Durga Puja Special: Rajkutir's East India Room offers a royal treat
This nearly-year-old fine-diner, serving purely colonial delicacies for gastronomes of the city, is set to turn all-traditional for the five days of the Puja. We’re talking about East India Room at the premier boutique hotel, Rajkutir, which is laying out a truly authentic Bengali traditional fare for its patrons — from the auspicious days of Sasthi to Dashami. The 64-seater outlet, spread across 1,200 sq ft, is hosting the Raajbarir Bhuri Bhoj, a buffet spread of hand-picked recipes from the royal households of Bengal. If you’re in the mood for some old-style, gastronomic indulgence during the Pujas, then this place is a must-try, not only for the well-crafted gourmet platters but also for the fact that they’re celebrating Durga Puja in the open courtyard, to transport guests to the long-lost decadent era of feudal Bengal.
The royal platter, carefully constructed by Chef Bikram Das for these festive days, offers a brilliant mix of age-old favourite Bengali dishes. And as we spoke with the chef, we dug into one such delicacy, the ever-loved Mochar Ghonto. We bet you haven’t had something like this in a long time. The plantain flower dish — which is quietly becoming an obsolete item in Bengali households, given the time needed to peel and cook it — was soft, moist and so well-cooked that even passionate carnivores like us were asking for second helpings. “The trick is to cook it with the plainest spices, with dollops of grated juicy coconut,” informs the chef, serving us some more of the magical entrée. What followed was another veg wonder, the Chenar malai kofta, made of fresh cottage cheese balls soaked in sweet and spicy gravy, which goes well with nothing but plain rice.
Just as we were wondering whether we have sufficient appetite for the non-veg dishes that were yet to arrive, we were floored by the simple yet eternally favourite starter, the evergreen fish fry. Marinated with mint and coriander paste mixed with spices, the slice of bekti, thinly coated with biscuit crumbs and deep-fried was a clear indicator of what would follow. We were not disappointed, to say the least, with the deadly and ever-popular combination of mutton kosha and luchi that arrived next. The wholesome meat was succulent and flavoursome with absolutely consistent gravy, just enough to wipe off the fluffy flour balls. As if that wasn’t enough to impress us, we were left a tad exhausted by an onslaught of Chingri Malai Curry and Chicken Biryani that followed.
It was noteworthy that though the dishes were rich, the chef took special care to reduce the sharpness, by playing down the spices to suit modern palates. “Nowadays, no one can have food that’s too rich in spices. We have tried to retain the taste, and balance the spices at the same time,” points out the chef, and we nodded in agreement. The dessert section, which usually comprises usual Bengali sweets, was also a surprise with kitchen-made Norom Paak Sandesh and Mishti Doi (sweet curd or Bengali-style yoghurt). We loved every bit of the sweet delights, and you can choose from an array of delicacies such as the College Square er Sandesh, Shaktigarer Langcha, Bagbajaarer Rosogolla, and more.
All days: Rs 1,200 (AI).
Time: Noon to 4 pm for lunch, 7-11 pm for dinner.