In a NUtshell
A 180 year old sweet shop that still makes fabulous sweets using traditional method, unlike many other famous sweet makers who have got in mechanisation to bengali sweet making. Result – the sweets are still as rustic & real as they used to be – most people can surely make out the difference in a blind test.
Address & other details: Satish Chandra das
Meal for 2: ₹40 onwards
Cuisine type : vegetarian only. Sattvik.
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YUMMRAJ rates all the food items & then gives 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
My very good friend Anirban Bora, whom we lost to COVID in April this year, once told me that he knows many sweet makers in Bengal. Anirban was an artist par excellence & a foodie himself. Anirban had made this cartoon as his imagination of YUMMRAJ:
Before our last trip to kolkata, Anirban mentioned Satish Chandra das to me. I said ‘never heard of them’. He said ‘that’s why I am recommending you’. He also mentioned that the shop is currently run by the young Samrat das & that we should say hello if he is around in the shop when we go.
Now that’s something we never do – we go in anonymity to an eatery, behave like any other customer & pay the bill & also tip (where applicable). So initially we said ‘no’. Anirban then threw something at us that was very difficult to resist. He said ‘with my reference, maybe you get a chance to see how a century old kitchen functions – how sweets are made in the traditional process, in a commercially successful sweet shop.’
So, as a unique case, we broke our code & agreed to say hello to Samrat. Hence no rating of the food like we do in other posts. Please Treat this as a food travelogue rather than a review.
Satish chandra das is also called Satish Moira (Moira means sweet maker).
We went to the shop around 11 am on a winter day. The shop facade had a long show case, like in most sweet shops. Customers were placing order from outside the shop, across the counter.
Multiple people were parallely servicing the customers, as expected.
We walked up to the counter & asked for Mr Samrat. We were soon asked to come ‘inside’ the building.
We met Mr. Samrat – very serious about his work, takes his heirloom recipes seriously, enthusiastic, very very warm , jovial – I could see his constant smile even through his mask:)
He mentioned that In 1840, in Kidderpore, next to Sonai Kali mandir, this family first started a sweet shop. The nature of sweets those days were very different than the curdled milk (chhana/chena) based bengali sweets of today.
The shop started in a humble way & was the entire source of earning for the not so affluent family at that time. Over the years the shop started doing good & the family prospered.
In 1870 the kolkata dock was ready & started business, the area started to change. Business boomed.
In 1920 they shut the old shop in Kidderpore & shifted to this new location in Garden Reach & have been there for the past century.
After a bit of chit chat we ate some sweets. Since it was winter, we had different kinds of nolen gur sweets also.
Sometimes one feels ‘how is it possible that I have not come across this before’. We felt the same after eating the sweets here.
It’s amazing how they still run the shop themselves (no franchisees), use knowledge that has trickled down over the decades, make absolutely fab traditional as well as innovations in bengali sweets.
We absolutely loved the not so fancy looking yet absolutely delicious sweets here.
It was very interesting to note that many sweets had quite poetic names as well
Special mention to the kanchagolla & the sondesh (traditional).
Absolutely bowled over with kheer puli & combo of chhanar payesh gajar ka halwa (innovative).
We had some great food conversations with Mr Samrat & then came the most interesting part of the trip – walk through of the kitchen.
The best part of a traditional business is its people & the knowledge they carry from decades of experience. It was sheer joy to talk to some of the people who work in the kitchen.
We got to see how their lead artisan was hand-finishing sweets for a party order. It’s pure job of a painter!!!!, In addition to being an expert in the art & science of sweet making.
In short, the gentleman was speaking about art (painting, shapes, moulds etc), physics (pressure, weight, force, temperature etc) & chemistry (how different elements of ingredients come together to form something new).
We also learnt about some practical knowledge that is acquired over the decades – you will never find them in a book or even on the internet.
All work in the kitchen was being done by skilled people, with their hands, the way it used to be done. It was so good to see a very neat & well maintained 100 year old kitchen.
Coming back to the art part – From certain angles, it’s difficult to guess that those apples are not real & he has painted them with a brush, using food grade color.
Became a fan of some of these traditional variety of sweets that are classics but best in class & also the immaculate way in which the newer innovations have been done.
Look forward to many more trips.
Sweets from here are very highly recommended by YUMMRAJ. Unmissable if you are visiting Kolkata.