People in Kolkata had to give restaurant-hopping a miss this ‘Poila Boisakh’ (Bengali New Year) amid the lockdown, but that did not stop them from gorging on scrumptious meals on the occasion, with several restaurants delivering food online.
One thing is for sure, Bengalis, although not in the right frame of mind in the midst of COVID-19 crisis, will yearn for their quintessential favourites on this day, Debaditya Choudhury, a top restaurateur in the city, said. “Being a Bong (Bengali) myself, I knew people here will crave for good food today. We are ready with signature items including Awadhi Handi Biryani, Qalmi Kabab, Chicken Irani, Metiabruz Biryani. Anyone can order them online via food apps,” Choudhury, owner of Oudh 1590, said.
“Since Good Friday, we, too, have also been supplying food items at doorsteps. Currently, our services are available in parts of south Calcutta, Salt Lake, Rajarhat and north Calcutta,” he said. Ishtiaque Ahmad of Shiraz Golden resturant said, foodies are locked up at home, and many of them are not keen to order food online, but Poila Boisakh is an exception. “Since Kolkatans are known for their love for biryani, kebab, rezala and basic non-vegetarian mughlai dishes, we are anticipating an increase home delivery orders today – say by round 10 per cent,” he said.
Ranjan Biswas, the managing director of Saptapadi a sought-after restaurant serving Bengali cuisines said the outlet had decided on a few innovative items for the occasion, but the lockdown has dealt a blow to its resources and led to
losses worth Rs 6 lakh. Asked why the eatery has not opted for the online delivery model to partially offset the losses, Biswas said, “We are not taking any chances. Safety of our employees and customers is of primary concern for now. If the staff remains healthy we can run the show, once the situation gets better.”
A group of women entrepreneurs, running a home delivery business, have also whipped up traditional fare, comprising ‘Basanti pulao’, ‘fried eggplants’, ‘mutton curry’ and ‘chutney’, for south and central Kolkata residents. “We have got 52 online orders so far. We will try our best to cater to our customers with the help of our delivery boys. However, there are certain sensitive pockets, where movement has been barred. I am not sure if we will be able to reach out to our customers in those areas,” Bibi Mukherjee, a member of the startup, said.
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