Ilish and Chingri,the stalwarts of Bengali cuisine dominate most Poila Baishakh food festivals in the city
As children we used to wait eagerly for Poila Baisakh. Conveniently timed right after the exam season, Poila Baishakh meant carefree shopping expeditions (remember Chaitra sales?) and of course a hearty meal at home which your mother/grandmother/aunt lovingly prepared after slaving for hours in the kitchen.
Times have changed and todays generation is no longer smitten by the nostalgia of Poila Baishakh. For most of them its just another day in the calendar,a holiday to chill out with friends,have a delicious meal at a city food joint and enjoy a mug of beer topped up with a movie at any multiplex.
Kolkata true to its culinary charms is getting ready to embrace the occasion with a host of special food festivals,customized menus and Bengali gourmet in offering at several of its well known restaurants and food joints.
Kalash the Indian speciality restaurant at Hotel Hindustan International has in store something for every Bengali soul. The special menu offers unusual items like begun pora,pora tometor surua,chholar chaat,ghoogni chat as starters and other stars like topse machh bhaja,golda chingrir malaikari,bhapa ilish,chitol machher kalia,kosha mangsho,chicken dakbungalow,mochar paturi,dhokar dalna The cost of meal for one at Kalash will be Rs 999 ( with limitless Beer).
At the popular Bengali eatery,6 Ballyugunge Place,the Poila Boishakh menu comes with an Epar Bangla- Opar Bangla theme. This festival will feature food from Bangladesh and West Bengal and will highlight the confluence of the two cultures. The spread will have handsome offerings from both the sides and show the coming together of the culinary styles, says Chef Susanta Sengupta. The buffet will set you back by Rs 525.
Sonargaon (Taj Bengal) too celebrates the merging of Epar Bangla-Opar Bangla sensibilities. Chital macher peti,Topshe macher fry,kosha mangsho,Bhapa chingri,Echorer Dalna,Posto lal shaag,Dhakai Phoolkophi roast,Chanar Paturi are just some of the intense single origin creations in the thalis.
Although grains,beans and vegetables are used in preparing many desserts,the most delicious varieties are dairy based and uniquely Bengali. So the focus is on diary-based sweets of Bengal in this food festival. Rosogolla,Bhapa misti doi,Kanchagolla,Channar Jalebi,Pantua,Langcha are just some of the eternal favourites on offer at the restaurant. A meal for one will cost you about Rs 1700.