The Grand Trunk Culinary Journey that began from the holy
city of Amritsar last year has reached its final destination, Kolkata taking
halts in the midway at Delhi and Benares. This journey has been quite an
experience so far. Chef de Cuisine Ashwani Kumar Singh has got us the best of
Bengali culture and food from the sweetest city of India, Kolkata.
Bengali food that originated and evolved in the region
of Bengal situated in the eastern subcontinent of India (presently divided into
West Bengal in India and Bangladesh) is rich and varied in its platter,
starting from snacks to main courses to sweets. Although the food habits,
tastes, preferences and choice of dishes vary with different districts,
communities and religions, the basic course generally remains the same with
rice and fish playing a dominant role.
The Leela Ambience Convention Hotel, Delhi has tried to
create a replica of the city in its open courtyard Frangipani and extension to
their most popular restaurant Dilli 32. The Howrah gate and the Howrah Bridge
replica just transform the whole ambience of the place. The Rabindra Music
plays in the background when you enter the place. We loved the puchkawala stand
which was serving yummy puchkas, Calcutta style. The Live counters are set up
which serve the hot snacks, Ghugni chaat (chhole) etc.
The Buffet counter is a big one and at least 25 dishes
are on display including both veg and non veg. We started with the Gondhorvaraj
(special type of aromatic lemon) drink which was a kind of sweet lassi but was
too good and unique in taste. The Jhal Muri (kind of bhelpuri) was strong and
pungent with the flavor of mustard oil and I just loved it. Then the starters
(Veg and Non Veg) came onto out table, and mind it the variety was humongous
but the style of preparation was the same for all i.e. all were deep fried as the
Bongs love to do. Though the ones we tasted and loved were the Bombay duck (fish),
Chicken Chop, Veg Chop, Bata fry (a fish found in Bengal) and yes not to forget
the Mochar cutlet (fish cutlet) .
Main course was extensive as I already mentioned, and
each dish was prepared with full heart and soul. As, we were told by the Chef
that Bengalis usually start their meal with a dish which ha s bitter element in
it as it charges them up and makes the digestive system ready for the other
dishes which follow the course. We also started with the Shukto (mix of
vegetable likes potato, pumpkin, bitter pumpkin), and them moved onto my all
time favourite Mutton Rezala and the Kosha Mangsho were the stars of the show.
The Aloo posto and the Begun Bhaja were also made very well. The Kolkata style
Biryani with potatoes was awesome accompanied with some gravy from the Kosha.
The Mustard gravy fish dish was the best amongst all fish dishes I tried when had with
the short grain rice from Bengal.
Now, the most awaited moment had arrived. Yes, you
guessed it right I am talking about the desserts. The closest association of
Bengal is with its sweets and the sweet tooth the Bengalis are known for. “The
sweetest part of India”, how rightly and aptly quoted.
At least a dozen types of sweets are on offer, which includes
sondesh, nolen gur rosogulla, Sita bhog, mishti
doi, pantua and several more. They were yummy and I bet, you can’t have
Venue: The Leela
Ambience Convention Hotel, Delhi
March – 16th April
Time: 7:30 pm
Rs.1532 all inclusive; Kids below 12, no charges.
Folk music by renowned and award winner
Bengali singer Ms Rini Mukherjee.
Labels: AMBIENCE, BENGALI, bloggers, brunch, convention, delhi, dilli 32, dinner, festival, food, grand trunk, leela