Sonar Tori (Ganga Kutir, near The Ffort Raichak, Post Bag 1, Sarisa, 24 Parganas, West Bengal)


In a nutshell:

Rustic environment, traditional tableware, good service & food that exceeded our expectations – as good as / at times better than Oh Calcutta at less than ½ the price.  Desserts were a disappointment though.

sonar tori
sonar tori

Address & other details:  Sonar tori

Meal for 2: Rs. 1200 approx set menu

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.

Short Description – in case u r in a hurry:

We went to stay at Ganga Kutir, Raichak, an hour away from the hustle bustle of the City of Joy. Set beside the River Ganga, this resort & the adjacent Ffort Raichak has some very good restaurants – All of which exceeded my expectations.

the ceiling of Dining Hall, Sonar tori
the ceiling of Dining Hall, Sonar tori

The entrance to this restaurant is thru a ramp that has a wooden railing. Once we reached the top, we entered a room that appeared to be from the set of a Period movie – a drawing room.

drawing room
drawing room

An open door led us along an open suspended pathway into another room – the andarmahal. It had a bed, chairs & table, paintings on the wall, utensils kept in a corner & books as well.

andarmahal
andarmahal

Yet another door led us to the aahar room – the dining hall. This had a beautiful range of lamp shades hung from the ceiling.

aahar room
aahar room

The tableware was traditional brass (kaasha).

tableware
tableware

Service was good. The guys were professional, good at their job, good at explaining but not that warm.

suspended pathway from one room to the other - sonar tori
suspended pathway from one room to the other – sonar tori

Food, as I mentioned above, floored us.

the suspended pathway
the suspended pathway

Detailed Description – In case u have the Time to NJOY reading:

The menu had 4 options – Zamindari aahar veg, Zamindari aahar (nonveg), grameen aahar veg, Grameen aahar nonveg). Between 5 of us we covered Zamindari aahar (nonveg), grameen aahar veg, Grameen aahar nonveg) & here is the review of the same.

assorted sweets
assorted sweets

The nonveg set menu wud have 3 items non vegetarian & the rest of the dishes wud b the same as the veg items. The vegetarians wud have 2-3 unique veg items & the rest wud b common with nonveg platter of the respective Grameen/ zamindari.

Lets start with Grameen Aahar

Doi tulshir ghol & gondhoraj shorbot
Doi tulshir ghol (white) & gondhoraj shorbot (colorless)

We started with doi tulshir ghol – tulshi did not make its presence felt unless one wud bite into it. The ghol was perfect on terms of consistency, balance of taste. Rate 4.25/5

Gobindo Bhoger Bhat & ghee was what we had as the main cereal. Perfectly done nice aromatic rice.

Gobindo Bhoger Bhat & ghee with other items
Gobindo Bhoger Bhat & ghee with other items

We enjoyed the rice with Bhate (boiled veggies/ lentils) & bhaja (fried). The bhate tasted fab & like homemade – tempered with punjent mustard oil. Rate it 4/5.

bori & Bhate
bori & Bhate

Kalo jeere shukto was lovely. Mild bitter to taste & a combo of sweet & salt. Thick gravy, hint of coconut & humble veggies. As good as it cud get. Rate it 4.25/5

shukto
Kalo jeere shukto

 

Khoshar chorchori means a dish made from peel of veggies. Yes u got it right. I am alking about veggie peels that r usualy thrown away by all. Soft on the inner side & a mild crunch  on the outer side. Spicy but not that hot, play of salt & mild sweet . Rate it 4.25/5

Khoshar chorchori
Khoshar chorchori

Chingrir Bati chorchori was a dry curry made from prawns (not very large but not to small also). They were cooked perfectly – they were soft & not rubbery. Flavors of prawn & spices made their presence felt. Rate it 4.5/5

Chingrir Bati chorchori
Chingrir Bati chorchori

Sorshe Ilish was super pungent mustard base curry of Hilsa (ilish) fish. The fish wud b a sub 1 kilo. Fresh & good to eat but not like the ones with layers of fat. We were told that this was from the adjoining river. Loved the dish & rate it 4.5/5.

Sorshe Ilish
Sorshe Ilish

Kasha Murgi Kancha Lanka diye was a chicken dish. This was probably the only curry that was somewhat suboptimal. The balance of taste did not work well. The meat was soft & good though. Rate it 2.5/5

Kasha Murgi Kancha Lanka diye
Kasha Murgi Kancha Lanka diye

Aloo Dum Karaishuti diye was a veggie platter item. Excellent reddish look potato curry with green peas. Somewhat hot & spicy, this dish tasted very good. Rate it 4.25/5

Aloo Dum Karaishuti diye
Aloo Dum Karaishuti diye

Kumror chakka was pumpkin curry. Awesome. It takes massive calibre to convert the humble pumpkin to a dish this good. Rate it 4.5/5

Narkell Chholar dal was chana daal with coconut – a dish that is commonly eaten in Bengali homes usually with luchi. A mild sweet taste is what characterises this dish. Rate it 4/5.

chholar dal
chholar dal

We enjoyed the curries with Luchi – Bengali style deep fried maida pooris. Luchi had a hint of hing ( asafoetida) & was a bit on the crispier side. Perfectly salted so that it cud b eaten as it is. Rate it 4/5

Also managed to taste a bit of Mishti Pulao – bengali style sweet pulao. Very Nice. Rate it 4/5.

We were served the customary Chutney & papad at the end of main course. The green mango chutney was sweet-sour – tinge of salt. The mango was with skin. That made it more rustic. Loved it. Rate it 4.25/5

green mango chutney
green mango chutney

Patishapta is (kind of) a bengali pancake made from rice powder & that has a sweet filling. In winters usually the filling is with Gur & scraped coconut & otherwise with sugar & scraped coconut. This one was with sugar. The outer layer was not soft the way it shud have been. The filling was not great but not bad either. Some people add khoya in the filling & usually aromatic spices r added too. Those did not make their presence felt either. Rate it 2/5.

Patishapta
Patishapta

Lal doi was Bengali sweet curd. Very nice – good balance of sweet & a tinge of sour. Rate it 4/5.

Lal doi
Lal doi

Here is the description of Jamindari aahar

Gondhoraj lebu shorbot – flavourful and really nice gondhoraj ( aromatic citrus fruit of Bengal) sharbat with a slight bitter aftertaste. Very nice. Rate it 4.25/5

Gobindo Bhoger Bhat & ghee was the cereal in addition to luchi.

Zamindari aahar
the platter

The beginning of the dish had Paanch Bhaja – coconut, posto bora, veggie fry, bori, beguni.

Bhaja – bori was old and stale and hence had a musty smell. Rate it 0/5.

Posto bora was nice to taste. Unlike the ones made at home from just poppy seed paste, this bora had some ‘packing’ / filler added to it. Proportion of posto was less. Nevertheless it was good to taste but nowhere near to great. Rate it 3/5.

bori, Posto bora, coconut fry
bori, Posto bora, coconut fry

Beguni (batter fried brinjal/aubergine – batter made from besan) was perfectly crispy on the outside and soft inside. Perfect seasoning. Very enjoyable. Rate it 4.25/5

beguni
beguni

The other veggie bhaja was really yummy to eat. It had posto on its outer layer. Rate it 4.25/5

Loved munching on the crisp fried slit coconut. Rate it 4/5.

Rating of paanch bhaja averages out to 3.1/5

Thakur Barir Shukto was slightly low on salt but directionally very good. Not overtly bitter. Again very balanced and good to taste. Rate it 4.25/5.

Korai shuti moong daal was very nice, home like. Rate it 4.25/5.

Aloo Jhinge  posto was marvellous. It had good quantity of posto unlike in most restaurants.Loved the soft and nice jhingey & the cubes of melt in the mouth aloo. Pungency of mustard oil made its presence felt. Rate it 4.5/5

Aloo Jhinge  posto
Aloo Jhinge posto

Chingrir Malai curry had a thick, intense gravy that had the perfect blend of flavors of the jumbo prawns , coconut milk & spices. The prawns were perfectly cooked & they were hence soft & non rubbery. The chingri, we were told was also from the adjacent river – super fresh & YUMM. Rate it 4.75/5.

Chingrir Malai curry
Chingrir Malai curry

Bhapa ilish was marvellous again. Fresh Hilsa (ilish) fish perfectly cooked – super soft, YUMM. The gravy was to die for. Super pungent mustard almost like wasabi made a difference to this dish. Rate it 4.75/5

Kochi pathar Mansho aloo diye – meaning curry of baby goat meat & potato. Yes, potato – Bengalis love potatoin their muttonb curry & also in their Biryani. Lack of aloo might lead to severe protests by a segment of hardcore fans of ‘aloo in mangshor jhol’.

Kochi pathar Mansho aloo diye
Kochi pathar Mansho aloo diye

The meat pieces were tender & very good. Enjoyed our aloo. Loved the gravy & rate this dish 4.5/5

Hinger kochuri (kachori with hing / asafoetida flavor) was very nice. It was crisp & very good to taste. Rate it 4.25/5

Hinger kochuri
Hinger kochuri

Jamindari pulao was good. It had a slight sweet tinge. Flavors of good ghee made its presence felt. Rate it 3/5.

Raj bhog was rubbery as it was probably refrigerated & served . Average to taste . Rate it 2/5.

Raj bhog
Raj bhog

Paka phaler payesh was again boring. Almost tasteless, flat, payesh (kheer in hindi / payasam) with apple pieces sprinkled on top. Average I wud say. Rate it 2/5.

Paka phaler payesh
Paka phaler payesh

Overall rating of food & beverages averages out to 4/5. Incredible score considering so many dishes have been covered. Hats off to the person who planned the restaurant, the menu & the creator of recipes & of course to the people who made the final food .I wud not mind driving all the way from Kolkatato Raichak just for having lunch at Sonar Tori.

dry paan given at the end - mouthfreshner made from betel leaves
dry paan given at the end – mouthfreshner made from betel leaves
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