“The food is so good that I can sing” ...Kainaz Karmakar (not my grandmom)
It always feels good to see restaurants flourish. So it was great to see that Calcutta Club, the small restaurant at Oshiwara, which I had been to some time back, had shifted to a larger premise. This is opposite to where it used to be on Link Road. It is located close to the Oshiwara police station near a restaurant called Shreeji. Now it falls on your right when you are going towards Malad from Bandra.
According to reviews put up at the restaurant, it is owned by a middle aged couple who chucked their jobs to start this. What’s interesting is that the gentleman is Bengali while his wife is Gujarati. She speaks perfect Bengali too!
They have moved into a larger 8, 9 table (with a loo) place from their earlier 5 table joint. The food was even better than what I remembered and tastes like food cooked at home.
We stopped there on Saturday on our way for furniture shopping at Malad. We ordered luchis (Bengali puris, deep fried rotis). These were hot, light, soft, crisp and almost as good as what my grandmother, Didu (short for Didima), makes. That’s difficult to top. Luchis are a new addition as I remember that they didn’t serve it earlier.
We had a chholar daal which was very well flavoured, light and slightly sweetish. Again, close to Didu’s standards.
We ordered an alu bhaaja (fried potato) to close the luchi chholar daal loop. The alu bhaja (fried potato), was finely cut and very fresh and crisp.
We had a kosha manghso too. This was as fantastic as the rest of the food. The mutton was very tender. The gravy was slightly less thick than what I make. The spice was very subtle and well balanced. It tasted great with hot luchis. It also had a couple of pieces of potato in keeping with the home cooked theme.
I finished this off with a kheer pathishapta. Pathishapta/ pithe is a Bengali crepe stuffed with grated coconut. It is made during winter during a festival called sankranti if I recall right. You rarely get it at sweetshops and it is mainly made by grandmothers. The pathishapta at Calcutta Club was very close to my Didu’s. I must have had it after close to ten years. I loved every bite of it.
We went furniture shopping again on Sunday. And we stopped at Calcutta Club again for lunch. That’s how much we liked it. Twice in two days!
This time we had luchi, chholar daal, pathishapta again. And the quality was as good as the previous day.
I also had a mochar ghonto. This is a Bengali specialty made with finely chopped bits of the flower of bananas. This is flavoured with coconut. The ghonto was nice but I prefer my Didu’s who makes it drier than the version at Calcutta Club.
We also had a bhetki paturi (betki steamed with mustard paste in a banana leaf). This was excellent like everything else. The fish was fresh, boneless and tasty. The pungency of the mustard was just right. Kainaz, who normally finds mustard dishes in restaurants too pungent, loved it too and kept jumping up and down as she had this.
The food at Calcutta Club is ridiculously cheap for an ethnic restaurant. The meals cost us Rs 320 (USD 6) and Rs 400 (USD 8) the next day. And this after we over ate and ate well! Most dishes cost between Rs 50 – 100 (1-2 USD).
The décor is simple and cheerful. It is air conditioned. The only hitch on the second day was that the table stank a bit after they cleaned it. Perhaps the mop wasn't clean. Parking is easy and the washroom is clean.
The only drawback is that it is Oshiwara and one doesn’t frequent that part of town too often.
Comparisons with Oh Calcutta are natural. Oh Calcutta at Tardeo is grander. That’s the place to take people if you are giving a special treat. The price of a dish at Oh Calcutta would be as much as a meal for two at Calcutta Club. The food at Calcutta Club is more home like. That’s where I would head to if I don’t get to visit my grandmother at Calcutta for long and begin to miss her cooking too much.