Let me be honest (now, people say that’s one of my weak points). There are a lot of restaurants Kolkata which serve good beef preparations. Now, what separates the good from the rest or rather the great from the good- is the question. Frankly, as a food blogger, I strongly feel, food is one hell of a subjective topic and what’s damn good for me, may very well be shitty for somebody else and both are right in their own forte. So, in this post, I’d love to write on the beef joints one should definitely try in Kolkata, as per my tastebuds. Also, though I know few five star hotels in the city serving some bovine staff, I (being a garib admi) intentionally kept them aside for a separate post someday.
UP Bihar restaurant
I started eating beef (being a Hindu and that too a brahmin) at maybe 16-17 years of age. That was the age, where eating beef was considered heroic (read, eating the bovine meat at a proper beef joint) and also the cost factor played a key role. A plate of beef kebab and roti could satiate our hunger for a few hours at 10/- (or maybe lesser- memory tends to betray me nowadays). So, at the backside of the new market and beside Nizam’s, there was this small, dingy joint called UP Bihar restaurant. Now, I don’t know who and why the hell somebody named it like that- but what I know is they prepared some fantastic beef kebab and bhuna gosht.
The entrance to this place is unimpressive, to say the least, but the food makes up for it. Even after some two decades, they’ve not changed. The ambiance still sucks and the food still rocks. After tolerating a shopping spree for your wife, and sending her back to home, once you’re free, for khiree kebab, beef kebab, and Bhuna Gosht, it is still a pure gem.
The second beef joint, which I’d love to highlight, is lovingly called as the mecca of Beef Biryani by the connoisseurs of the city. Zam zam lies in between the Park circus and AJC Bose Road, technically Noor Ali Avenue. The lane opposite to the Missionaries OF Charity mother’s house leads to this place. The google location can be found here. I’d suggest not to take the car here as the parking might be a bit tough. It’s placed in a quaint semi-residential area and surprisingly, is full almost throughout the day. There is not fancy decor as such, but then when did a master need those ornamental add-ons?
About the food
They’ll expect you to know what you’re going to order and without even looking at the menu card, ask for their beef biryani and one plate of beef malai with roti (off course to be divided between two of you). You won’t find the standard smell of beef in this biryani but long, ghee soaked rice and the soft meet will take you to another level and the beef malai (with actual malai being floated on top) will help you stay there. One of my friends once ordered chicken champ there (sometimes, Satan gets on normal people). The waiter froze for 2 seconds hearing that and what came on the table, was nothing less than a disaster. Stick to these 2 items mentioned above and you’ll be happy.
And once you’re over, order for their malai (and whisper to the waiter to put sufficient sugar on top) and you’ll feel like conquering the world. The firni is pretty ordinary, or was it after that malai?
The last beef joint, that I’d love to mention is in Park Circus- two minutes walking distance from the seven-point crossing. You must’ve been to Zeeshan. On a good day, it can give many giants a run for their money. But, no, not them. This one is just on the adjacent lane to it. Yes, I am talking about Nafeel.
No, biryani is not their forte. But, if you’ve ever heard of the name of handi kebab, this is the go-to place. Their beef handi kebab, with the subtle after-smell of cardamom and black pepper (or was it kebab chini ? ) and that slight chewy feeling, just makes a sad, day happy. The beef kebab is good (not the best)- damn good in fact. But, it could somehow never cross that thin line between being good and being great. Don’t bother asking for the biryani (pretty ordinary) and firni … with Royal (Park Circus branch)just opposite to them, it’s just not worth.
So, as I keep on saying, there might be many lesser-known beef joints across the city, serving some excellent staff. And then, there is the entire Zakaria Street range, which are great in their own area. But, somehow, I prefer these and hope you like it too.
Bon apetit !!!
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