The restaurant chain, Bhojohori Manna, drew queues in Kolkata in the last decade when three of its outlets opened in the city. Named after the mythical chef, Bhojohori Manna — immortalised by a popular song by Manna De, the restaurant redefined eating out in Kolkata. Before this, eating chiefly meant anything but Bengali food.
Ironically, though, Manna derived his cooking skills from his travels around the world, this restaurant chain is all about Bengali food. This and more such eateries in Kolkata have now become the destination to savour cumbersome culinary delights now rarely cooked at homes in a fast-paced urban milieu.
Luchi (puri) Mutton Kosha, Katla Kalia, Mochar Ghonto, Chitol Muithha, Phulkopir Torkari
So, when we found out that Bhojohori Manna had opened a new outlet in Chembur, it was imperative to drop by. The test for the taste was two-pronged. One of us being born and brought up in Mumbai was exposed to the host of new Bengali eateries that have sprung up in the city and the other is from Kolkata eager to validate its authenticity. The outlet in Chembur is small but neat. We were the only guests at 1 pm but we noticed the many calls that came in and the host of neatly packed boxes that left the restaurant for delivery.
Given that dishes like Fish Kalia, Pulao or the Mishti Doi are now widely known and appreciated, we decided to go beyond the already popular. So along with Katla Kalia and Mutton Kosha we ordered Chitol Muithha and Mochar Ghonto. We skipped the Pulao for plain rice, as we believe that nothing adds to the taste of Bengali curries more than plain rice. We tried to order what we thought would be difficult, especially to judge them on their claim to be ‘bengali home-style cusine’.
We started with Mochar Gonto, which is vegetable made of chopped banana flower — a Bengali specialty (R110). It didn’t disappoint. After having the first bit of rice mixed with the dish, we realised that this outlet has got it right. Our non-Bengali team members lapped it up within seconds; perhaps, a brighter future awaits the humble ghonto.
Up next was a basic dish, Alu Phulkopi Koraishutir tarkari (R110), a simple vegetarian dish made of potatoes, cauliflower and green peas in a Bengali style curry. This one was just like it should be basic and tasteful. But Chitol Machher Muithha (R195) clearly stole the show. This dish is a delicacy originally from erstwhile East Bengal, made of boneless fish cakes. The Kolkata member profoundly said that if they can make this well, they can make anything well.
And they did. The kofta, which the fish cake is called, can neither be too soft nor too hard. And they got it perfect. It did not flake away when one bit into it and well, as they say, melted in your mouth. So, we agreed because they did make pretty much everything we ordered, well.
We also ordered the Katla Kalia (R125) and the Kosha Mangsho, mutton cooked in a thick, almost dry, gravy (massala) (R215) a usual suspect in most Bengali set meals and found both well done. There are a host of other vegetarian and non-vegetarian items to try from, including the Thalis (starting at R250) and some sweet meats. Well, we’ll have to keep going back for those. We’ll keep you posted.
At Shop 14, near Maharana Kamat, Chembur Naka, Chembur Colony
Time 2 pm to 4 pm,
7 pm to 11 pm
Bhojohari Manna didn’t know we were there. the guide reviews anonymously and pays for its meals.
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