The Big Bong Theory


Prawn and Banana Flower Cutlet

Bengali cuisine can be a bit of an acquired taste, but once you give it a chance, you’ll fall hook, line and sinker. Th combination of sweet, spicy and tangy flavors is supremely delicious. My tryst with Bengali flavors started with my Husband introducing me to Kashundi (My mother-in-law is from Kolkata and he spent many happy summer vacations there as a child), which I now use in pretty much everything, no matter what cuisine or course.There are multiple Calcutta connections in my life now, and when a brand new Bijoli Grill opened near my house I was informed that the restaurant is a Calcutta Classic.

Menu

They began as a small catering outfit over 50 years ago. In fact you must go through their ‘About Us’ section here – http://www.bijoligrill.com/about_us.php. The point is that you can’t keep a good thing down, and Bijoli is a mini food empire now, keeping tummies happy all over the country! This included my tummy last Sunday.

Off we went to the sweet little eatery done up in cheer green and white. It was past 1, which is early by Mumbai standards so we had the undivided attention of the staff. We were placed under the care of a Mr. Suman. He seemed to be the head waiter and a passionate foodie himself, at least when it came to his own restaurant food. Suman ensured we had the most authentic experience – you’ll find out what I mean as you read on.

The menu is extensive so I began with what excited me the most personally. Having grown up good old Punjabi chili chicken in Delhi, I just had to try out the Chinatown Chilli Chicken. It promised to bring the taste of Tangra to Versova and my husband was transported straight back to good old Calcutta! I took his word for it, and the yummy tender chicken was indeed salted and spiced to perfection.

Chinatown Chilly Chicken

Our second starter was the exotic sounding Chingri Machar Chop – banana flower and prawn cutlet. The sweet subtle flavors accentuated with a very slight hint of tangy mustard was just divine. It was obviously deep-fried but not oily at all, it was perfectly crisp on the outside and soft and fluffy inside.

Prawn and Banana Flower Cutlet

Suman was instrumental in ordering our main course. He was finicky about what dish goes best with what bread. What rice should be ordered with what curry. And finally after much debate, we were allowed to order a Chingri Poshto(Prawns in a Poppy Seed Gravy) with Bengali paratha and Illish Bhapa (Hilsa fish steam cooked with a curry of mustard and green chilies)  with steamed rice. Suman was a stickler for tradition and how the food should be eaten. It was a bit irritating at first, but we soon realized that he was the one that made sure we got the most flavour and enjoyment from the food we ate.

So the main course came in installments since Suman wanted to ensure we don’t commit culinary sacrilege. We had the Chingri Poshto with the Paratha first. The tangy chilies in the gravy are the key to this dish, so ensure you get one in each bite.

IMG_1770

But the Illish Bhapa was the cherry on top of the scrumptious cake. The beautifully cooked fish, the tangy, sweet, spicy, creamy gravy with the rice is still making my mouth water as I write this review a week later. Suman insisted we ate this by hand, and I know exactly what he meant. With no metallic aftertaste of the spoon, this is what finger-lickin’ good food is. Yes I licked my fingers clean!

IMG_1771

Greedy Kartik then heard someone order Jhal Moori and promptly ordered some for himself. Again, it seems it was very authentic. He sprinkled some on the rice and gravy and I suggest you try that yourself – yummy!

Suman was very disappointed that we were too full for dessert, but we assured him that we’ll be back for more…soon. He brought us some Calcutta special dried paan, which was really nice and refreshing – and I don’t like paan. After I praised the paan, he ran back in to promptly bring me some churan. It was a yummy sweet and tangy concoction, that seemed to be mango based.

IMG_1773

Excellent Service, More than excellent food, all so close to home – Yes Suman, we will indeed be back soon – Very soon!

BIJOLI GRILL

Shop No 1, Tirupati Building, 7 Bungalows, Andheri West

Our meal included 1 Soft drink, 2 Starters(Non-Veg), 2 Main Courses(Non-Veg), Steamed Rice and Paratha and Jhal Muri and cost Rs. 2000/-

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