What do I do when I have a blind date with a brilliant Bengali guy ? Take him to his favorite Bengali restaurant ofcourse (why? what were you thinking?). I’m delighted to lunch with the chatpatta firecracker Kalyan Karmakar and the equally charming Madhumita Pyne, Bengalis who live in Mumbai (miss Calcutta), cook, blog and tweet about food (sometimes all three at the same time). Kalyan, market researcher, writes one of India’s most popular food and travel blogs, hosts cooking videos and food walks and does Travel food shows. Madhumita, an independent documentary film maker, blogs, and has a large twitter following too. Both have a strong point of view on Bengali food and can be very unforgiving when it goes wrong.
Bhojohori Manna is a big favorite of theirs.I wish I could recount all their interesting past experiences in Bhojohari Manna but space constrains me.
Homesick Bengalis head here. This moderately priced, superb Bengali eatery (set up in Kolkata a decade ago and then a few other cities too) is named after a Bengali song by vocalist Manna Dey and sure is sweet music to our ears. Says Kalyan Karmarkar (“the quality of the food reminds you of your granny when you miss her”) he eats here regularly and vouches for the consistency. this eatery serves up Ghoti (West Bengal) and Bangal (East) dishes.
Do try the thaalas (Rs 195, 245). Each comes with rice or pulao and a number of home-styled vegetarian dishes, chutney and mishti too. With the thaala you can order fish and/ or meat dish from the a la carte menu. Normally one thaala is good for two. They have chutney and mishti in the thaali too. The must try ala carte dishes are the
unerringly cooked signature dishes of shukto (bitter vegetables) poppyseed aloo poshto, Borishaal ilish and the kosha mangsho. Flavorsome mutton pulao, coconut and mustard rich creamy curries, many varieties of seafood (jhal, jhol. Kalia, korma, shorshe, malai) delight.
It’s spread over a large space (indoor and outdoor dining areas done up with clichéd kantha table tops et al).
The food is authentic and they are the only Bengali restaurant in Mumbai to offer an authentic Kolkatan ‘don’t disturb us with your order while we watch TV’ service. My guests have experienced this a few times.
Though some of the Mishti is too sweet, this eatery is a worth a special trek.
Consistency is the most important factor in assessing any restaurant. Kalyan and his wife Kainaz (a pretty Parsi who loves Bengali food) went back a couple of days ago, for some much needed food R&R after an exhausting day of house shifting Says Kalyan “The hot soulful food at Bhojohori Manna & the warm welcome there was restorative.” Joi Bangla!
Reliable Buisness Centre, Oshiwara, off Link Road, Andheri West, 400058
ph 6599 3385
Meal for two approx. R1,000.
I love Calcutta with a passion, I also love Bengalis who are passionate about their buying as much as cooking and eating their food. So lunching with Kalyan and Madhumita is a treat as is getting them to share their fixes with us. The Oh Calcuttas at Tardeo and Andheri for a fabulous ‘special’ Bengali treat. Hangla’s at Bandra for their mutton rolls (always have them with fried onions and never with sauce) Arsalan in Khar ( mutton biryani, rezala and chicken chaap.) Mishti at Sweet Bengal. Pratap Caterers also make Bengali meal dabba. Yet to visit Bong Bong (new Bengali cafe, in Bandra.) Bijoli Grill in Powai and Andheri (which I am planning to eat at really soon).
Go to Khar Market’s fish section for ilish and kaatla. Occasionally parshe and pabda too and always the kaatla maachher mudo (fish head). Kalyan loves buying fish from Pushpa and Poonam, two fabulous fish sellers there.
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