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Kolkata is frantically praying for rains while getting deep fried in the summer heat. This year it has been unlikely heat which is definitely taking its toll on the food patterns and food habits. In food business, this period proves to be a great challenge to ensure footfalls to sustain themselves. May was the month where Jamai Shasthi got celebrated in a big way. But was that the only high point in May?
Which Kolkatan would not be happy if being told that a slice of Darjeeling is being sent their way to become a permanent feature? Anyone who has been visiting Darjeeling cannot afford to miss the more than 100-year-old all day breakfast joint and the open terrace for a view of the valley – Keventers. Whistling Kettle has opened up off Golpark offering the famous meat platter of Keventers which consists of Pork Sausages, Bacon, Ham, Salami and Sunny Side Up Egg. In addition, they have a Chicken Platter too along with pizzas and sandwiches but Darjeeling is famous for its tea also. So how about some tea? From Nathmulls, another famous tea exporter, there are various types of tea like black, white, green served in various glassware including a champagne glass too which will definitely entice the tea-loving people in the city.
Bohri cuisine is not found easily in this part of the country and when ITC Sonar organised one, there was a buzz of excitement amongst all the food lovers of the city. The start of the meal with a pinch of salt and then a sweet dish - Sadarnu (rice cooked with sugar and dry fruits in ghee) followed by an elaborate spread was a delight to experience. The Bheja Cutlets, Russian Kabab and the Baida Roti filled with shallow fried lamb mince were the starters. The alternating savoury and sweet dishes form the highlight of this cuisine. Dabba Gosht, Keema Kaleji, Janbhari Murg were each unique of its own with distinct flavours and gravy style. Bohri Khichda and the Jam Jam Pulao had very favourable takers.
Baan Thai is perhaps the final say when it comes to Thai cuisine in the city. It has been a long time that this place has been consistently dishing some of the best curated Thai dishes possible. Some of its evergreen dishes which have earned loyalty over time have been their extraordinary curries and steamed dishes. This month saw the new menu launch of Baan Thai with the popular Chef Clae. More seafood salads, an introduction of the grill and steamed section which includes an excellent whole Baby Bekti preparation which has flavours of essential Thai herbs, fried rice with Thai chili paste; some old dishes have been tweaked just not in flavours but also in presentation and so on.
The recently launched Social Kitchen at The Holiday Inn hosted an Oriental food festival which focused on dishes from various Chinese provinces. So, there were dishes like Tofu and Water Chestnut in Chili Bean Sauce, Sichuan Pepper Flavoured Vegetables in Dry Chilli Sauce, Crispy Lamb in Chili Garlic Sauce, Xo Fried Rice, Wok Fried Red Pepper Noodles and the likes.
Hopefully, the rain gods will arrive by mid of June, if not earlier. The city is all abuzz with Eid preparations and Ramzan walks. If you are a fish lover then this is the time to be in Kolkata – Hilsa will come in. You will have to adjust to the waterlogged streets, a lot of humidity but that is worth considering the Khichudi (it is the Bengali version of khichadi in a more runny style, especially had during monsoons) with deep fried Ilish in mustard oil which follows.
A true blue Kolkata foodie, Anindya loves cooking and eating his Kosha Mangsho. Anindya weaves stories around food as he believes exceptional food is an emotional experience. Previously a restauranter, now a passionate photographer and traveller, he runs a successful blog called Pikturenama and contributes to other publications.