So, its this time of the year when almost every bengali is somewhat having a feel-good state-of mind. Basically, Poila Boisakh means (in literary sense), the first day of bengali calendar. Bengali calendar, somehow, historically is tied to the Indian solar calendar, based on Surya Siddhanta. This comes this time of the year, around mid-april and celebrated traditionally on 14th or 15th April every calendar year.
For a 70’s kid like me, who has seen the transition of bengali household from archies card to whatsapp messages, Poila Boisakh holds a very special place in our heart. In our childhood, every family used to have different pre-defined known shops, which unlike today’s supermarkets, used to know each customer individually and sometimes even their family members. Now, most of these shops used to introduce a new accounting ledger for their establishment on this poila boisakh and used to celebrate the day with their regular customers. Thus, in our childhood, we’ve seen invitation cards being delivered to our house by different shops (unlike these discount SMS’ that we get nowadays) and the evening was the time for us to visit different shops with our parents. It was not that we had to buy something, but the custome was to meet the owner and his/her staff, exchange a few pleasantries and for us, happily having a small bottle of Gold Spot/ Limca and leaving with a plastic packet containing one box of sweets and one calendar peeping its head out. By the evening, we naturally were exhausted having those endless cold drinks and occasional snacks. If I remember correctly, the main focus was to cover the gold ornament shops, where the sweet packet was of slightly better quality.
Another important factor of this poila boisakh was the “Choitra sale”. It involves a fanatic shopping spree for the ladies of the house and poor souls like us (jokingly…. ) get a small share of it too. Jokes apart, almost all shops including the shopping malls and big brands try to offer a good discount this time of the year and ladies normally wait for it.
Quite naturally, during this time, hotels present a vast spread of Bengali dishes for the customers and this year, god knows why, I’ve been invited to a couple of hotels this year to sample their Poila Boisakh offerings and had to turn down few … I am getting aged, remember ? So, here’s my experience and recommendation this year.
Novotel Kolkata, beside Axis Mall Rajarhat, is one of those underrated places in Kolkata as culinary destination. Somehow, their continental or rather french food offerings have amazed me times and again. But, I was slightly skeptical about their bengali food, but I’m like that for all the bengali fine dining places.
So, this time, Novotel is offering a selection of huge number of bengali dishes in their buffet in Square (the all day dining) across lunch and dinner. And, surprisingly, there’s a cute (yes, that’s the word) Jhalmuri live counter and trust me, it’s a treat watching one chef making the mix. Here, the choice of starters is huge. They’re providing fritters of mourola fish (anchovy), Prawns, Postor Bora and some nice shrimp chop and few vegetarian options (not so useful for a carnivore like me …). chitol Machher Peti r Kalia, Prawn (Golda) malai curry, Chicken Duckbunglo to name a few. The dessert selection was great as well. The buffet is priced at 1149+ Tax for lunch and 1449+Tax for dinner.
So, this is one place, I’d definitely try to visit again with family during this Poila Boisakh festival.
The second spot has to be my favorite Lalit Great Eastern Kolkata. This is one place where I like to go back- especially their iconic Bakery. But, this time, Al Fresco (the all day dining) has come up with a meat package. The buffet is priced at 2200/- at Al Fresco and a tighter version will be set up at The Legacy Grill at 1200/-.
The dinner, where we were invited, had some interesting items like Mutton-Enchor Dalna, Aam Kasundi diye murgi and Chicken Pulao. And, for the first time, I’ve tasted Ledikeni dalna and I should thank the chef to come up with interesting products like this. If someone is looking for a good number of options, this will definitely come in handy.
There are other places, which can be definitely checked for the options for Nobo-borsho. Please check below …
there will be the special Aamish Thali (Non-Veg), Sea Food Thali and Niramish Thali (Veg starting with the refreshing Gondoraj Lebur Ghol followed by authentic Bengali Potol er Dolma, traditional Shukto,Lal Shaager Charchori. Gorge the crispy Topshe Maach Fry with Kasundi, Jhuri Aloo Bhaja, along with Karaishuti Diye Dal, Ghee Bhaat and Radha Bolobi ,coupled with freshly cooked Chingri Malai Curry, steamed Bhetki Macher Paturi. Treat yourself to the authentic Bangladeshi delicacy Paabna Murgi, Bengali’s all time favourite Kosha Mangsho, traditional Doi Katla and Kacha Aam er Chutney. And dessert selection will include Pati Sapta, Gobinda Bhog Chaler Payesh, Kacha Gola and popular Misti Doi.
The Gateway Kolkata
One can experience the taste of traditional Bengali Zamindari food at The Gateway Hotel, EM Bypass, Kolkata. From Nawabi Aamish to Nawabi Niramish, indulge yourself to a treat of old Kolkata cuisine which will include a selection of freshly catch of prawns and seafood.
For the residents of Salt Lake, Stadel is always a good option. This cozy boutique hotel hardly ever fails to impress for food. And below is their offerings for Poila Boisakh 2018.
Aaheli, Peerless Inn
Aaheli is probably the first fine dining bengali restaurant in India. And, it’s impossible to not to mention them in this listing. Off course, they’re having their special fare at the Aaheli and Oceanic, the all day coffee shop at Peerless Inn. Special features of the menu include: Mourolar Peyaji, Mach Murgir Milimishi, Chingri Mochar Chop, Phoolkopi rai shorshe palong, Aloo mekhla , Mohini mochar kofta, Kalyani begun, Rasun bhapa mach, Padmar Pabda , Jeera jhal e chital , Lau kankra , Tortaja thor chingri , Chingrir ramta , Raj thakurer kasha handi dessert items like Sar er nadu and Roso sandesh and many more. Guests can select thali, buffet and ala carte menu at Aaheli and Aaheli Extension. At Oceanic, guests can select from Bengali dominated multi cuisine buffet. Pocket pinch starts from 1500/- …
*** All pics above for Aaheli above are from Peerless Inn management
But, the interesting part is, this year, I’ll be going to Diamond Plaza, Dumdum for Judging the cookery competition there. Now, as a blogger, who loves to share experiences on food journey, judging is a tough job and In need some cheering. So, if you’re free before your Poila Boisakh gala family lunch or are around, let’s catch up. and for culinary geniuses, some good prizes are to be won …
So, নববর্ষের প্রণাম ও ভালোবাসা জানাই সব্বাইকে and cheers !!!
Bon apetit !!!
Comments and critics welcome.
I can be reached at 9903528225 / firstname.lastname@example.org
*** Information for Taj Bengal Kolkata, The Gateway, Stadel and Peerless Inn are shared by their respective management