Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Bong feast at Hornby's Pavillion, ITC Grand Central

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to the ITC Grand Central - they were having a Bengali food festival. Some months earlier I had been to one at the ITC Maratha and that hadn't impressed me at all. I was still curious to see how it would turn out this time so, along with a few blogger friends, I went.

Let me tell you right at the start I was very impressed. The choice of dishes, the presentation and of course the taste - all very very good indeed. We proceeded to stuff ourselves while Chef Somnath (from the ITC Sonar, Kolkata) made every effort to ensure that were enjoying the food.

The meal began with Vegetable chops. These were delicious, full of assorted vegetables and a ruby red inside because of beetroot.

We also had Cauliflower pakoras but those were not half as delicious as the veg chops.

Next came chicken cutlets. These were excellent! Not the usual frilly egg fried kobiraji cutlet which has a little bone sticking out of one end but escalopes of chicken breaded and fried to perfection.

The last starter we ate was bhetki kobiraji. These looked very promising and we all dived in but unfortunately there was not a speck of salt in the fish so it was quite a disappointment. The fish was fried perfectly and the egg coating had a soft crunch but the lack of salt just killed it.

The starters were accompanied by an array of sauces, chutneys and of course Kasundi.

Once the starters were done Chef Somnath unleashed a veritable flood of food upon us! The vegetarian fare included

Chholar Daal Narkel Diye - Chana daal cooked with coconut

Mulo Palonger Ghanto - Spinach and radish with daal vadi

Chhanar Dalna - Home made Cottage Cheese in a gravy

Aloo Posto - Potato with poppy seeds

Enchorer Dalna - Raw Jackfruit or Kathal

There was also a Phulkopir Tarkari - A Cauliflower Subzi. I forgot to take a photograph. As you can see there was s much food, you can't really blame me!

All this was relished with a simple Ghee Bhaat - Rice with ghee and cashew nuts

At that time I thought luchis or Radhabollobis would have made this menu more complete. In hind sight, considering the sheer amount of food that we were presented with, maybe it was a good thing that there was none! My favourite among these was the Mulo Palonger Ghanto and of course the Aloo Posto.

Moving on to the non vegetarian selection, it was another endless stream of delicious well cooked, perfectly flavoured  food.

There was a Doi Ilish which I also missed taking a picture of. A Tangra Machher Rasa followed

Kosha Mangsho, one of the most well known Bengali mutton preparations

Rewaji Khasir Polao - A pulao made with kid goat, this is a Bangladeshi dish not to be confused with biryani.

And a fabulous Sorse Ilish - Hilsa in Mustard sauce. Here is Chef Somnath with the platter of Sorse Ilish, ready to serve us one of the best preparations of the evening.

And here I am enjoying my Ilish!

There was a mishti doi and an array of Bengali mishti to round off the meal. I'm one of those freak Bengalis who totally ignores mishti, I don't like mishti at all. But judging by the reactions around the table, the mishtis were quite a hit!

Keep an eye out for the next Bengali festival the ITC has. If Chef Somnath is in charge make sure you come. And in case you are in Kolkata, go over to the ITC Sonar and let him treat you to a truly delicious Bengali meal.

I hope the ITC Grand Central brings Chef Somnath back to Mumbai soon!


Sushmita S Sen said...

Super review! Makes my mouth water! Sushmita

Me! In words said...

Its really surprising that in all our eating out we have never been to a Bengali place.. I just don't know how that has happened. All this sounds really nice and now am making plans soon

Rhea Mitra Dalal said...

Bengali food is suddenly in fashion these days and in Mumbai there are new restaurants sprouting all over the place. I guess the bigger hotels are also cashing in on this trend.
This effort by the ITC was truly stellar! If you have the opportunity to have a Bengali meal somewhere do try it out :)