The area of Andheri East in Mumbai is the only area in Mumbai which has 7 of the major 5 star hotels in Mumbai. It also boasts of a very important industrial area and a heavy office going population; and yet when it comes to food, its food panorama is quite bleak. Barring the high end restaurants in the 5 star properties, it has very few good free standing restaurants to boast of. So when I was told of this new sit down Bengali restaurant opening in the residential area of Shere Punjab, I had to go and check it out.
One reaching the place, I personally thought that the black façade of the restaurant was quite dull, however once inside, the feel is quite different. There are books to suite all tastes lined up on the walls and the whole place has a very Kolkata Coffee House Adda vibe. The owners make it a point to make you feel comfortable and would occasionally join in at your table for a quick chit chat. Another very interesting thing I noted there was that they have curated a coffee book with food trivia about Kolkata which you can browse through while waiting for your order to be served. I definitely found it as a very novel idea.
Coming to food, though they have a good variety of regular Indian-Tandoori cuisine, perhaps to cater to the regional tastes, but there forte lies in the Bengali dishes covering not only Kolkata style cooking but also some very interesting Bangladeshi dishes. There is a decent selection of starters which covers the usual chops, cutlets and mughlai paratha from the bong kitchen. The sweet section, though limited is quite apt and I was glad to know that all of it is prepared in house.
I decided not to delve on the starters as the Bong cutlets tend to be quite heavy and can ruin the appetite and went straight for the main course. In the Mutton dishes I went with a Classic Kosha Mangsho(Rs.260, mutton slow cooked in a yoghurt based marinade), a Thakurbarir Pathaar Mangsho(Rs. 290), A family recipe passed over generations, the mutton is cooked on slow fire the result of which is a very soft tender and flavourful meat. The kosha mangsho was exactly how I remember eating back home; the Thakurbarir Pathaar Mangsho was a cashew nut based gravy, creamy and rich. I remember having eaten similar gravy at Kareems in Old Chandni Chowk, though I would rate this one slightly better. The oil content in both the dishes was a bit high to my taste, but I guess that’s an innate characteristic of the dish and can be ignored.
In the fish dishes I tried the Borishaler Shorshe Ilish (Rs.340) creamy mustard based gravy, mild with a spicy kick towards the tail end of the bite. The star of this dish was the fish as it was absolutely melt in the mouth. The other dish I made sure to try was the Daab Chingri (Rs.360), prawns cooked in tender coconut gravy. The gravy was mild and sweet to the palate and the prawns were perfectly cooked. I paired these dishes with a side of Kolkata Dum Chicken Biryani (Rs.290) and Luchi (Rs.60). The luchis were crisp and wholesome, but the star was certainly the biryani, very flavourful, long grained rice, a tad over on the kewda , but on the whole, a meal by itself. I decided to skip the desserts as I did not want to change my taste from down memory lane.
The factors that go in favour of the place is certainly its vibe and the homely feel, The food is authentic Bengali without any fancy remixes and I believe it can become a worthy competitor to the likes of Bijoli Grill, especially with their aggressive pricing. However the location could be a deterrent in some aspects. The management will have to put special efforts to pull in the crowds from the other areas of Mumbai, since the crowd of the area may not be enough nor would do much justice to its offerings. It is places like these with their truly honest effort at serving good wholesome meals, is what makes a foodie like me very happy and content. Here is my wishing them all the best and hope they carry my suggestions of adding Gondhoraj Lebu (An aromatic lemon found in the North East) and Jhal Moori to their list of dishes in my next visit. Abaar Ashbo!
Ratings (Out of 5)
Food: 4.0 |Ambience: 4.0 | Service: 3.5 | Overall: 4.0
Meal for two: Rs.1200| Alcohol: No | Credit Card: Yes | Timings: 12.00 pm to 4.00 pm and then 6.00 pm till 11.30 pm