A sandesh from Didi
Mamata Banerjee's clay rosogolla threat to the PM got our foodie hearts dreaming about the classic Bengali sweet. Here are six places where you can tuck into the mishti in the city
It is hard to imagine how a single sweet — that otherwise holds hereditary, nostalgic and gastronomical relevance for many — keeps reappearing as a bone of contention between members of the civil society. It was only in March that the tussle between West Bengal and Odisha saw a new facet, with the latter challenging the Geographical Indications’s grant to ‘Banglar Rosogolla’ in November 2017, which stated that the juicy and soul-stirring treat was, in fact, from Bengal.
Now, this guilty pleasure is back in the news, and it reappears as West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee’s ammo. While campaigning in Raniganj and responding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Didi claimed Bengal would be gifting him rosogollas made of clay and filled with gravel instead of votes. And while the two leaders made national headlines engaging in a rather infantile, albeit funny, donnybrook, we kept dreaming about the dessert. If you’re looking for a sweet escape from this political circus, here are few places to hide.
Sweeter than roses
Something that is meant to make people happy is now being used as a weapon in a war of words. It is a rather sad state of affairs," laments chef Jerson Fernandes. At this Juhu eatery, the gulabi rosogolla (R399) gets its name from the rose-scented syrup it’s dipped in. "The trick to making perfect rosogollas is kneading the dough well. We soak the chena dumplings in a rose-water sugar syrup, instead of the regular kind. It also happens to be very popular among patrons," Fernandes shares.
At Jeon, Hotel Sea Princess, Juhu Tara Road. Time 7 am to 12 am Call 26469500
Taste of Bengal
At Sweet Bengal, you can choose from plain rosogolla (R20), special rosogolla (R23) and kesari rajbhog (R25), as well as seasonal versions like mango and jaggery. Manager Chanchal Chakraborty tells us, "We source milk from Bengal to esnure authenticity, and the aim is to arrive at perfectly spongy rosogollas." He adds that they sell 2,500 pieces of the treat in total across the city.
At Sweet Bengal (all outlets). Time 10 am to 10 pm Call 9137155884 (Bandra West)
Staying true to their core principles, this restaurant is serving the traditional Bengali sweet with a zany twist. Speaking about the coffee rosogulla (R425), chef Thomas Zacharias says, "Why restrict rosogulla to its sickly sweet sugar syrup and not infuse it with another flavour? We soak the rosogolla in dark espresso and serve it with salted caramel ice cream and a homemade peanut brittle for crunch."
At The Bombay Canteen, Kamala Mills Compound, Lower Parel. Time 12 pm to 1 am Call 49666666
Treat from the past
Opened in 1971, Sandesh Bengali Sweets would originally serve samosa, jalebi and lassi. Then, sometime in the ’80s, the demand for Bengali sweets rose among Mumbaikars and the establishment introduced a range of sandesh and mishti over the years, but the offering began with rosogollas. "Uss time pe Bengali sweet ka ek hi matlab tha — rosogolla [R16]," shares second-generation owner Chandan Singh, adding, "Now, it has become so popular we sell close to 800 pieces a day."
At Sandesh Bengali Sweet, Dharmeshwar Building, TH Kataria Marg, Matunga West. Time 7 am to 10 pm Call 9004104908
Only serve it sweet
Around since the 1940s, Brijwasi Sweets’ Goregaon East outlet specialises in Bengali treats. Owner Anurag Agrawal tells us, when his forefathers introduced Mumbaikars to rosogollas in the ’50s, very few knew about the dessert. Today, it is one of their top-selling items. They serve rosogolla (R13 to R26) as well as rajbhog (R35), which is bigger and has an oozy centre. Asked to comment on the debacle between Didi and NaMo, Agrawal said, "I wouldn’t like to get into politics; all I know is that rosogollas should only be served sweet."
At Brijwasi Bengali Sweets, Sonawala Road, Goregaon East. Time 10 am to 9 pm Call 26863392
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A walk through Mohammed Ali Road's Khau Galli