On a hot and humid Sunday afternoon, braving the heat we headed to Andheri in search of Kolkatta Callin’ – a restaurant serving Bengali cuisine. We as in – hubby, the naughty 10-year brat, and yours truly have managed to be acquainted with Bengali food in the last few years thanks to the ever-growing number of these speciality restaurants mushrooming in the city. Catering to the hunger pangs of the home sick Bengalis, most of these restaurants offer a casual ambiance with the underlining emphasis being solely on the food. But, Kolkatta Callin stands out.
Contemporary décor comprising a brick wall lined with books, knick-knacks and an antique clock grabs attention as soon as one enters the premise. White carved wooden chairs, benches upholstered with cushions lend a cool serene look, and offer much needed respite from the blistering heat outside. One of the walls is adorned with ‘cutting chai’ glasses filled with different kitchen ingredients such as rice, cardamom, dals, and so on.
Welcomed with a cool and refreshing drink made of raw mangoes – Aampora Shorbot, we settled down with soft Bengali music playing in the background. The brat was busy with her latest Enid Blyton while the hubby and I checked out the restaurant. That’s when we discovered much to our amazement the Bengali versions of Tintin and Asterix kept alongside other books!
Our attention was soon diverted to the purpose of the visit- to sample the ‘Poila Baisakh thalis’ and take a ‘sneak peek’ into the upcoming menu that will be introduced shortly. Our eyes lit up with the wide array on offer. The meal began with the Bengali staple of fish fry (Topse Fry) which the brat gladly passed and instead attacked the chicken kosho (red spicy chicken gravy) with luchis (Bengali version of puris). Though the menu claimed that the gravy would be spicy, it was mild making it palatable for the kiddo and ended up being her favourite dish.
The hubby was happy devouring the mutton kosho (red spicy mutton gravy) while I turned my attention to the soon to be introduced dishes. Sanjay Mukherjee, owner, Kolkatta Callin’, informed that these evolved dishes were created with an intent to cater to a global audience. I hesitantly tried the ‘Chingri Kolmi’ – an unusual combination of water spinach and prawns. All my apprehensions were set aside the minute I took my first bite. Thick gravy laced lightly with mustard, delicately balancing the flavours of spinach and prawns literally transported me into heaven. For me, this is ‘the’ reason why I will undertake this trek to Kolkatta Callin’ again. Gajorer Dhoka (carrot and chickpeas cutlet with green tomato gravy) came out on tops with the cutlet melting in the mouth leading to an explosion of delightful flavours. Aamtel bhetki – (bhetki fish marinated in pickle flavour and steamed in edible pumpkin leaves) is an ideal choice for weight watchers. Similar to the Parsi patra ni machi, but with the added achaari/pickled taste and that it is eaten with the leaf in which it is steamed. Hence, it is moist and retains the essences well. The ‘Aakni Joler pulao’ – light, fragrant pulao, garnished with raisins and cashew was a perfect accompaniment to the ‘Sona Muger Dal’ (traditional Bengali dal).
The kiddo had already shifted her attention to the deserts lined up – Rose ‘bhapa sandesh’ (soft and creamy with the goodness of rose) and the ‘Payesh’ (jaggery and rice pudding) were polished off instantly leaving the odd-looking ‘Potol Kheer’ for us to try. Hubby being the adventurous one tried it and gave full marks for sheer innovation and taste. Pointed gourd or commonly known as ‘parwal’ was blanched and filled with chilled velvety smooth kheer (rice and milk pudding). ‘Parwal’ lent a crispy subtle taste to the creamy kheer for every bite taken.
A gastronomic promise well delivered. Kudos to Mukherjee for having a vision beyond the traditional and being innovative to create unique culinary masterpieces! I will definitely return for Kolkatta Callin’s new creations.
Food haven for not only lovers of Bengali cuisine but also for those who are willing to experiment! We recommend you to try the ‘Chingri kolmi’ for the exquisite taste and texture. The location is a bit of a dampner but the food stands out and more than justifies the effort undertaken in getting there.
Our rating on a scale of 10
Food and drinks: 8
Value for money: 7
What: Kolkata Callin’
Where: Plot no. 285, Madhukunj Society, Shere Punjab, Next to Tolani College, Andheri East, Mumbai 93
For reservations, contact: 28368733/34.