Be it the appetising aroma of the Kolkata biryani, the richness of kosha mangsho, simmering bhetki paturi or the amazing chittal peti, the delicacies of the city of the Howrah Bridge possess infinite variations and textures.
The city cherishes its many local cuisines. The alleys of Kolkata waft with smokey flavours escaping from the open pans and tandoors of the heritage food streets.
Such treasures are seldom available in one particular area but are now up for grabs here in Delhi at the ongoing “Grand Trunk Culinary Journey” that will continue till April 16 at the Leela Ambience Convention Hotel in east Delhi.
The well-crafted menu at the Dilli 32 restaurant brings out the taste of Bengal through a melange of authentic flavours and contemporary presentations with the iconic songs of Manna Dey and Hemant Kumar playing in the background.
To begin, you can choose from the five counters serving the starters — Cutlet/Chop/Bhaja, Kolkata Roll, Chat and Chai. All the chops — aloo chop, mutton chop and mochar chop — were superb, though the bata bhaja wasn’t that great.
Among the starters, what stood apart was the fish fry and chicken kabiraji that is made of fish, meat or chicken, crumb-coated, then deep-fried and covered with a lacy net coating of egg batter.
Since it’s a buffet, every dish deserves to be tasted — but because there is such a wide range on offer, you may miss out on a few. What one can’t afford to miss are the kancha lemon moong dal and every Bengali’s favourite — sukto among vegetarian dishes and bhetki paturi and chingri malai curry among the non-vegetarian ones.
Then, there was fish curry — pabda sorche jhal — that would impress those who really enjoy the sharp smell of mustard.
I had a great time licking my fingers to kosha mangsho’s velvety gravy and biting into the juicy pieces of meat. One should definitely try this curry recipe made with mutton, potatoes, bay leaf, and yoghurt as this main dish is a true delight.
There was also mughlai paratha, which is an exemplary illustration of Mughal influence on Bengali cuisine. Out of the four options — chhanar, chicken kassa, mutton kassa, and keema – I picked chicken kassa.
The parantha, stuffed with chicken and eggs, was thick and thus quite filling, but it didn’t leave a mark.
To add exuberance to taste buds, one should rather experience Bengali traditional cuisine like the Kolkata biryani. You can always pair it up with any of the fish curries.
It was then time to conclude the meal with the most talked about Bengali obsession — mishti.
The most talked about ones are undoubtedly sondesh, the heavenly rosogula and the two underrated sweet dishes on the Bengali platter — the delectable sita bhog and pithas.
Sita bhog is a rice dish sweet, packed with flavors along with mini jamoons in the rice, while pitha is a type of rice cake.
# The writer’s visit was at the invitation of the Leela Ambience Convention Hotel. Mudita Girotra can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.