BENGALURU: October is here and so are the festivities of both Pujo and Navratri. For all those who hail from the city, and are not able to go back home this Pujo, we hit the Calcutta roads in a virtual ride through ‘Next Stop Kolkata’ at Monkey Bar.
The menu delves deep into the streets, by-lanes, and some of the most iconic stalls in the city and offers a variety of street food that has stood the test of time. From Beadon Street Fish Roll to Girish Park-er Shoitan Deem, College Street Hing-er Kochuri to Chitpur Road Chicken Rezala, from Tiretti Bazaar Prawn Dumpling to Esplanade Mughlai Porota, Vardaan Market Moong Daal Pakodi Chaat to Elgin Road Pork Momos, Lake Market Chicken Kabiraji to Vivekananda Park Ghooghni, the menu covers it all.
As we sat in the tastefully decorated interiors of the joint – chandmalas and a cut-out of a big yellow taxi have been used to light up the space – we were given a quiz to solve. On having a closer look, we saw the map of Kolkata sketched out in front of us. To test our knowledge of the city, we were asked to point out landmark locations on the map. We were made familiar with the names of the dishes on the menu and the history behind them. There were also prizes for guessing.
We started our trip down the streets of Kolkata with Beadon Fish Roll, which is the quintessential fish roll found in most street corners of the city. A copy of the authentic dish, this too is served with mustard sauce, known as Kasundi. The next dish we dug into was the meaty Girish Parker Shoitan Deem, a deep-fried egg encased in shami kebab mince. As its name suggests, this dish on the menu is an ode to the roadside tele-bhaja shops.
Next, we stopped at Vardaan Market Moong Dal Pakodi Chaat, which are deep- fried moong dal dumplings sold outside Vardaan Market in Kolkata. To make it resemble chaat and more interesting to eat, the pakora is topped with khatta meetha chutney and yoghurt.
Moving on to other destinations, we headed to Vivekananda Park Ghooghni, served with bread – just how it is had back home. A bite into this dish can tear you up out of nostalgic love for barir khabbar (home-made food).
The next dish we tried Esplanade’s Mughlai Porota. Unlike the deep-fried unhealthy porota that one expects at the mention of Mughlai Porota, this one is light on the stomach.
Being overloaded and overwhelmed at the variety that’s on the menu, the last dish that we stopped on was the Chitpur Road Chicken Rezala. What was best about this dish was the triangle-shaped parotas that go with it. The hot parota and the soft delicious meat of the chicken are a perfect blend and a perfect way to end your meal!
All of this food was devoured with the help of Piara Peara, a drink where guava is spiked with tequila
and tabasco and is served in a chilli-rimmed glass. After our (food) trip, we can vouch for Next Stop Kolkata to be an ideal treat for all those who wish to take a joyride through the streets of Kolkata this Pujo. Shubho Sharodiya!