Fine dining restaurants and star hotels are giving 19th-early 20th century twist to their cuisine this ‘Bangla Naboborsho’ (Bengali New Year) as retro rules over the contemporary. ‘Thakurbari Bhoj’ (Feast of the Tagores), themed on ‘Jorasanko Thakur Bari’ (Tagore’s of Jorasanko) is on a platter at Park Plaza. The cuisine which thrilled Rabindranath Tagore’s taste buds, which have been culled from his memoirs and writings of his fellow writers, are the highlights.
“The delicacies are based on ‘Thakurbarir diary’ (the diary of the Thakur household). But it is not that all the recipes are from Jorsanko Thakurbari, though all these happen to be Tagore’s favourite food. “We hope we are able to retain the authentic taste in all our preparations,” Executive Chef Jayanta Banerjee said.
The tongue-tickling dishes include ‘Goalanda chicken curry’, a dish which Tagore relished during his travel in then East Bengal (now Bangladesh) on steamers besides other choices like ‘Mutton dakbungalow’ with garnishing of egg and potato as preferred by the bard, who was a food connoisseur.
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The other delicacies include ‘Sorse Palong Phoolkopi’, ‘Lau dal’ and ‘Karola bhaja machher patisapte’, ‘Gandhoraj mangsher chop’, ‘Mocha chop’, ‘Chaal patol’, ‘Murgi ghanto’, ‘Lau pate bhetki’, ‘Lady Kenny cheese cake’ and many more .
At Alfresco at The Lalit Great Eastern menus liked by royal households in Bengal are on offer. “We have included the dishes liked by members of erstwhile Nishapur Rajbari (Murshidabad), Shobha Bazar Rajbari (Kolkata), Hetampur Rajbari, Itachuna Rajbari in our offer this Nababarsho,” a spokesman of the hotel said.
From ‘Beler shorbot’ to ‘Anaroser labany rosa’, ‘Kacha lonka’, ‘Kakrar jhal’, ‘Echor chingri’, ‘Murgir aam kasundi’, ‘Rajbarir kosha mangsho,’ ‘Chanar paturi’, ‘Murshidabadi morag pulao’, ‘Rice kheer’ and ‘Baked gurer rasogolla’ and ‘Nolen gurer sandesh’ – there are over 100 dishes as starters, main course and dessert, he said.
At fine dining ‘Saptapadi’, named after the immortal classic featuring Bengali film icon Uttam Kumar, the matinee idol’s favourite dishes like ‘Aam posto murgi’, ‘Sorse parser jhal’, ‘Bhapa ilish’, ‘Daab chingri’ have been cooked in the typical Bengali way, owner-chef Ranjan Biswas said.
At JW Marriott Kolkata, signature dishes like ‘Aam pora sharbot’, ‘Gondhoraj lebu sharbot’ is being served to quench the thirst of the guests at J W Kitchen. This is followed by lip smacking ‘Dimer Devil’, ‘Enchor Kalia’, and the classic ‘Kosha Mangsho’ and ‘Luchi’ at the buffet.
The hotel has a unique street food corner where ‘Jhaal muri’, ‘Phuchka’, ‘Egg roll’, ‘Ghati garam’ and other popular typical chat pat items are on offer.
A more elaborate spread there comprise ‘Kumro phooler bora’, ‘Kochi pathar jhol’ and ‘Posto murghi’, and an assorted variety of fish like ‘mourala’, ‘loitta’, ‘ilish’, ‘chingri’ and ‘rui’.
Music, the food of love, is not forgotten. Songs by bauls (itinerant mystic singers of Bengal) and rhythmic beating of dhaak, the iconic huge drum of Bengal, have also been arranged.