On my visit Kolkata I have always been amazed at the variety of food and love that our “City of Joy” can offer a visitor. Due to time constraints I only can experience a taste of home –made cuisine and it’s difficult to fit in the restaurant visits. This time I specially took an extra day so that I could visit and review this one Bengali restaurant that everyone back home has been raving about.
Bhojohari Manna – is said to be the place to visit to experience home style Bengali food. The place started by six friends who shared a common passion of music and food was initially a garage shop which has now outlets spread across Kolkata, Mumbai and Bengaluru. The unique name is close to every Bengali as it has been adapted from a famous Bengali song of the 70’s,sang by the legendary Manna Dey, which describes a journey of a cook across many nations.
We visited the Hindustan Park outlet, the décor for which is very simple and reminds you of an old Bengali house. We were served on a plate which is covered by a banana leaf and yes the rule is “to enjoy Bengali food you require to get your hands dirty”
We ate quite a few things but would like to just share feedback of the dishes that I loved;
The Hilsa fish which is called “Ilish”in Bengali is a seasonal fish is unique to the region .In case you are in Kolkata during the monsoons then this fish is a must try. In this preparation the Hilsa fish is coated with mustard and coconut paste with some turmeric and green chilli. The fish is steamed at a low flame in mustard oil -effortless cooking but the results are finger-licking.
As soon as I had walked in I could see a Coconut filled with seafood at another table, so I asked the staff to get me the same dish. Prawns (chingri) cooked with Tender Coconut (Daab) is a must on any special Bengali occasion. The prawns are slow cooked inside the tender coconut in an earthen vessel over a low flame. This lip smacking dish is eaten with steamed rice and Gonduraj lebu (a lemon unique to Bengal).
I was visiting with my husband who is a vegetarian so I got a chance to taste vegetarian food too. This Bengali dish is a “Niramish Curry” as it is cooked without onion and garlic and made on Bengali Puja occasions. Basically cottage cheese, which is shaped into balls are deep fried and cooked with potatoes in a curry to which curd is added.
This second vegetable side dish is Banana Blossom (Mocha) Curry which is the star of the Bengali vegetarian menu. The mocha is finely chopped and dipped in salt and turmeric water for a while and then added to a curry of potatoes and tomatoes. This dish is a must have at Bhojohari Manna.
A must visit restaurant which still preserves the traditional Bengali meal.