The city today has many takers for Bengali cuisine but despite a mushrooming of Bengali restaurants, few have made it to the top notch category. Whenever we talk about a Bengali restaurant, it is Bhojohori Manna or 6 Ballygunje Place, which comes at the first recall. Then Oh Calcutta peeps in with an afterthought that the food is quite anglicized. Kewpie’s is also there and Aaheli has been there for the last 25 years now, delivering premium quality food worth the value. In all this, very quietly and secretively, Sonar tori had been operating at Raichak on Ganges for a number of years now. As you enter through a labyrinth of an old Zamindar house in rural Bengal, the art and the décor and the overall feel of the place overwhelms you. They serve two kinds of Thalis there and each one has dishes which are close to a Bong’s heart and soul and are packed with flavours and of course, proteins. Although I have to say that Raichak on Ganges is one of our preferred weekend destination and we had written about our dining experience at Sonar tori Raichak here. Having said that, unless you are staying at the property, it does not make much sense to drive all the way for just a thali. The distance is always a deterrent. Must add here that we had been to Raichak recently and was glad to find that the food quality still remains the same. A perfect setting for a leisurely Bengali meal.
Sonar Tori City centre 1 – the new addition
Sonar tori makes a foray in mainland through their latest outlet in City Centre 1. It is located in the hustle and bustle of this shopping centre but the minute you step in, it is a different world altogether. This outlet is modeled on a Zamindar house with a rich and opulent décor. Olive green walls and some red velvet lined walls, gold inlays, glass chandeliers, wooden furniture, antique wall art, brass artefact and the works are all on display. There are two private dining areas which have beautiful kantha work displayed along with vintage lamps and old picture frames. There is a small patio overlooking the shopping area. The patio, I reckon would become, quite a sought after dining space in the winters.
We couldn’t have been happier. It was one afternoon during a shopping spree at Salt Lake, City Centre 1 that Anindya, Tugga and I dropped in at Sonar tori City Centre 1, Salt Lake .
Food at Sonar Tori City Centre 1
As a second nature, we chatted up with the chefs there and the Executive Chef Bhaskar Dasgupta was kind enough to spend a considerable amount of time with us, explaining how he, alongwith Corporate Chef Sumanta Chakrabarti, came about designing the menu. It is very cleverly crafted with the popular dishes holding space alongside some lost and forgotten recipes. Food from the various districts of West Bengal and some interesting dishes from across the border, feature as well. A lot of care has been given in procuring the right ingredients. The quality of the food is top notch and the food simply shines. Food is served in brass plates and bowls, enhancing the dining experience. Jhuri jhuri loitte mach bhaja is a terrific dish which goes well with rice as well as on its own. The deep fried fish is mashed up with various spices and is quite lip smacking. Echorer cutlet, pur bhora bhetki, hansher dimer pakoda, machher jhuri, mangher sutli kebab, mete chorchori, deshi murgir jhol are some of the uncommon dishes available here. You can even try some posto murgi with gobindobhog rice or luchi and chholar dal. Out of everything, the flavours of the dal are weaved together with a dash of ghee with a tad of sweetness making it a perfect side dish. Tugga was so overwhelmed with his ‘golden plates’ and luchi cholar dal, that he has requested me to make that for him every single day. And in case you were wondering, I take Tugga’s palate seriously. He has quite a refined sense of taste.
At Sonar tori Centre Centre 1 also, they have several thali options, out of which the corporate thali option ( INR 550 + tax) is the perfect choice for one person and is very price friendly with unlimited quantity of food, even for the non vegetarian dishes. Both in a la carte and thali, one is spoilt for a choice. In the desserts, daber sondesh is splendid and a must have dish. It is very low in sugar yet so delicious. It has a layer of daab or tender coconut malai steamed and topped with chhena and coconut malai. Since then I have been planning on re creating this pure and unadulterated dessert at home.
It took a few years for Sonar tori to travel from Raichak on Ganges to City Centre 1. It shows a lot of promise in not just the ambience and décor but also the quality of the food, the taste as well as the overall service and experience. We wish it all the best.
P.S. We went to Sonar tori City Centre 1 on our own and paid for the food ourselves. This is not a review but our experience, which is completely personal.
Address – 4th Floor, B Block, City Centre 1, Sector 1, Salt Lake
Timings – 12noon – 3:30pm, 7pm – 11pm