Venue: Nehru Place
As an intro to Bengali food outside Paschim Bengal, one of the most recommended restaurants is Oh Calcutta, we decided to have a pre Holi dinner there. We were ushered in with the question. “Du jon?” (Two persons in Bangla) and we knew that 99% of the diners here spoke Didi’s language. We had made reservations earlier and once seated, we were given the menu.
We ordered a dish of fritters as entre’ and Nawabi Dum Biriyani – Murgh, Daab Chingi and Bhetki Paturi (we wanted to order Gondhoraj Bhetki, but they were out of lime :-).
Soon after we placed the order, we were offered a complimentary helping of crunchy fried vadis (lentil nuggets) along with Raita and a green chutney dip. We are sorry to say this, but this was the tastiest item that evening. Rest of the items couldn’t live up to our expectations.
The Bhetki Paturi is a slice of Bhetki fish coated with mustard and chilli paste and steamed wrapped in coconut leaf. In fact it was served in the coconut leaf envelope. This gave the dish a very fresh flavour. Sadly, the chilli quotient was over powering and is a big no no for someone who is not for mouth burning spicy food.
The Dab Chingri is a prawn dish cooked in coconut milk and was served in a green coconut. The prawns were tender and the coconut milk base helped in balancing the mirchi in the other dishes.
The most awaited dish was the Biriyani – Calcutta style. History has it that Wajid Ali Shah carried the Awadhi style cuisine when exiled in Calcutta. This style is low on spices but rich in fragrances rendered by saffron, cardamom etc. The characteristics of Calcutta Biriyani are that they always contain potatoes and are very pleasantly mild in taste.
The Oh Calcutta Biriyani was hardly Calcutta. It was more like a typical Delhi Biriyani (like Nizams, DEEZ etc). It was loaded with spices and was also high on chilli. And that is something any Calcuttan would perhaps swear – Calcutta Biriyani has no mirchi.
We pointed this out and the waiter cordially offered a replacement of plain rice. Gesture appreciated but dinner screwed.
We had also ordered a dish of fritters (bhaja). This was nice.
Tasteful decor and pleasant ambiance, but overrated in terms of the taste and the price.