Bandel cheese malakoff and pine smoked bekti: Raajkutir’s East India Room plates nostalgia with new menu
The 19th-century rajbari-turned-boutique hotel Raajkutir has unveiled a new a la carte menu, just in time for festive revelries. The luxury property had designed a series of authentic Bengali zamindar style buffets for Puja this year, and their new menu also celebrates the familiar nostalgia associated with the culinary history of Bengal. Raajkutir’s all-day diner East India Room has acquired renown for showcasing Bengal’s epicurean heritage in a stylised, contemporary format and the new menu follows suit.
“The focus of the menu is on old favourites which people of the city associate with nostalgia, we’ve added around 30 new items but we’ve also retained some of our bestsellers, of course. We’re taking a lot of safety precautions for making the dine-in experience safer, we are trying to make distancing easier, we are extremely regular about our sanitisation protocols,” Subrata Debnath of Raajkutir, tells us.
We dropped in one afternoon at the sunny terrace of the East India Room and found the in-house staff to be quite vigilant about adhering to health guidelines, there’s quite a bit of spatial gap between each table, there’s thermal temperature screening at the entrance, all members of the staff are masked and customers can opt for contactless payments. In fact, we were served a steaming cup of immunity boosting kada before our meals.
The new menu is elaborate but conveniently rooted to the tastes of old Bengal, and explores some cooking techniques that you won’t find in most city diners. The entrees are portioned generously which is convenient for family-style meals. We started things off with the Country Captain Chicken Curry which has a distinct flavour profile and is an interesting take on the Bengali chicken curry, as it’s more densely seasoned. We paired it with the Dhakai Morog Pulao, an authentic Bangladeshi pilaf made with the fragrant Chinigura rice, much more palatable than the overwhelming biryani.
The Portugese Bandel Cheese Malakoff is a must-have especially for those keen to learn about Bengali cookery; the native cheese has long been favoured by experimental chefs, and Raajkutir’s rendition serves the tropical cheese as crumb-fried balls alongside a tomato jam which brings out the slight tartiness of the cheese. There’s also a Lotus Stem Kebab which features well-seared, dry-roast style cutlets made of lotus stems, an old timey delicacy popular in some Bengali households.
The Double Onion Ghee Roast Mutton is a rather festive pick featuring tender, well-cooked chunks of mutton prepared with twice-cooked onions and ghee. We also sampled some Tiffin Box Bhapa Chingri and the low-calorie Pine Smoked Bekti that is made with the chef’s signature medley of mustard sauce and tomato. The new menu also features some familiar numbers like English Vegetable Jalfrezi, Yellow Coconut Rice, Old Fashioned Cream of Chicken etc. For dessert, do not skip the Flambe Baked Alaska, it has a flawless meringue on top and is pleasantly mellow on the sweetness, which makes it a great fall dessert. Rs 1,000 for two.