There is always an eternal debate in all households whether to eat out or not. This debate takes a stronger turn in all Bengali households during Durga Puja. While everyone wants to step out of the house and dine out, the traffic rush, long queues outside the restaurants coupled with at times not that great food, acts as a deterrent in the decision making. Plus there is always the option of eating at the local community lunch or dinner.
The other contention of debate is an interesting one too. Most of the restaurants in Kolkata which are multi cuisine and not focusing on one particular cuisine will inevitably offer a Bengali spread and there lies the problem. Nothing on the quality of the food offered as I am a firm believer that no one wants to make bad food. Be it a chef or be it a home cook. We have grown up defending, fighting questions like –
Why do we spend money on something which I can cook better at home?
Why do we spend money and eat out on a food which we are having round the year at home?
Madhushree has the answer-
We were invited at The Oberoi Grand for a tasting of their special Grand Pujor Mahabhoj. Executive Chef Sourav Banerjee and his talented team had put up a great show and the spread is strongly recommended. The tasting happened on the day of the Mahalaya – the official start of the festivities and adrenaline highs. With a sumptuous spread, fellow food bloggers around, coupled with the famous Oberoi Grand hospitality and the ever enthusiastic and wonderful person Aparna Banerjee Paul around, this had the promise to turn out to an afternoon to remember. No wonder it happened.
This festival is going to stick to traditional fares from the homes of Bengal. The menu we had was nothing short of grand. From a whole array of bhaja bhuji to the very delectable shukto, alu jhinge posto, moong dal and alur dom were the vegetarian fares. I must say that the alur dom was a killer dish. It was made with baby potatoes which were deep fried, hence had a crispy coating with a soft interior and the gravy was lipsmacking. The ever calming Shukto, one of the most intricately made dishes and perhaps feared by many cooks, was executed beautifully and left a lingering taste in the mouth. Luchi and basanti pulao accompanied as staples.
The non vegetarian gala started with chingri kobiraji. The crunchy golden veil surrounding the soft prawn with a stuffing was nothing short of divine and it was paired with kancha aam Kasundi. For some, it was definitely in the running for dish of the day. There were a number of big and hearty proteins from chitol macher kalia, kosha manghso and ilish paturi. Traditionally, The Oberoi Grand always uses lamb in place of mutton for even Bengali dishes. And contrary to common belief that lamb has a strong scent, we did not even figure out until we had all polished off the kosha mangsho with our fingers dug in the gravy and the Chef came and informed us that it was not mutton but lamb. The meat was falling off the bone and yet it was not dry and the gravy was rich and spicy with a bit of sweetness from the onions. Not much need to be said about the ilish paturi, which is always the star at any meal and here too, we couldn’t stop from licking our fingers doused with the sorshe and posto gravy and happily picking out the bones from the very large piece of ilish. It was bliss!!
And wait, it’s not over yet. Chef Banerjee proudly displayed an enviable number of sweet delights, mishti. They make their own mishti, even the roshogolla. Yes, you are right, it’s unheard of and everyone agreed, that the rajbhog we had was perhaps one of the best we have all tasted. It was super spongy without being dry. I can still remember the taste of the rajbhog which surpassed every other sweet, which were brilliant too.
This gala affair would be in the form of a buffet for lunch and dinner from the 8th till the 10th of October 2016. On the 11th, there would be a grand lunch buffet to end the festivities. The menu will be different on all days and will include dishes like golda chingri malakari, tel koi, chitol macher muittha, different kinds of dals, chutneys, pulaos and more ending with superb sweets as desserts.
The price is set at 2250 plus taxes for both lunch and dinner and will also include mineral water and a non alcoholic welcome drink.
As long as we can plan out in advance and go out with our family and friends at a place where we know for sure that the food and hospitality will not let us down, eating out is an experience even during Durga Puja. So, start making your plans today.