It’s been about 16 years since I moved into Mumbai from Kolkata.
Over the years there has been a growth of Bengali restaurants in Mumbai. I have discovered places to buy the fresh water fish that we Bengalis love in Mumbai. Yet, I miss the food of Kolkata here. Trips back home are planned basis what we want to eat when we go there.
There are a few places that I make it a point to stop at to eat when I go to Kolkata. Some are based on memories of my life in Kolkata. Some are new discoveries. The places chosen are also a function of the parts of the city we frequent more.
Here is a list of five places where I head to when in Kolkata:
Nizam’s, New Market
I grew up on egg rolls after school, from our local roll shop in the suburbs, when I was in Kolkata. Then I discovered Nizam’s and fell in love with the rolls there. I later read in Vir Sanghvi’s book, Rude Food, that rolls were invented here. I love the mutton and the beef rolls at Nizam’s and prefer to have the onions fried and not raw. They don’t add sauces here unlike in the rolls shops in the suburbs.
Golden Shiraz, Park Street
I discovered the biryani of Shiraz in an office do just before I moved out of Kolkata. I was enamoured by the fact that the biryani here is not greasy at all. Since then it has remained my favourite spot for Calcutta biryani.
I just love sitting by the windows at Flurys and indulging in some people watching over a plate of the heritage baked beans (with green chillies), coffee (which has improved over the years) and a strawberry cube pastry.
Phuchkas at New Market
We still don’t get phuchkas, the Calcutta version of pani puris, in Mumbai. The folks in Bangalore and Delhi are luckier. My favourite haunt for phuchkas in Kolkata are the phuchka-wallahs at New Market though we also stop for phuchkas outside South City Mall and Dakshinapan.
Bhojohori Manna, Hindustan Park
We went to this swank Kolkata outlet of our favourite Bengali restaurant in Mumbai during our last trip and quite enjoyed the food there. This is where I will head to next time I am on the lookout for a Bengali meal in Kolkata.
Mocambo is a place I used to go to earlier for its Continental fare but haven’t been there in a while. Jimmy’s Kitchen is where we head to Chinese. I used to go there with my father as a kid but I have lost my fascination for Kolkata Chinese after I fell in love with Ling’s Pavilion in Mumbai.
Posts on Kolkata eats can evoke pretty volatile reactions as people have strong points of view on what to eat there.
Would love to know what you would pick as your top 5
Kalyan Karmakar authors the popular award winning blog, Finely Chopped and is an authority on the food of Mumbai. His extensive knowledge of the city's food scene has been featured in publications such as Femina, Mumbai Mirror and BCC Good Food. He was one of the founding critics of EazyDiner's Mumbai team.