Once upon a time, Bengal was a melange of French, Jewish, Parsi, Portuguese, Dutch, Rajasthan, Bihar and many more cultures. Being the British capital up until 1911 and a major port for the East India Company, Calcutta was a melting pot of cultures. The food was thus heavily influenced, especially in restaurants, even in the 70s and 80s. However, over time, Park Street, which was the centre of colonial cuisine had already lost its charm and modern-day trends had taken over. With East India Room, at the newly launched heritage property Raajkutir, food lovers can once again experience the bygone era.
A host of dishes from the classic of Prawn Cocktail and Bangers and Mash to Tiffin Box Bhapa Chingri and Mutton Dak Bungalow, there is plenty to choose from and each dish will take you through a journey down memory lane.
Note that it is Calcutta and not Kolkata. This is no ordinary Prawn Cocktail in a heavy dose of mayonnaise. The legendary Kolkata Prawn Cocktail comes on a frozen lady's land. Perfectly seasoned and with just the right amount of sauce, this dish is an unadulterated treat both visually and tastewise.
The Mulligatawny deserves a special mention. Originating from Southern India during the British colonial period, this soup was very popular amongst restaurants of yesteryears. Served in a soup plate, the rice comes in 2 small roundlets, a ring of soft boiled egg and some shredded chicken on top with a lime wedge sits like jewels in the soup. Finally, the curry is poured from the kettle into the soup plate. A slight squeeze of the lemon and the textured curry is luxurious and intensely soul-satisfying - a dish one could go back to time and again.
Old Dhaka City Jali Kebab
The recipe for Old Dhaka City Jali Kebab comes all the way from Dhaka but with a small twist to enhance the overall look. Instead of the minced kebab rolled in egg and grilled, a fine egg net is created and wrapped around the lamb mince kebab. Naturally tender lamb mince with a mellow murmur of spice and the egg net is simply sublime.
Dhakai Morog Polao
Even the rice grain is brought in from Bangladesh and the protein used is authentically a morog or a cock. With abundance of caramelised onions, this pulao is a show stopper. The pulao is cloaked in ghee and the fragrance is unparalleled to any other.
A la Kiev
The butter just oozes out of this tender chicken breast and it is not at all a dry one. Smothered with butter, the chicken is marinated with herbs and lemon juice and crumb fried. A brilliantly executed dish and is a must try.
Dacres Lane Stew
If not anything else, the most comforting of all dishes is the Dacres Lane Chicken Stew. After several trials, they did come up with the exact recipe of the stew and the best part is perhaps the bread that comes with it. Baked in house, the bread is just heavenly with oodles of butter. Just like at Dacres, lane, it comes with a large piece of potato, papaya and a carrot.
Raja Nrishinghoprotap's Dungar Chicken
This is a signature dish and perhaps the only dish that does not hold a strong Kolkata connection. However, in line with the story on which the property was built, this dish is fiery, complex and definitely not for the meek hearted.
Mutton dak bungalow
Mutton Dak Bungalow is absolutely spot on in flavours with tender mutton pieces in a nice thick sauce. One whole onion and the potato in the curry are a fantastic touch.
Tiffin Box Bhapa Chingri
This is a hands down reminder of your mom's cooking with buttery prawns in a heart-warming coconut and mustard paste sauce with just the right amount of spunk.
Flambéed Baked Alaska
Very few places in Kolkata serves a Baked Alaska this good. Beautifully executed, the dish is flambéed on the table and takes you down memory lane.
East India Room is open from 07:00 am to 11:00 am for breakfast, Noon to 03:00 pm for lunch and 07:00 pm to 11:00 pm for dinner. Dinners are always candle lit in a romantic setting.
A meal for 2 would approximately cost INR 1500 plus GST
For someone who's run two restaurants, being a baker and cook par excellence comes easily to Madhushree . When she's not eating out, she's organizing her own pop ups or experimenting with regional recipes. Her experiments with food and her recipes are part of Pikturenama , where she's a co founder.