Little Kolkata Bengali Canteen espouses the belief that a Bengali (and anyone trying their food) is literally born to eat and eat I did when attending Little Kolkata’s latest lunch club. On an inclement September Sunday afternoon I tried flavoursome, perfectly spiced, enticing dish after dish. Each plate had a distinctive classification and to name a few; these were a source of mineral and carbohydrate, protein and vitamin, before a little bit of indulgence. All washed down with a hydration element which is key to healthy living.
An afternoon filled with buzz, wonderful richly spiced cuisine and lively conversation with the chef-patron Prabir Chattopadhyay ensued. First was a rather pleasant appetiser of Dahi Papri Chaat made of the crispiest wafer topped with spicy tangy potatoes and yogurt; which was visually arresting thanks in part to the textural appeal of the different ingredients and the beauty of the liberally sprinkled jewelled pomegranate seeds. The sharing nature of the dishes created by Little Kolkata brings people together by encouraging you to simply enjoy, share your time, speak to your fellow diner, share stories and of course share your delight and passion for food.
Bengali Luchi – puffed bread – provided a beyond tasty accompaniment to the main event and I quite happily asked for a second serving.
Turning attention to the main event, one of the key elements to appreciate is the fact that the seasonal vegetables served all had significant health benefits. The central tenant of Prabir’s latest supperclub menu was seasonal produce and their associated health benefits. The vegetables and lentils added a strong counterbalance to the Kosha Mongsho, slow cooked Bengali style goat and Deemer Dalna. Deemer Dalna was a revelation; the whole egg was lightly coated and fried before nestling in amidst a fragrant and light curry. The accompaniments were as already noted delicious and those worth highlighting were the posto laal saag – red spinach in poppy seeds a unique taste, bold and invigorating on the palate. Also Aamshotto Khejurer Chutney, a sweet but refreshing fresh mango and date chutney.
A little bit of indulgence took the form of a dual dessert of Calcutta Sandesh – a cooked cheese – and Mishti Doi – baked yoghurt. Space was duly found to try a bite which of course turned into the full portion. It was hard to resist the creamy puddings which perfectly finished off a tasting menu which showcased the depth, variety and taste on offer within Bengali cuisine. Little Kolkata’s supper clubs are a true celebration of the spirit of Calcutta and its culinary delights.