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While the monsoon delayed its coming to Kolkata and the end of June still gave a real feel of 40 degrees, the queen of monsoon is yet to invade the market in plenty. Well, in Bengal, the queen of monsoon is none other than hilsa or ilish, as everyone in Kolkata eagerly waits for it during this time of the year.
Biryani is always a super hit with Kolkata and if there is a festival of Biryani, then the excitement goes up further. Oudh 1590, the popular Awadhi restaurant chain of the city held a biryani festival throughout the month with chef Mansur Ahmed cooking up some excellent varieties of biryani such as keema biryani, where the biryani was made of keema, yakhni gosht biryani, the traditional Kashmiri style biryani and gomti mahi pulao, which was essentially a fish biryani made with bekti. The vegetarian biryanis are not as famous as the non veg biryanis, however there was something to take away for the vegetarians also in the form of Awadhi palak biryani and sabz kofta biryani.
Au Bon Pain which opened up in the iconic place of Music World has revamped the menu and the internal design. It is a tough job to take up an iconic place in Kolkata map and then to be present by the side of another iconic tea shop – The Flury’s. Over the years, it has slowly built up its own loyal customer base. The name which means "the place of good bread" has been more than a bread place with its offerings on soup, salad, bakery items, beverages and many more. So, what has changed now after 2 years? The place has moved into a mode of self service and on entering, the process flow of orders signage will welcome you. While the bakery items now need to be picked up, they have started offering unlimited tea of 6 flavours at Rs 50. Other than the regular favourites in the menu, one cannot miss out keema kouign amann. It is a must try next time you visit here.
This month has also been the month of Holy Ramadan and Iftaar is also a celebration of food. While Zakaria street near Nakhoda Masjid got all dressed up and smelled of kababs all around, one could start with refreshers such as rooh afza, various fruits and then move on to the other sections. Be it, the traditional breads, bakarkhani or sheermal. No matter how much space was left after having the traditional haleem, we could not miss out the chicken changezi and mahi Akbari, where the chicken and katla fish is deep fried in batter and served. City restaurants were also not far behind when it came to celebrating this festival. While The Lalit Great Eastern Kolkata held a special Iftari buffet every Friday till Eid (the haleem here was perhaps the best that you could get in Kolkata) and while most of the restaurants put up different forms of the delicious menu, one stand apart initiative was taken by the Park Hotels. On 3rd of July there was a boat ride to Wajid Ali Shah Imambara ending with descendants of royal family planning a royal Iftaar for all the guests.
A new restaurant is always embraced with warmth by the food lovers of the city and one such which has been making news is Barbeque World at Hatibagan (near Mitra Cinema). Offering unlimited buffet for both lunch and dinner at Rs. 575, the menu includes 5 types of kababs served on the table top tandoor, kosha mangsho, shahi murg makhanwala, subz dum biryani and many more. The pricing and the menu seems to have matched a perfect balance and we hope that this place becomes an important food destination for Kolkata.