Calcutta, here i come

October 12, 2010

I must write this post quickly. For, in a few hours, I will be in Calcutta where i won’t have a computer.

My mission this time, as always, will be to sample as much dishes as possible. Judgement, obviously, will be of essence.

I must avoid pitfalls like trying out the American Breakfast at Flurry’s; it marred the beginning of my pujas last year, but that’s another story. I shall give the Bangladeshi brunch at Prince a try. It will be interesting to test whether i can cope with mutton and khichdi early in the day.

Puja's the time to be in Calcutta. (Pic: Dwaipayan Ghosh Dastidar)

An unhurried lunch at Tung Fong is a must, just to observe how blissfully my wife polishes off the spinach and noodles after downing the signature pitcher of mint sorbet. And, to rekindle my affair with a humongous plate of pepper prawns and beer.

I will give Mocambo a try, for trying out Dansberg (one of the very few restaurants to serve Danny Denzongpa’s wonderful wonderful beer) and Baked Alaska (delight to watch the blue flame flicker from the warm-outside-chilled-inside dessert).

If time permits and a largish group can be gathered, a dive into the decrepit Eau Chew for a ladle of chimney soup should be on the cards.

I will visit my aunt’s at Salt Lake, so a tiny stop at Mitra Cafe in Sobhabazar won’t do any harm. Just for its brain chop (please don’t say “yuck yuck”; it tastes heavenly and is on a par with Karim’s brain curry). Before hopping on to an auto, i will bite into the best prawn cutlets in the world (Alen’s Kitchen), a stone’s throw away.

The last time i dined at a Bengali restaurant in Calcutta was way back in 2001, when Kewpies was a fledgling establishment. Ever cynical of Bengalis shying away from cooking at home and boasting of the kosha mangsho or pabdar jhaal at eateries, i am game to turn a bit flexible for a day, only to gauge how ma-mashider signature dishes taste at, say, Tero Parbon, 6 Ballygunj Place or Bhajohari Manna.

The spread at my aunt's last Puja. (Pic: Dwaipayan Ghosh Dastidar)

And then, there’s Tangra — the original Chinese hub in India where they serve authentic food at impossible prices. Because i am not a great fan of this cuisine, the best part for me dining at the unobtrusive eateries dotting the city’s leather belt is to order a gin and tonic and lazily munch on complimentary prawn wafers (i can kill for prawn; for the wafers, rarely seen in Delhi, well, i can kidnap).

I plan to meet an old friend at the ABP office on Friday night. New Cathay Bar is nearby, so we may drop in to say hi to Fahimbhai, who was our favourite waiter when we used to frequent the bar five-six years ago. Cathay, incidentally, makes a mean chilli pork.

Short on time, i must end the post now. I will return to the virtual world after a week full of Arsalan’s biryani, mutton rolls, phuchka, tele-bhaja, alu kabli, cutlets and roshogollas,

By the way, did i tell you mother’s cooking hilsa fry and prawn malaikari for lunch tomorrow?

Calcutta, here i come!



5 Responses to “Calcutta, here i come”

  1. Barring the alcohol and pork,I am, well, how do I describe it? okay well I will say it and I do not care if I sound rude or rather to be more appropriate ‘read rude’,I am seething with rage and I am envious of you and Sharmi– imagine enjoying all the culinary delights of Calcutta while poor me a ‘Probashi Bengali’ can only just imagine how it feels like to be in ‘Foodie Heaven’— yes I mean Heaven and not Haven.I hope you enjoy your stay and come back with delightful stories.

  2. Sharmi said

    Ha ha, I had Bhetki this time (happens to be my favourite apart from Parshe) and Astami’s signature luchi, aloo dum, chholar daal, begun bhaja, chatni, payesh. Mom’s cooking was yummm 🙂

  3. Thank God I had Bhetki here in Bombay just sometime back or else I would be so,so envious of you. Glad to know you had a nice time I am looking forward to a detailed post on your trip. I am sure it is going to be a yummy post. Yes you are right when mums cook its always yumm. Shubho Bijoya.

  4. netdhaba said

    @Shilpi Bose: Shubho Bijoya, ma’am.
    Well, didn’t even sample 5% of the dishes i had expected to. Nevertheless, it was a nice puja — family gatherings and stuff. Will write about all these soon.
    Thanks for the comments and please read on 🙂

  5. netdhaba said

    @Sharmi: I also had Ashtami’s signature luchi, but at 1.30 in the morning! 🙂

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