Cafe’ The’ (ICCR, Indian Council of Cultural relations, 9A Ho Chi Minh Sarani, near USIS Kolkata)

In a nutshell:

A cafe that is perfect for getting together & enjoying a adda amidst a very good ambience & some excellent food

Inside the cafe

Address & other details: Cafe’ The’

Meal for 2: Rs. 250 onwards

Cuisine type: Vegetarian & non vegetarian


The Bengali’s love affair with tea started in the 1800s when the British started mass producing it in India. Tea stalls sprung up over time all over & so did the ‘cabins’. Famous among many were Anandi Cabin, Basanta cabin etc which wud typically serve tea with Anglo Bengali snacks. For a good section of the middle income group, these cabins were equivalent to fine dining places that they wud visit on occasions.

Fish Kabiraji @Cafe’ The’

Bengali cuisine of today has many British influences like batter fried fish, orly, chops, cutlets, fries , kabiraji, dimer devil etc. By the way, Kabiraji is the Bengalification of the English word ‘Coverage’ since the fish / chicken is deep fried after covering it with whipped egg. ‘Dimer Devil’ is the Bengali version of ‘Devilled Egg.’ It is called ‘Devilled’ coz the original yolk of the egg is replaced by minced meat / potato filling.

Dimer devil

Short Description – In case u r in a hurry:

Cafe’ The’ menu card describes it as ‘the favourite place to meet & eat for artists & poets, musicians & singers, writers , thinkers, lovers, young & not so young’. It is also mentioned that the ‘cha & chop’ (beverage & snack) menu is inspired by the Cabins that dotted North Calcutta.

The very well illustrated menu card @Cafe’ The’

Apart from that there r ‘not too many restaurants serve this in Kolkata’ items like Welsh rarebit, Escalope of Chicken Milanese, fish pie, eggs Benedict etc.

The place is ideal for adda (a Bengali word for nonstop chat on a vast range of unrelated topics) & get togethers with friends & family. The ambience is very good & colourful without being jarring.

The waiting staff are attentive, warm, knowledgeable but not intrusive.

We loved this place so much that we walked in for a second time in a span of two days. We were lucky to eat the food served here during a Bangladeshi food festival named ‘Festive Platter from the Kitchens of Erstwhile Nawabs of Dhaka’. Also tried the regular fare. Super liked the food.

Bangladeshi food festival @Cafe’ The’

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Luchi & Chholar daal (Bengali style Chana Daal with Maida Poori)

This is a part of the series ……. For the Chef in u

Contributed by YUMMRAJ’s favourite Chef ANONYMOUS

Super easy to make & Super good to eat……………

Luchi & Chholar Daal is a typical Bengali traditional breakfast.

Luchi & Chholar Daal

Soak a cup of Chana daal (Chholar daal) for one hour. Add salt & turmeric & boil it in an open vessel till just done. Do not overcook it / do not pressure cook.

Boiled Chholar (Chana) Daal

Heat 2 tablespoon of Cow milk Ghee (clarified butter made from cow milk) & lightly fry  chopped coconuts, cashewnuts & raisins as shown in the picture.

sliced coconuts, cashew & raisins fried in ghee

Drain & keep aside.

Mix together ginger paste (1 teaspoon), Haldi / Turmeric powder (1/2 teaspoon), Jeera / Cumin powder (1 teaspoon) & Red chilli powder to taste (I use 1/2 tea spoon). Add 2 teaspoon water to dilute the paste a bit & mix well.

the fried spices post addition of water

In the remaining Ghee (after frying the coconut, cashew etc), add ½ teaspoon whole jeera (cumin seed). Add the above-mentioned paste once the cumin seeds start crackling. Fry the mixture continuously till the ghee separates.

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Bijoli Grill (Dilli Haat, opposite INA Market & Banga Bhawan, Delhi)

In a nutshell: A pretty good option for those missing good Bengali food in Delhi / those who want to try out Bengali food without spending much. Good but not the best for connoisseurs. Meal for 2: Rs. 250 onwards Cuisine Type: Vegetarian & Nonvegetarian Description: Fish fry was excellent – Flaky & juicy fish within, flavors of Dhania & very crisp crumb outer layer. … Continue reading Bijoli Grill (Dilli Haat, opposite INA Market & Banga Bhawan, Delhi)

Love & Mustard (1st floor, Galleria Market, above Le Marche, Gurgaon)

In a nutshell:

A good start but a bad downslide in just one year of opening the restaurant (unless the chef was on holiday the last time I went there & his trainees had cooked the food)

Address & other Details: Love & Mustard

The entrance

Meal for two – Rs.200 onwards

Cuisine type: Vegetarian & Nonvegetarian

A Billboard in Galleria Market - Love & Mustard

Short Description – In case u r in a hurry:

When we started going to this tiny Bengali (including jewish, persian, anglo Indian, mughal food popular in Kolkata) joint in Galleria market, the food was good – It was always suboptimal as compared to the best food in that category in Kolkata but was quite good as compared to similar other options in Gurgaon. This time we went there, we found that the menu card had changed & a lot of good stuff had been removed. When we started eating, it became a real challenge to control the frustration of paying & eating sub ordinary food ….. U get much better than this at people’s home in Kolkata…………… leave apart restaurants……… For Bongs, this can still b a bearable eatery to have dinner on those ‘no cooking today’ days…………… but surely not a good place to have a great ‘eat out dinner’ ………….. maybe just OK OK dinner.

interesting table top menu card

Nowadays in Bengali marriages Dinners r quite cosmopotlitan & they r usually served by caterering companies. However, the lunch that u get in a typical biyebari (marriage) is usually a multi course bengali lunch – for the close relatives & family members – it is usually cooked not by hi end caterers but groups of cooks referred to as ‘thakurs’ – I can vouch that all such lunches that I have had in the last ten years were better than the thali at Love & Mustard. So, the owner of the restaurant might as well get a good Thakur to get the food right.

Love is lost (love & passion for making good food) & the mustard is not fresh & tangy any more!!!!

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