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Authentic Bengali food is hard to find in Mumbai. Some restaurants offer it but none match upto the original flavours of Bengal. One has to wait for a food festival at a hotel where Bengali chefs are flown in. Jamavar, the signature Indian restaurant at The Leela Mumbai has for the first time attempted a Bengali Food Festival. On till the 30th of January, this festival is open only for dinner.
Bengalis consider winters as the best season, as one can enjoy all kinds of food more abundantly than during any other season. The weather is indeed perfect to savour diverse Bengali delicacies.
Head Chef Surender Mohan, has painstakingly researched and with the help of Chef Hafiz Rahman of Aaheli, The Peerless Inn Kolkata, a restaurant famed for its Bengali food, curated a special menu to give patrons in Mumbai the real taste of Bengali cuisine.
Mochar chop, piyaz postor bora, bhetki patoori, mangsher chop are some of the traditional starters one can choose from and enjoy with kasundi, the quintessential mustard sauce of Bengal, the flavours of which are unparalleled. Sip the sweet and tangy aam pora shorbot or aam panna, before moving on to the main course.
Typically of course, in Bengali cuisine, one is served all the dishes together and relished these in a sequence, each dish separately with the rice, which is the mainstay of this cuisine. Gobindobhog rice, with its unmistakable flavours, enhances the taste of the meal.
For mains, the carnivores can gorge on rui macher jhol, ilish bhapa, kasha mangsho, paired with luchis, motor shutir kochuri or a chingri pulao. Vegetarians need not despair, as Bengali cuisine interestingly offers several varieties of vegetables, cooked in unique preparations and Jamavar offers a spread. Narkel diye cholar dal, shukto, pyaj aloo posto, potoler dorma, dhokar dalna, are what one can try, most of these being slow-cooked and thus more flavoursome.
Cooked with traditional spices and ingredients like panch phoran, gondhoraj lebu, poppy seeds, mustard oil, the food is replete with the aromas and nutty flavours of Bengal.
What is a Bengali meal without sweets? Jamavar ensures that you savour the best. Most of the sweets are made with sugar or jaggery and milk, sometimes even thickened. One can sinfully indulge in raj bhog, mishti doi, gurer payesh, patishapta and monolobha maalpoa.
Well-presented, each dish boasts of subtle flavours and is light. A meal at Jamavar is truly representative of the actual flavours of Bengal.
Food critic, features writer and columnist, Mini Ribeiro is a qualified Journalist, from IIMC New Delhi. She specialises in the Food & Beverage and Hospitality space. As an established food & beverage writer, Mini currently contributes to several leading English publications across the country – Asian Age, Hindustan Times, Sunday Financial Express, Hotelier India, Go Getter and Vistara inflight magazines and Rediff.com. She also has her own You Tube channel called Mini’s Food Fundas. Fond of cooking, Mini enjoys experimenting in the kitchen with various cuisines, with Indian regional food, being her favourite. She has recently started, a platform for home talent, called 'Flavours from Home', an initiative which aims to make women who are passionate about cooking, entrepreneurs.