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Being part of the Eastern India, Kolkata has always been deprived of good Punjabi food, other than a handful of dhabas in the city. A bowl of Dal Tadka with a dollop of butter and some Tandoori Roti, a plateful of Chicken Kababs and some creamy Butter Chicken, it is bound to make a person salivate. Dhabas are an option but as a dining place, they do not offer any great ambience or service. It is just a dhaba. Contrary to the popular belief, Barbeque, Peter Cat and Mocambo at Park Street have been the serving a few good Punjabi dishes over the years. In the last decade, Kolkata has seen the opening of some restaurants dedicated to North Indian food, especially Punjabi.
Balle Balle Dhaba in Salt Lake could be called as an uber cool dhaba. The ambience is bright and cheerful with plenty of celebrity Sardars adorning the walls, some cartoons, Bollywood movie posters of Punjabi origins; anything and everything to do with a Punjabi. It is fun. So is the food. The kitchen is surrounded with glass and one can see the kababs being made. Try the Chicken Tangdi Kabab and Butter Chicken with some Garlic Naan and you will be in heaven.
Byepass Dhaba may be named a dhaba, but it is a multi cuisine upscale restaurant good for family and friends on the bypass. Located bang on the bypass near science city, this is not your typical dhaba. It is a proper restaurant with large covers, wooden tables and leatherite covered chairs, good quality crockery and cutlery and overall an ambience amicable for family gatherings. The food is definitely delicious and reminds you of a dhaba. The menu is quite extensive and the tandoor specialities plus the Punjabi food are worth a try. At this pocket-friendly place, the Cheese Naan with Chicken Bharta and Malai Kabab are worth every penny.
For a food lover, Desi Mehak offers much to try out and appreciate. Even though the entrance is quite inconspicuous and the ambience is a tad dull, however, the food is mind blowing and makes up for the ordinary ambience. The kababs are the highlight and almost all of them are cooked to perfection and give your taste buds a sensational time. Kadai Chicken, Malai Kofta, Biryani, with some parathas; everything that you have is just plain good.
Punjabee Rasoi is a hidden gem of the city. Tucked away in one obscure lane near Kasba, it is a neat restaurant spread over 2 floors. People who know about this place do not mind travelling the distance to enjoy a bite of good old Punjabi food. One must try the Adrak Ke Panje, basically, soft Mutton Chaps char grilled to perfection, which somehow every person who comes in does order. The Dal Makhni will take you straight to Punjab as it is super creamy and cooked brilliantly. This is the one place, without a doubt, that has to be experienced for Punjabi food.
Sanjha Chulha at Southern Avenue is an offshoot of the original one at bypass. The place is highlighted with images and artefacts, some etched on the walls, depicting life in Punjab and there is warmth exuding, perhaps from the amber lighting. Typical North Indian food is what they serve and true to their reputation, the Kababs are delectable. The Masala Kulcha with Butter Chicken and some Tandoori Chicken is a real treat. Most interesting are the unique fusion desserts, like a Mihidana Rabdi Tart or Imarti Cheese Mousse.
Rang De Basanti Dhaba has 2 outlets in the city, both having bright and lively interiors pleasing to the modern crowd. The quintessential butter chicken along with some tandoori roti is a speciality here. One must try the signature Keema Kaleji and Chicken Bharta for a wholesome dining experience.
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.