The Real Deal
The first post getting such major hits and the kind words from my friends demanding more to the list, got me into adding the second edition to this series, this soon! So, before the drool from reading ‘Kolkata’s ‘Hyangla’ Hangouts‘(1) dries up, let’s dig deep into the real chefs-d’oeuvre from our favorite restaurants in Kolkata. Before I proceed, there are two things to note here:
1. I will not be mentioning any Bengali Cuisine Specialty Restaurant which are popular in major cities not just in Kolkata.
(psst: see the end of this post)
2. I have not considered the ambiance rating while jotting down this list. If you’re a foodie, ambiance would be the last thing in your mind once you’re hooked into the out-of-the-world taste!
Okay then, grab a glass to dilute your gastro-enzymes as you read on!
The best Biryani creators in town is unarguably, tongues out, ARSALAN (Park circus).
Kolkata: 28, Circus Avenue, Park Circus Area.
Open hours: 10:30 a.m-11:30 p.m
Specialty: North-Indian, Mughlai.
Wow Bites: Arsalan Special Biryani, Kakori Kebab, Achari chicken butter Masala, Haryali Murgh, Arsalan Chicken Masala, cheese chicken kebab, Mutton dopiyaza, Murgh Mussallam, Firni.
FYI: Their Biryani is not for the faint-liver’/stomach’ed people. Hot, spicy and with the distinct masala-yellow tinge we all like our Biryani adorned with. ART.
The side dishes mutton and chicken pieces are found as islands-in-oil, the latter being separated from the real gravy. For a Bong, the Firni is not bad either . The 25 herbs authentic Haleem during the Ramazan month is awesome as well.
Aur Bhyya, Biryani ho to Arsalan Jaisi ho warna Na ho.
Now, if you like your Biryani white-light like me, with the smell and ambrosial taste intact there’s another place you must must visit. My favorite again:
Aminia, New Market Area.
Kolkata: 6 A, SN Banerjee Road.
Open Hours: 11am-11pm.
Wow Bites: Mutton Biryani, Chicken Chaap, Mutton shahi Rezala, Chicken Tandoori.
FYI: Biryani = Insane. Rest = Unforgettable, Unparalleled. The Ramazan season also boasts 6 different Haleem preparations in Beef ( Brain and tongue), chicken and mutton.
Sabir’s, Nizam’s, Aliah, Zeeshan, Shiraz etc are other popular jaunts in the city which wouldn’t disappoint you anyway.
i) Indian-Chinese, Bengali-Chinese (adapted Hakka style Chinese cuisine). Any outlet at Tangra, Chinatown.
Not all are family-dining places, many are shabby with nasty to indifferent waiters and pubs are far from being decent. With best friends accompanied, this is the only place in Kolkata that serves you the best Soups and starters,Cantonese, Schezuan or Thai style spreads, delectable Prawn dishes . To mention a few names-
a) Kim Ling (13, South Tangra Road): Famous for Soups and Starters mostly. Chilli sauce is a plus!
b) Golden Joy (50/1, Matherswar Tala Road, Near Gobinda Khatick Post Office, Tangra): Must try their Golden fried prawn, Chilli garlic red pepper chicken, Korean fish sticks and dim sums. Dragon chicken, Green chilli chicken and kung pao style gravy.
c) Beijing (77/1, Christopher Road, Tangra): family restaurant, nice cocktails, Mutton spare ribs, lemon chicken.
ii) Tung Nam
Kolkata: 24, Chattwala Gully, Near Bara Bazar. 700012. located on Sunyat Sen Street (behind Poddar Court) close to the Central Metro station.
Open Hours: 11:30 a.m- 3p.m, 6pm-10pm.
Wow Bites: Wanton soup, Chill Pork and chicken hamei, fung mee mein, Kaptai/pork hamchoy, pork in hamei sauces and of course the roast pork.
FYI: For a connoisseur this place serves ‘authentic’ Chinese minus the burning hole in your pocket. The wanton literally melts in your mouth.
iii) Mainland China, Gurusaday Road.
FYI: Swanky ambiance. Try out Chicken sui mai, tsing hoi chicken, dumplings, peking duck, wok tossed prawn. Good Buffet spread and if you are lucky it might taste better as well! The best Family Dining Restaurant in the city.
i) OLY PUB, Park street.
People who know me might be expecting a 2000 words essay on this place! Beer/ Vodka/ Rum, Sprite/ Breezers + Steak (Beef or Mutton), Chanachur, Chicken a’la Kiev+fags+ unlimited Adda hours. The Grown up’s happy meal!! But you can enjoy only and only when accompanied by best friends, definitely not a place to visit with family or teetotals.
ii) Mocambo, Park street.
Wow Bites: Chicken a’la Kiev, Fish Florentine, Beckty Meuniere, Chicken Paprika, Steaks, pork shnitzel, the tenderloin steak, Baked Alaska (dessert), risotto di scampi,ham steak, chicken cordon bleu, Lobster Thermidore.
4. Kebabs and Grills: Flame and Grill (South City).
5. Chelo and Sizzlers: Peter Cat (Park street).
6. Italian: Little Italy (Fort Knox Building, Camac Street), Fire and Ice ( Russel Street), La Cucina (Hyatt Regency), and Pizza Hut (City Centre 1, Saltlake).
The same menu, Pasta, Sphagetti in different sauces/ Penne, Gnoche, desserts, quesadillas, authentic Parmesan cheese dips, Lasagna, Pizza, Risotto, soup and salads.
7. Thai: Benjarong, I haven’t tried out the buffet there nor anything in Mexican or Japanese anywhere yet, so, unfortunately I’m not able to enlist one here.
8. South Indian.
Tie: Prema Vilas (Lake Market) and Tamarind ( Sarat Bose Road) for the authentic south Indian flavor. I hate the service at Banana Leaf in case you wanted to argue there, although their filtered coffee is really good!
The Dosas (plain, onion Rava and cheese ones particularly) served piping hot after the wait they make in preparing them makes them all the more scrumptious at Prema Vilas. They make the best coconut chutney as well. Two thumbs up to their ultra clean, spacious and calm ambiance!
While at Tamarind, the menu is rich with Hyderabadi Biryani, chettinad, chicken 65, lemon and curd rice with appalams and pickle, Kodi Amravathi and coorg chicken etc.
I have heard Anand’s (Chadni chowk) is pretty good but I’ve never been there myself.
This constitutes a summing-up big deal thinking from a Bong foodspective. Without much ado now let’s just start thinking sweet already.
9. i) Mishti Doi: Mitthai (Beckbagan)
KachaGolla, RosoGolla, Nimki/Singara and Lemon Sandesh. Doi and Rosogolla are ABSOLUTELY NO MATCH ELSEWHERE IN THE WORLD.
K.C.Das’s tinned Rosogollas are good but falls short to Mithai’s magical mix.
ii) Jolbhora and Motichur: Surya Kumar Modak Grandsons ( Chandannagar)
A 100 year old heritage. Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi were a fan of the Jolbhora discovered by Surya Modak. The reputation and craft well lives on. The rose water inside stays intact for 3 days in case you were wondering!
iii) Chamcham: Mrityunjoy Sweets (chandannagar)
Breathtaking. Lal- Doi is again- out of the world.
iv) Pati-Shapta, Pantua: Banchharam (Gariahat).
v) Indrani, Labang Latika, Radhaballavi and Nolen gur Sandesh @ Ganguram (Golpark)
Darbesh tastes good at Sen Mahashay (Hathibagan, my friend will kill me if I didn’t mention this one, #sweetmemories).
Ice Cream Sandesh, Naram-paak sandesh, Pranhara and of-course Amriti, they are delicious at Bhim Nag’s (Bowbazar).
Malai Koda: @ Kamdhenu’s. Tastes like Milk cake but believe me when I say it’s the most special sweet I’ve ever tasted and it being a bucket list worthy number.
Jilipi from Sharma sweets. And Pedha from inside Kalighat Mandir’s Ganesh’s sweetshop.
vi) Rabri: Chittaranjan (Shyambazar)
I have never been more addicted to sweets until my first tryst with their specialty on December 5,2006 happened. Indebted. Spellbinding.
vii) Balaram Mullick and Radharaman Mullick/Balaram’s: Oh just get me the entire store.
Mango Doi, ChocoMud Pie, Baked Rosogolla, Strawberry, Pineapple, Butterscotch and chocolate flavored Sandesh. Sinful.
10. Ice Cream.
The Cream and Fudge Factory( any outlet), Movenpick (Rawdon Street), Mama Mia gelato (Ballygunge).
Confectioners: Nahoum and Son’s, Flury’s, Au bon Pain. All in Central Kolkata. Kookie jar is a store of the past but it still makes the best lemon tarts in town.
Here ends my Kolkata’s ‘Hyangla’ Hangouts series. Until I get myself abreast with the city’s newly opened Japanese and Mexican restaurants, this is all the food I can think about for now! These food explorations work for me because of the encouragements from family and friends/ fellow enthusiasts, and also for the fact that I’m not that bothered about the after-effects in health/weight it might ensue, at least until I’m 30. The rule of moderation in gastronomic activities does not apply to a Bong any way! Hell with doubts or restrictions, in the end there will always be a mix of Nux Vom and Gelusil teamed with Hajmola back home to save the day!
FROM 1: If you still want me to throw in just one name I would say Kewpie’s.
The menus are a same everywhere and places like Peerless Inn, Oh! Calcutta charge in steep despite a mediocre fare.
Food at 6, Ballygunge place is really(REALLY!) good but it literally ROBS people past the lure!
There are many reasonable places for us cash strapped students like Kasturi, Padmaparer Rannaghar, Sholo Ana Bangali, Bhojohori Manna, Koshe Kasha etc where you can taste the cuisine’s renowned delicacies. Since, I’m not a big fan of the cuisine I think they just taste the same everywhere. Besides, they can never match the Bong kitchen delights back in my home, true story.