This is a part of YUMMRAJ’s series called TIMELESS KOLKATA EATOUTS – reviews of Heritage Kolkata restaurants. Each restaurant has been rated as ‘Old is Gold’ or ‘Old is no more Gold’ based on the experience.
Year/decade of opening- 1956
In a nutshell:
Legendary Kolkata restaurant with a super Retro ambience, a combination of new & ancient staff, a great place to catch up with friends & all with some average to good food – Hardcore Foodies, better keep away.
YUMMRAJ says for Mocambo – OLD IS NO MORE GOLD’.
Address & other details: Mocambo
Meal for 2: Rs. 700 onwards
Cuisine type : Vegetarian & Nonvegetarian
Disclaimer: All restaurants / eateries reviewed by YUMMRAJ were visited by YUMMRAJ himself & he has paid for the full Bill & tips also. http://www.yummraj.com does not have even one featured / sponsored reviews. YUMMRAJ believes in going to a restaurant in anonymity, as a normal guest, experience everything & give a honest account of the same to you.
I rate all the food items & then give a final overall rating which is a simple average of the individual item ratings. What the ratings stand for: 5 = Excellent, 4 = Very Good, 3 = Good, 2 = Fair, 1 = Disaster.
Read a very nice article on teh history of Mocambo here – Mocambo
Short Description – in case u r in a hurry:
I know people might kill me after reading this piece – but this is exactly how Mocambo is as of today. This review is a result of two visits & things were consistently same level – sub good.
That makes me wonder – Was it amazing many years back & then deteriorated over the years or were they consistently like this over the years & people then were not as exposed to Global cuisine as today and hence thought this was great. I don’t know the answer.
The restaurant is super retro. In every way. Not coz it has been designed that way, but coz it never changed. Red cushioned leather look sofas, colorful table lighting, waiting staff wearing what we wud see butlers wearing in the days of the Raj, High ceiling, Massive paintings on the wall, red curtains & so on.
The beer mugs are made with metal – they have Mocambo inscribed on them.
The menu card is very informative. Page 1 gives a brief history of the restaurant. It mentions how in the initial years there was an Italian Chef who designed a large part of the menu & how some of the items went on to become heritage. Those items r marked ‘Heritage’ on the menu card.
There r small black & white illustrations as well in different chapters. E.g. a girl with a cow & a bucket of milk in the dairy section.
The staff members r pretty bored in general after doing the same job for so many years. Some of them r Heritage as well. Few young guys in Black suits were however good. They were like any other modern day restaurants.
Great place to go for a few drinks , a lot of adda, to soak in a bygone era & eat some food to fill the stomach – not necessarily to please the tastebuds.
Detailed Description – In case u have the Time to NJOY reading:
We started our meal with Devilled crab – It was crabmeat on cheese and mustard sauce served in shell. It was a cheesy, creamy filling loaded with calories but good to taste. Amount of crab was suboptimal and excess cheese somewhat overpowered the flavor and the taste of fresh crab. Cud feel the sweet crab meat though. Cud not feel the mustard much. Rate it 3.75/5
We ordered Fish a la Diana – betky stuffed with prawn cooked with cream sauce. Excellent betky, superb prawns , great texture, very good to taste. Sounded exotic, great ingredients but the dish failed to impress much as the sauce was clumsy.
Slightly sweet penultimate salt, not sour and corn starch thickened texture. Rate the fish and prawns 4.5/5. Rate the sauce 1.5/5. Overall rating averages out to. 3/5.
Next dish we ordered was Surf and turf – fresh prawn and chateaubriand beef steak with mushroom sauce. I have had this combo many times in Boston & London. Absolutely loved it every time. Great Steaks, fresh prawns , super dips………. Ordered the dish based out of that memory.
Great ingredients but bad execution. Very Good steak – perfectly done, prawn was succulent inside but covered with a batter I don’t know why. In a city that gets the freshest supplies of prawn, what’s the point in ruining it a with batter. Once again the sauce was a disaster . I poured it stop the steak and after a first bite, cleaned the steak and enjoyed it as it is. Rate the sauce 1.5/5 and the meat 4.5/5, prawn 2/5. Overall rating averages out to 2.7/5
For dessert we ordered Pineapple soufflé. It was nothing short of a horror story. It was like the cheap roadside pastry cake icing with egg white added to it to increase density. The texture was somewhat sticky and too creamy. Rate it 1/5. It was a challenge to finish it. We ate half and left the rest.
Visit 2 –
This time I revisited with a few friends some of whom I was meeting after 15 years. We had an amazing time here. Since we were busy discovering ourselves, no one really talked much about the food except an occassional ‘average’ or ‘not so good as I thought’ etc.
On recommendation by the staff, we ordered Chicken firdausi kabab. was a roll with chicken mince& dal inside it. The dal quantity was more – hence the taste and flavor of chicken was sub optimal. Taste was good as it is. Rate it 3/5.
Mutton cutlet was excellent. It had thick and juicy mutton filling with good amount of spices in it. The seasoning was perfect. The outer layer was crispy. Since the finning was thick the proportion of crispy outer and juicy inner was perfect. Rate it 4.25/5
We then ordered Mixed grill platter that had chicken leg, sausage, chicken liver, mutton liver, bacon. This was a nightmare. Three out of five items – chicken liver, mutton liver & Chicken leg were meats gone bad. The refrigerator must have conked off or the cooks must b following LIFO. The chicken was surely heritage – so old & stale. Rate each of them 0/5.
The sausage was not bad – It was a normal machine pasted sausage with nothing to talk about except that it was soft & properly fried. Rate it 2/5.
Bacon was good. Fried properly as well. Rate it 3/5.
Overall rating of this dish averages out to 1/5
We also ordered Prawn Portuguese. I doubt that the Portuguese have their prawns this way. Once again the prawns were batter fried & topped with sauce & cheese. Taste was good but nothing beyond that. Rate it 3/5.
Last dish we ordered that evening was fish steak. The fish was very good – flaky, soft & nice. Rate the fish 4/5. The sauce atop the fish was again very average. Rate the sauce 2/5. Overall rating of the dish averages out to 3/5
Fresh lime soda was something I loved every time I had it. It was strong, had a character of its own, acted as a great palate cleanser, had superb balance of sugar,salt & sour. What I was amazed was that on 2 occasions there was a bubble atop the glass like u see in the picture – was that by accident or by choice – I don’t know…. Rate it 4.5/5
Chocolate soufflé was again bad like the pineapple souffle. Rate it 1/5.
Overall rating of food & beverages at Mocambo averages out to 2.75/5. I wud not go there to eat out ever unless the occasion is more to do with meeting people than to pamper the taste buds. Pls feel free to write in , even if ur views differ.
6 thoughts on “Mocambo (25B Park Street, Park Street Area, Kolkata)”
It is such a delight reading your food reviews. Impressive photography as well. Just a suggestion- It would be wonderful if you could achieve pictures of this quality even in places like Sabir’s Hotel and the likes where the lighting can be quite unflattering. Tinkering with the saturation levels would perhaps help get attractive, if not similar, quality of pics. (:
Keep ’em coming
thanks so much, Vidya. Usually I shoot with my Bridge camera. In this trip I forgot to carry the camera & all pics in kolkata r from iphone!!!!
thanks so much for the suggestions though…:)
Thanks for the detailed review. I suppose the food has not changed much through the years and the place reminds of the time i used to visit it in the late fifties and early sixties. I have seen Amithabh Bachan there when he was a young executive in some Calcutta(yes it was that) with a very good looking girl–that whole Park street experience was exhilarating at that time –with Blue Fox, Moulin Rouge, Trincas , Firpos–if my memory serves me right — blue fox may have been the best for food- and there was also a bar between moulin rouge and trincas which was very good for the drinking smoking crowd with standard dishes like fish cutlets etc.
Thanks so much Mr Narayan. It is so good of you to share your experience with us and our readers. I am feeling good that we have been able to take you back to your memories:)
They doesnt serve food to a driver who was arrived there with the boss to get a treat. but the mocambo staff doesnt allow that driver and make a racist remark on his outfits. so, is this a human behaviour.
I think i need money to pay your bills to enter in the restaurant. it doesn’t matter to whom i get with me.
Thanks for sharing