open from 7am to 10:30pm, this restaurant serves both Indian and western fare. We enjoyed breakfast here on a number of days, I can recommend the cheese toast, and their juices are very good. Friendly service too.
Our VT friend Shadi ( Sahita7) visited Kolkata last week for five days with her parents from Tehran. We decided one day to have dinner with them. On Wednesday ( 7th April) we took them to the new Arsalan Restaurant ( It's bigger and better than Circus avenue and Park Circus branch). We also wanted to try this place and the new specialty being offered there. They proved to be true! Shadi and her mom also liked the food there.
We had Chicken Arsalan Kabab ( out of the place), Chicken Reshmi Butter masala, Chicken Reshmi Kabab, Keema Naan, Mutton Lucknow Biryani ( our favourite) and our all time favourite Mutton Sheek Kabab. All the dishes were excellent and we could not eat that much so we got it packed for home.
Favorite Dish: Undoubtedly Mutton Sheek Kabab, Chicken Arsalan Kabab and our all time favourite Mutton Lucknow Biryani!
As I have mentioned many times earlier that the city of Kolkata lacks a good South Indian restaurant, which serves their exotic culinary. South Indian food is much more than what it is presumed by other Indian states. An average Indian or a Bengali presumes that South Indian food means only Dosas, Idlies, Rasam, Sambhar, Uttapam etc. They are all vegetarian snacks and most of South Indian Brahmins are vegetarians( who are actually in minority). Tamilnadu and Kerala are supposed to be the highest fish consuming states! Surprised? Yes you should be! Most of the North Indians and East Indian find South Indian food is unpalatable, unattractive and boring. It is simply because they have not tasted/ tried their exotic dishes. They are perhaps equally good or even better than North Indian or Bengali food! During my several trips to South India I never found any problem in eating like other Bengali!
Tamarind is surely educating the gentry of Kolkata about the exotic South Indian food from all four States of South India , Tamilnadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. It's a place worth giving a try as many Bengalis and other North Indian people keep visiting South India for days. I am sure once they get used to their food they will never complain about not finding food to suit their palate in South India.
Decorated in the pattern of a Chettiar house, the place will give you the feeling of having food in a South Indian home. The water is served in copper glasses. Butter milk is served in earthen cups and the food comes in copper pots. It's a place to be frequented!
Favorite Dish: We tried the ever favourite Chicken Chettinad( Rs. 180/- or USD$4) ( An exotic Chicken preparation of the Chettiar community of Tamil Nadu). It is made with special spices of South India and an exotic dish to be had with plain Rice, Parathas or Fried rice or Biryani. We also had Veinchina Mamsam( Rs.220/- or USD$5) ( an exotic spicy mutton preparation of Andhra Pradesh) , Malabar Paratha( Rs40/- or USD1 per piece) ( Parathas made in Malabar cost style of South India) and Butter Milk( Priced Rs45/- or USD1 per cup). Each of the dish was excellently prepared with spice. We savoured every bit of it. The dishes are very reasonably priced. Four persons can have excellent dinner with in Rs1000/-
This new place has come up recently only three months back. They are at Salt Lake Sector V, which is our IT park of West Bengal. Set amongst all the techie companies they are doing good business. The menu is set , price is fixed ( Rs400/- per person plusVAT @12.5%), eat as much) this pace is a hit. Part of Sayaji Hotels of Indore, they have branches in all the big and medium cities in India.
They give you varieties of Skewers and Kebabs 80% cooked right on your table which also has a small grill with Charcoal ( Same Flame & Sigree style), as starter. They give varieties of Kebabs, Sami Kebab, Barbequed Grilled Chicken , Charmula Prawn, Indonesian Fish, Chicken Tikka and all. After you satisfied, you can go for their sumptuous buffet spread and choose varieties of food right from Biriyani to Dessert of several types. There are about 26 items to be tasted from which will tire you, even if you taste a small portion from each of the dishes. All dishes are tasty. There is also live music to entertain you while you dine. Drinks are available but a bit expensive as they give only 30ml pegs at exorbitant price. One peg of regular Indian whiskey will cost about Rs350/- inclusive of taxes ( which is almost equivalent the cost of a bottle!) But then you have to pay the prices to get this kind of service!
The place is located at Salt Lake Sector V, at Bengal Intelligent park, near Infinity Building.
If you are entering from Nicco Park, then take right turn from intersection to reach Infinity Building. You cant' miss the place. We had to search for more than half an hour as we lost the address and it was raining profusely!
Favorite Dish: The kebabs and desserts undoubtedly!
Your search for best Bengali food ends here! It can be summed up in just one line for Oh Calcutta! This one is part of Restaurant Chain started by The Mainland China group started by Bengali Entrepreneur Mr.Anjan Chatterjee , who belongs to Kolkata. Today, they are doing business in millions. In about ten years of their operations in Kolkata, they have become darling of Kolkata Bengali's as well as who wants to savor authentic genuine Bengali food, while visiting Kolkata. Now they are running Oh Calcutta at two places in Kolkata. The one is at Forum Mall at Elgin Road the other one is at Silver Spring Mall at E.M. Bypass, near I.T.C.Sonar Bangla hotel. We have been frequenting this place for long time also taking our friends from abroad there, but I realised, I have never have built a tip on them. So here is the new tip.
This place is also frequented by many European and Japanese, who wants to savor authentic Bengali food while in Kolkata.
Favorite Dish: Rakhi's brother, sister in law and their son is in Kolkata for sometime, so we took them to Oh Calcutta for Bengali lunch on last Sunday. In many Bengali houses most of the dishes cooked but not all of them are perfect. There are some forgotten dishes as well which can be savored there only as the ingredients are expensive and not easily available. If it is available then cooking method is not know to everybody as the families have now become nucleus, grandma's recipe is missing. More so those who live abroad, they have almost forgotten the real Bengali taste. It's a real boon for them. They offer Sunday buffet and a la carte dishes as well. You can name any Bengali dishes it will be there made to perfection as the cooks have been trained well. Many of the forgotten dishes made with small fishes are also on the menu.
We had Sunday Buffet spread with Sorshe fish( fish in mustard sauce), Manghsor Jhol( Mutton curry cooked in Bengali style), Chngri Macher Malai curry( Prawn Curry), Crab curry, Chicken Curry cooked with mustard gravy, rice, chapati, and many other. I could take all were on the menu. Besides they had at least 6 types of Bengali sweets as desserts ,like Rossogolla, Payasam, Sandesh, Fresh Fruits apart from ice cream. In all it can be summed up it was a grand feast!
They also offer one drink free with Sunday buffet made with Baccardi or regular cold drink, all for Rs450/ - plus VAT , it's a steal!
Went to the South City Mall for some grocery shopping at Spencer and found this marvelous restaurant on the top floor. Endless courses of kebabs that rival the best I've ever had - old Sahib Singh's in Delhi. Individual braziers in the center of each table. Very good selection of beer and wines as well. A very pleasant discovery.
Favorite Dish: The sausage kebabs.
This chain has been around forever and they finally spelled Chicken Maryland correctly. This family restaurant is really a trip down memory lane - be prepared to laugh.
Favorite Dish: The Chicken Kiev - hilarious. The ice cream is very very good.
This - not Trinca's - is the home of the Calcutta crooners. For nearly seventy years the place for international cusine in a very sophisticated setting. I've been going to this restaurant since 1967 - I miss the old crowd and the music - but the food is still very good.
Favorite Dish: Steak Diane - yes steak
Bengalis will tell you that you cannot buy Bengali food. Well this is pretty close to authentic. Try one of the combination platters and definitely ask the waiter what is particular good that day. A charming bungalow down a quiet lane - family style.
Favorite Dish: The non-vegetarian combo - and anything with the day's fresh catch.
Located on the top floor of the new Carnac Street Mall. Superb selection. Tends to be a bit crowded on weekends so try a week day buffet. This is your safe and sound introduction to Chaat.
Favorite Dish: The chaat bar
This is simply the best quality restaurant in Calcutta at any price - and this is a bargain. There are 3 branches - I suggest the central city one on Outram Sreet. Go for the lunch buffet as an introduction/sampler.
Favorite Dish: Grilled Bhetki - succulent white fish from the Bay of Bengal - fresh, fresh, fresh. A delicate sauce of mustard, chili and parmesan. Excellent selection of Deserts.
Those who know me well, also know that I am a great food lover and like to explore, experience various kind of food. I noticed, I never wrote anything on our best food " The Lucknawi Gharana", though I am a great connousier of Biryani dishes. I have great penchant for Hyderabadi Gharana and Lucknavi Gharana. The two Gharanas of Nawabs ( mainly Nawab Wajid Ail Shah of Lucknow ( read more about him in my off the beaten path tip) and Nizams of Hyderabad), the two have patronised, experimented, indulged, promoted and pampered the greatest Chefs of India.their culinery expertise is now known all over the world. The various Kebabs, Biryanys came from their stables only. They perfected the art of Mughlai cooking, though the original Mughal food came from Samarkand in Central Asia with Babar the Emperor!
Lucknow, regraded as one of finest cities of India emanates a culture that combines emotional warmth, a high degree of shophistication, courtesey and love for gracious living. The sublime cultural richness famous a" Awadhi Tehzeeb", blends the culture of two communties living side by side for centuries, sharing similar interest, speaking a commmon language and sharing their food too. Many of the cultural traits and customs peculier to Lucknow have become living legends today. The credit for this goes to the Nawabs of Awadh, who took very keen interest in every walk of life and encouraged them to attain a rare degree of perfection.
Like various art form, the culinary art of Lucknow was also raised to a fine art under Royal patronage. A favourite past time of the nobility of Awadh was perfecting the art of cooking. The Bawarchis and Rakabdars of Awadh, by their expertise of Blending spices, achieved a high degree of finesse in cooking and presentation of food that too culinary art to the high realms.
Arsalan takes a leaf from the culinary extravaganzas of the Nawabs and brings to you a "Re-past". In an ambience and hospitality, evocative of those golden times when every meal was a feast and every feast a gourmet's delight.
Favorite Dish: We too, on Sunday ( 14th Sept'08) decided to discover exotic creations from the secret recipes of Nawab's kitchen brought to Kolkata by the chefs of Arsalan:
We treated ourselves with Kasturi Kebab, Peshawari Tikka Kebab, Lukhnavi Mutton Biryani Spl, Gosht Kali Mirch, Keema Naan, Chicken Rezala , Butter Naan and Firni as dessert. Each dish was a signature dish and I think I orederd too much food for only three of us. You can guess the quantity was generous and the size of the Naans was so big that we had to get it packed for Munu.
Out of all the food we ordered, I felt Kasturi Kebab, Gost Kali Mirch ( Mutton made with Black Pepper) and Biriany was real exotic. It was a great feeling and great treat for all of us. To taste all the items there one by one I think I will have to make at least 10 repeated visits as to explore the gastronomic delights of Nawbabs require time, patience, ambience, wilingness to explore the inner secrets of the food, only then one can enjoy the exotic food there. We found the quality of meat to be of very good. Only good quality Rewazi Mutton can make the Signature dishes a perfect one!
My this tip is also dedicated to my VT friend Kashi Mallaya ( Mallyak of Sydney)and Faiza_Ifrah ( Canada).
Before going to Thailand our tirade with Thai food continues. On 18th November'09 we celebrated our 18th Anniversary, so we decided to go again for traditional Thai food at a Thai speciality restaurant Benjarong at South City Mall. This Thai speciality restaurant is part of a chain of restaurants from Chennai ( Madras) based company Oriental Cuisines Pvt Ltd. After placing order we were given a plate full of Mian Khum, a traditional Thai appetiser normally given to the guests in traditional Thai villages. It comprises of roasted coconut, dice of lime, ginger, chillies, onion, and peanuts wrapped in a leaf mostly spinach. Then it is smeared or dipped in to palm jaggery sauce and eaten. Each delicious bite is packed with the perfect blend of Thai flavours that includes, sweet, the salty , the sour and the bitter. It was superb appetizer in one word. We then had one of the most exotic starter Pla Meak Tod Nam Prik Pow, it is crispy fried squid with roasted chilli paste and Thai basil leaves. The main course consisted Pla Jalamat Phad Nam Prik Pow, stir fried Pomfret with roasted chilli paste. Khao Pad Tuley, Garlic & tomato flavoured rice tossed with sea food, Guay Tiew Phad Kemao Goong ( Prawn) Thai flat noodle tossed chilli & Thai Basil sauce with prawn. Lastly we were given Rambutans( Malaysian Litchi) with Fig & Ice cream scoops and fruits as dessarts. It was great and grand food and evening.
Favorite Dish: We loved all the food we were suggested and that also makes a revisit is due some other time.