In a nutshell:
A sweet shop that stands out for its unique & outstanding offering in a city that is dotted with sweet shops in every nook & corner.
Address & other details: Alight at Central metro station (towards Poddar Court end). U come across a statue of Maharana Pratap on ur left if u r facing Girish Park. Once in front of the statue, take the road to the right (if u r facing the statue). Take first right turn from there & go straight. The shop is on the left.
Meal for 2: Rs. 50 onwards
Cuisine type: Vegetarian
While there r plenty of sweet shops in Kolkata & there r shops that do unusual sweets, there is a type / trend. Most shops serve sweets with a chhena base – traditional Bengali sweets. For variation, there r shops like Gupta Brothers, Tiwari Brothers etc that serve usual North Indian sweets. However, some of the sweets at Haji Allauddin r quite unique.
As we entered the shop we found two guys sitting on the shop floor & making sweets. We asked them about it & they said it was Mawa laddoo. We wanted to try & they served the ‘just made’ laddoo straight from their big container.
Mawa laddoo was made with loads of Mawa (reduced milk) & sweet boondis (usually used to make boondi raita).
Result – The strong sweetness of the boondis was not there but their presence was felt in terms of both taste & flavour. The mawa added richness, creaminess & a different dimension to the sweet. I was floored. I wud rate it 4.5/5
Next to this we tried a battisa – As the name suggests, battisa has 32 different ingredients. Battis in Hindi means 32. This was a halwa dark in color, robust, rustic, daanedaar, flavourful & awesome to taste. Outstanding is the word to describe this. I cud not think of anything similar that I have had in the past. Again I wud say this was 4.5/5.
Third thing that we tried was the ubiquitous Gulab Jamun. This used to be one of my favourite sweets about a decade & half back when people still made & served fresh Gulabjamuns. Today almost all caterers, restaurants & sweet shops serve a microwave heated, flat tasting gulab jamun which is not much different from a sweet called ‘pantua’ in Kolkata – fried chhena balls dipped in sugar syrup.
Few things that differentiated a pantua from the original Gulab jamun were – Gulab Jamun had a tinge of salt, a central filling with kesar & nuts, desi ghee as a frying medium, a thick sugar syrup & a non-fluffy texture with less permeability. Less permeability ensured that the mid part of the sweet wud not b too sweet.
The good news is that Haji Allauddin still makes the original version & we loved it. Reminded me of our Gulab Jamun experience at Puran Pahalwan. Once again this gets 4.25/5.
Tried some other sweets in my earlier visits & was seldom disappointed by any. Consistency of taste & passion to serve good food seems to be the driving force. Visit this place sometime, njoy the sweets & I wud love to know ur comments.