Bengal Hotel – fowl o mutton (No. 14 Bus stop, Behala, Kolkata)

In a nutshell:

My childhood favourite – Re-visited after many years & Loved the simple menu , some good & some great food at prices that surprise.

Bengal Hotel – Moton o fowl

Address & other details: Bengal Hotel

Meal for 2: Rs. 200 onwards

fish fry at Bengal Hotel

Cuisine Type: A bit of Vegetarian & predominantly Nonvegetarian

Short Description – In case u r in a hurry:

As kids we used to go to this super tiny restaurant to have fish cutlets. The ambience did not matter then coz we were not aware of ‘ambience’ in an eatery & now it does not matter to me as long as the food is superb. We used to drool over the food then & this time around I found it very good, if not as good as before.

mutton cutlet at Bengal Hotel

The owner sits right at the entrance – He handles cash & remote manages the place. There is one guy who I have seen as the manager for many years now – order taking from customers & coordinating. Food is served by ‘chhotus’.

Fish roll at Bengal Hotel Behala

The most interesting thing at this restaurant is the rate chart. The menu is printed on a board on the wall – permanent (I think it was same when I was a kid). The price of the dish is written with chalk everyday besides the description. All items r made in limited quantities & as soon as an item is sold out, the manager runs to the board & rubs off the price. Popularity still soars & by 6.30 pm onwards one by one the items start getting sold out. The shop opens at around 3.30 pm & shuts by approx. 8.00 pm.

The ‘interesting’ rate chart at Bengal Hotel, Behala

They also pack ‘fry & eat’ chops & cutlets. I have heard that NRIs carry these back home. I carry these back to Gurgaon at times.

‘fry & eat’ chops & cutlets in case u want to pack it for home

The food is Anglo Indian – Chops & cutlets that have become Bengali now & mutton & chicken curries that have a wide following in Britain these days. We tried the mutton cutlet, fish roll, fish fry & also mutton kosha. Liked the mutton cutlet, liked very much the fish roll & fish fry & super loved the mutton kosha.

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Dalma (Odisa Niwas, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi)

In a nutshell:

Good simple interiors, good service & a very enjoyable, subtle, authentic Oriya cuisine in the land of strong tastes – Delhi

Inside the restaurant

Address & other details: Odisa Niwas

Meal for 2: Rs. 160 onwards

beautiful paintings on the walls & also on the ceilings

Cuisine Type: Vegetarian & Nonvegetarian

Short Description – In case u r in a hurry:

Simple non fussy interiors with lots of beautiful Odisa paintings all around & above. The stained glass that surrounds the Dining hall is covered with nice colorful glass painting. Much better visually than the more popular Andhra Bhawan few kilometers away.

Beautiful colored glass painting

Previously was run by the Odisa Government but is now run by a chain of Restaurants that serve odisa food – Dalma. They claim to be the first ever Odisa food Restaurant.

The staff wears uniform given by the restaurant – they are good. Some of them speak hindi with a heavy Odisa accent. A little patience bears good fruit as the guys are nice.

Menu card is colorful wit photographs in the same manner that one sees a lot in China & hongkong. What is however interesting is that the pics are all downloaded from net & do not necessarily represent the actual food that is being served. Example – We looked at the picture of fried fish & said ‘We want this fish’. Pat came the reply ‘Sorry sir, that’s just a picture. What we have is ****’.

colorful menu

Peep into the prices (in the picture below) & u will be stunned. Is this Delhi price or Odisa price? Is this 2012 price or 1992 price? Side dishes starting as low as Rs. 15!!!! For inmates of Odisa Niwas, any meal costs only Rs. 10.

About the food – We were lucky to have two of our friends from Odisa with us at Lunch. One of them said twice – this is just like it is at home. The other friend was a bit disappointed & said ‘ I wud give 6 / 10 to this lunch’. I said ‘why’. He said ‘ I did not feel that I ate out today – I felt that I am eating at home. What’s the point?’. Interesting conflict of perspectives – It is this point that I found most interesting – I am getting to eat authentic almost home cooked Odisa food sitting in Delhi at prices if 1992 – wow.

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