We need gondolas to enjoy the The Lalit Great Eastern Iftar today . Are you sure we can attend the Iftar dinner ? – My friend and fellow blogger Anirban asked me in afternoon.
Eid is around the corner and like every year, the traditional food dishes associated with Eid starts peeking here and there, ready to be embraced. A true food lover always makes a point to travel to central Kolkata, near Nakhoda Masjid and its bylanes to get the authentic halim , shirmal, bakarkhani and other delicious foods associated with this festival. Off late, the food bloggers and photo bloggers flock around this place during this month to get soaked into the festival. Here’s what I had to say on this on The Asian Age – (link)
Alfresco the all day dining in The Lalit Great Eastern has its food based on the four pillars of Kolkata – Bengali , Anglo Indian , Nawabi and Tangra Chinese . However, for the month of June and July, every Friday till 17th of July 2015, there will be a special Iftar Menu, where certain hand picked delicacies will be offered along with the standard offerings . This is priced at RS 1550 plus taxes.
The rain played a spoilsport and by the time I reached, I was already an hour late and within couple of sips into the Yakhni Mutton Shorba, the starters made an entry. The food fair started with various fried eatables like Alur chop (mashed potato fried with a batter) , Daler Bora (lentil fritters) , Egg devil (this is more of a scotch egg) , mutton chop (little less spicy would have helped the taste) and peyaji (onion pakodas) . Keeping in mind the mood of the festival where these eatables are used to break the fast, these were very smartly introduced in the menu.
There were two types of Halims – a veg one ( made with vegetables and soybean, mashed and pasted for long hours) and also a mutton Halim . Unlike most of the Halim that I have had , this was a fine paste of mutton cooked with with different dals and although little spicy, this is a must try here. I had all the intentions of opting out of the veg halim but the chef insisted and he was not wrong. The veg Halim was equally tasty and worth trying out. My tenure in Mumbai/Pune has offered me almost lifetime supply of Pav, however when it is accompanied by Keema Ghugni (Yellow pea curry with minced mutton) from the live counter, the desire got better of the consciousness.
In the main course we had Rohu Kalia, Kofta curry, Dal Sultani and Jeera Polao and then the star attractions of the evening. I started with Khichada ( basmati rice cooked with minced lamb) , Afghani meat balls ( Meat balls in herb roasted tomato sauce and definitely Nihari ( slow cooked lamb with bone marrow) . The Nihari was a clear winner with perfect balance of the flavours. Khichada was my next favourite and although the heart called out for Biryani, this was a good substitute. The succulent taste and light rice made me over stuff myself. I did not get the opportunity to look at anything else although there was Baghara Baingan, Baluchi Bharwan Paneer and others but a non veg remains a non veg .
In the dessert offering, there was phirni, a dish synonymous with the mughlai spread, there was sevai, Anjir ka halwa and there was Bakhlava, one of the desserts which has grown on to me and more so after my Greece and Turkey tour. The Phirni was decent but the sevai definitely could have been better . There was also a live counter of Jalebi.
Is this the most authentic Iftar spread ? Perhaps not, but is this the next best thing where you wanna enjoy the Iftar spread without the perils of walking along dingy lanes of Chitpur during monsoon and downpour? Yes it is. So go and savour the delight of a memorable feast.
I attended this on behalf of an invitation to Kolkata Food Bloggers