Restaurant Review: Kolkata Callin’, A Call To Good Bengali Food You Must Certainly Pay Heed To

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The one thing that puts me off about specialty restaurants is the fact that most tend to overdo the whole ethnic bit. And sadly most of the Bengali restaurants that I’ve eaten at would fall into that category by trying too hard. Loud references to typical Bong staples like images of the Howrah Bridge, kitschy film posters, eardrum-shattering folk music playing out lustily and that typical, snooty ‘we-care-a-damn’ attitude displayed by the lethargic wait staff—all clichés that just don’t work for me. Daab ChingriThankfully the city’s newest Bengali restaurant, Kolkata Callin’ shrugs off those tropes like a fashionista would last season’s styles. Yes, refreshingly modest and super staid is this Andheri (e) eatery’s take on all things Bangla. Sure, there are subtle nuances to reference its heritage like their trademark, which a hand-rickshaw in silhouette along with the soothing ambient Rabindra sangeet. But like it should be doing, the food here speaks the loudest and tells us its story with enthusiasm, demanding our full attention! Aided by the affable owner, Sanjay Mukherjee, I started off my foodie innings here with a plate featuring two plump pieces of the Chingri Cutlet wherein generous morsels of prawn are bound together in a spice-redolent mix, deep fried and sprinkled over with chaat masala. Served with their toned down version of the otherwise tear-inducing kashundi chutney, this is one cracker of a dish that could have gone horribly wrong if the ratio of spices to prawn would have been wrongly calculated. Kosha MangshoWith no alcohol served here, eschewing the run-of-the-mill aerated drinks, I pay heed to my server’s suggestion of trying out the Green Mango, Mint and Rock Salt Panna. This one hit the spot in the freshness department, though a little bit more raw mango would have sealed the deal for me. Next to make an appearance on my plate were a happy bunch of fluffy fried Bengali puris called Luchis that were served with a thinner and under-seasoned version of my idea of a traditional coconut-flaked Cholar Dal. I must admit to being rather disappointed with this one as I sulkily dug into the dish, but not before dousing it with salt. Daab ChingriTotally opposite was the case with the sublime Bhapa Chingri, in which plump prawns were steamed in a rather salty mustard and cashew paste gravy that is designed to be eaten with the fluffy Steamed Rice and never alone, as Sanjay pointed out to me. With other dishes like the mutton Kosha Mangsho and Chicken Dak Bangla (replete with the requisite boiled egg) playing their supporting parts adequately, the star of any Bangla restaurant will undoubtedly be the maach or fish dishes. And in the case of Kolkata Callin’ the list is endless. From the showoff-ish Shorshe Illish to the Doi Maach—all are wondrous. But the one that I relished the most was the sweet-ish and smoky Pabda Jhaal which is an off the menu item and made only on the availability of the pabda river water fish (flown in fresh from Kolkata, I'm told) that has a subtle, creamy taste. With no space or inclination for the desserts (what with boring options like Sondesh and Payesh that one can have just about anywhere!), I happy chugged down a shot of the very unique digestive drink that took the form of a Paan Leaf-Lime Juice-Water concoction that I was told was an in-house creation. If its no-fuss, home-style Bengali food that you crave for at prices that won’t break the bank, it would be prudent to answer back enthusiastically whenever you hear Kolkata Callin’! WHERE? Plot No.285, Shere Punjab, Andheri (e). Call, +91-22-28368733/34 HOW MUCH? Rs 1,500 for two (no alcohol served) WHEN? 11am to 11.30pm WHAT'S HOT? The freshness of flavours and the ‘no-compromising on quality’ attitude ensures that what you eat here is the real deal! WHAT'S NOT? The very boring and limited selection of soft drinks is off putting, considering the lack of alcohol served here. Also the very uninspiring desserts leave a lot to be desired. SHOULD YOU GO THERE? Hell yes! Disclaimer: This review was done on invitation by Kolkata Callin’

Raul Dias

Raul Dias
Lists travel, food and luxury as the tantalizing trifecta that defines him. When he’s not travelling, eating or getting pampered at a spa, you'll find him assaulting his notebook's keyboard with a feral vengeance, churning out what he hopes are intelligent, informative and entertaining stories.