Tuesday, February 08, 2005
Sunday mornings are heavenly. They're laced with that extra-special tinge of honey you get in hell, when it's time for a Sunday treat. And mine was good ole Bong food. I had suppressed the need for far too long. It was time to let the Bong genes surface.
So we trooped, brothers in arms, over to Oh! Calcutta in Tardeo for some well-missed "return to the roots", as Mum would have put it. I was dying to speak to the waiters in Bong too, but my bro is a stick-in-the-mud-rich-banker who pays for me whenever we go out, so I kept mum (ooooo, bad pun!) when he ordered me to. The place is excellent, great decor and all, but I expected all the waiters to be dressed up in Bong dhotis and all. There's this place called Aaheli in Calcutta where they actually have all this rigmarole, all dressed up zamindars serving you, and you feel so darned thrilled at it! (yes, I'm a snob - yay!)
And of course, a whole host of Bong expats or Bongs on holiday filled the restaurant. It was great fun pointing at people and saying - Awmigawd, that guy is SUCH a classic Bong! or Ooooo shit, she looks soooo South Calcutta Rich Bitch with the Indira Gandhi salt-n-pepper or Holy shit! What is that guy carrying in his belt-pouch? The Howrah Bridge? Yes, yes, yes - I'll repeat it all again - I should never have got into business journalism - I'm so made for Page 3! I'd give Konkona a run for her money, and would skip all that whiny social good-goodiness at the end, too!
So, yay - we come back to the food! For starters, we ordered this yummy Calcutta-style dry Chilli fish, which you will get in nowhere else in the world... diced fish, cooked with lots of soya sauce, chillies and capsicums, not really chilly, not really sweet, but so frikkin' sexy to any Calcuttan! The main course was the Chingri (prawn) Malai Curry, which is like the by-word of any Bong lunch party. Suitably rich and yummy, tasting divine with the steamed rice. And for the third course of the meal, there was one of my all-time favourites of Bong cuisine - Bhetki paturi, which is basically fillet of bhetki fish, cooked with mustard and steamed in a banana leaf package for you. You're supposed to unwrap the banana leaf, take a whiff of the sultry mustard, and dig in to the tender fillet with your hands - that one whiff cleared my blocked nose for good!
Cause for some disappointment: I had set my heart on malpua and rabri for dessert, but they had none on the menu! (Malpuas are something like pancakes, made utterly sinful with jaggery, and they taste yummier if you have them hot with some chilled rabri!) I refused to compromise with mishti doi, and settled for ice cream at Baskin Robin instead. Not very Bong, I know, but I'm a snoot, so what?!
Cause for heartrush: I had my first paan after lunch. I have steadfastly refused the stuff earlier, because I always found the idea of eating a leaf whole quite abhorring, but I decided to try it this once in the spirit of my Bong rediscovery. I'm back to abhorring the idea now.
Cause for major heartrush to darling bro: I actually paid the bill.
PS: As an aside, when I googled for links on Oh! Calcutta, the very first site I found is of a restaurant in Auckland City, Australia, called the same. Of course, when you go through the menu they have online, you'll discover that the food is not at all Bong in flavour, but what I suppose the foodies there consider to be 'authentic' Indian cuisine. Ha! Poor little mongrels!
Mirror Mirror #6: As this post proves, I can be as shallow, as demented, as bitchy, as any page 3 socialite! Yay! (pompoms exploding in cue)
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