Talk to any Kolkata resident and she will tell you that the city does its street food better than any of its counterparts. “Our street food had Chinese, Marwari and Mughlai even when the other cities were more regional in their fare,” says chef Iti Misra. Misra has curated a special range of Kolkata street food for the restobar Monkey Bar this festive season. The food festival, Next Stop Kolkata, will elicit a wistful smile from anyone who has dined in the city. The names of the dishes themselves are coated in nostalgia. Hing-er Kochuri from College Street is a platter as evocative as its name. The simple dish of kachori with potato gravy, and sweet and sour pumpkin sabzi, will make you want to lick your fingers. Esplanade's Mughlai Paratha, on the other hand, is a more elaborate affair, banding Awadhi cooking with quintessentially Bengali paanch phoron spices.
“We have not played around too much with the recipes, keeping them close to the original. They've only been tweaked to fit a restobar ambience,” says Misra. Sometimes, there's an added flair, keeping in mind that the patrons might crave loftier options. In that spirit, the Beadon Fish Roll, made of the bhetki fish, has been stuffed with curried shrimps. The Girish Park-er Shoitan Deem is Kolkata's version of Scotch eggs, with the hard-boiled egg coated in a shami kebab mix, and fried.
There's an interesting drink that requires mention.Thanda Cha is an iced Darjeeling tea spiced with cinnamon and star anise and spiked with vodka.
The festival, in Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru, will end on October 21. So, even those who've turned vegetarian for Navratri can go sample later.
Meal for two (with cocktails): Rs 1,800