Cuisines Food Review Indian Uncategorized

25 Parganas – A Bengali Feast

December 16, 2014

Till some time ago, the first thing that I’d think of when asked or told about Bengali cuisine was fish. But, 25 Parganas at Sahara Star has totally changed my outlook! And, now if you ask me out for a Bengali meal, I will readily join you because it has become a cuisine that excites and intrigues me with its flavours and textures!

panax ginseng buy uk Sometime ago, I was invited by Sahara Star, Mumbai to sample the menu at their new speciality restaurant 25 Parganas. So, off we went armed with a camera and empty tummies! We were led to the restaurant that is set quite intimately amongst the other restaurants of the hotel around an atrium. I quite liked the setting, and we made ourselves comfortable in a small corner of the restaurant.

I simply loved the crockery, the glasses, the dishes and the plates! These show plates we the most gorgeous!

Needless to say, our server for the day was extremely attentive and knowledgeable. This is a rather longish post – but the photographs taken by Ishaaq are amazing, so without further ado…

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We started off with the appetisers that are divided into Bhapa (steamed) and Bhaja (fried) items. Our server ensured that we got a great balance of flavours in both the vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies.

Beet Bora

The beet bora is sweet and savoury and has a beautiful crust on the outside. It went beautifully with the kasundi (Bengali mustard sauce, which I have now developed a great liking for) given the contrasting pungent and sweet flavours of the combination.

Gondhoraj Murgi

The gondhoraj murgi is prepared using the famous Gondhoraj lime that is found commonly in Bengal. The lime offers a sour (obviously) yet rather mellow taste to the dish. The chicken was cooked to perfection.

Pattay Mora Chingri Bhapa
The pattay mora chingri bhapa was my favourite appetiser of the whole lot. Definitely a delight for prawn and mustard lovers. The prawns marinaded in mustard and lemon were carefully wrapped in banana leaves and served steaming hot. Not only was the meat of the prawn cooked to perfection, but the textures and sour-pungent flavours were a revelation. The earthiness of the banana leaf merely added to the overall flavour.
Posto Narkel Bora
The posto narkel bora was possibly my least favourite dish. While the outside was crunchy, the stuffing is not something I took a liking to – coarsely ground poppy seeds and freshly grated coconut are textures I find too similar and bland. However, it was a good accompaniment with the kasundi that kept finding its way back to my plate!
Bhara Potol Bhapa

Bhara potol bhapa was truly a revelation. Despite being a foodie, I don’t take kindly to most members of the gourd family – bottle gourd, ridge gourd, bitter gourd are not on my shopping list ever! So when it came to the potol in this dish (which is a summer gourd) I was rather skeptical. However, the dish was surprise – there was a lovely bite to the gourd and the stuffing was rather delicious – except for the raisins – but that’s a personal preference.

Mangsho Chop
The final appetiser (phew!) was the mangsho chop! Minced mutton cutlets with a delicate use of spices and pepper. I loved the crust on the outside and found the mince to be moist and really delicious. What stood out even more was the delicate use of spices.

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The mains, too, were delicious. I loved the combination of flavours in the various dishes selected by me and the chef, together.

Luchi
The entire meal was served with luchis (pooris), parathas and Gobindobhog chaal (a short sticky rice native to Bengal).
Fried veggies

We also had some delicious Begun Bhaja (fried eggplant), banana, summer gourd and potatoes as accompaniments.

Kosha Mangsho

The kosha mangsho – as expected was delicious! The tender pieces of mutton were full of the flavour of the sticky, thick gravy. However, I had once made a kosha mangsho using Kalyan Karmarkar’s recipe and that was better!

Dhonepata Bata Diye Murg

One of the mains that I didn’t really enjoy was the dhonepata bata diye murg – while I love using green chutney and fresh herbs with meat – this dish was too corainder’y’ for me and the chicken could have been cooked less.

 

Ilish Maacher Paturi
The ilish maacher paturi was the next on the menu. This was a lovely dish for those who hate fish bones but love the meat. It was wrapped in banana leaves and marinated with mustard. The fish was flakey, delicate and had a lovely hint of mustard along with the earthiness of the banana leaves.

I was rather intrigued about the use of chenna – the milk cheese traditionally prepared in Bengal – in the savoury dishes. So the chef surprised us with two dishes!

Daaber Chanar Malai

Daaber chanar malai is chenna cooked with the cream of tender coconut and its pieces! It was the most delicious coconut dish I’ve ever tasted! The chenna was delicate and supersoft, the malai cooked in the cream was a beautiful addition in terms of both flavour and texture.

Chanar Dalna
The chanar dalna, in contrast, had the chenna dumplings cooked in a rich onion and tomato gravy – a more common preparation than the former!
Aam Kashundi Bhindi
But, my favourite dish in the veg main course was the aam kashundi bhindi – a specific request of mine since I love okra. It was beautiful – crispy friend okra with green mango and mustard (kashundi)! What an explosion of flavours and textures!
Maacher Jhol
The meal would have been incomplete without the famous maacher jhol, which I had with bhetki fish. This masaaledar fish was cooked beautifully with spices and was mellow on the palate!

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We couldn’t have much more than we already had, as you may have guessed! However, walking out without dessert is a sin!

Chennar Payesh
We had the chennar payesh – chenna dumplings in milk pudding. Which was delicious!

But, I was more intrigued by the Nolen Gurer Icecream – I’d just heard about Nolen Gur vaguely. Turns out that Nolen Gur is a jaggery made from dates and specific to Bengal. I’d love to taste the actual jaggery, but till then, I’m happy tasting the icecream version.

Nolen Gurer Icecream
I love icecream of all sorts – the fresher they are, the happier I am. And when I had the first bite of this one, I literally closed my eyes and shed a few tears of ecstacy. I forgot what ever else I had eaten (which would have been feat)! It was truly that good!

On this sweet note, and gorgeous pic, I must say that 25 Parganas is worth a visit both for the food and the experience! If you are not a fan of mustard, there are a huge variety of dishes one can choose from across the menu! And, if nothing else, go for the Nolen Gurer Icecream!

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1 Comment

  • Reply anindya sundar basu January 7, 2015 at 02:56

    The long fish doesnt look like Bhekti though . However a great post . How is this place doing in terms of business . Whats the pinch in pocket for two ?

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