There goes around a saying that if somebody wants to understand a city, the mid or lower mid level local bar should be visited. Local mango people go there normally, regular office goers, nothing fancy. All they wish for is couple of cheap booze , some snacks to go with and few friends, which they might forget in next few days or few years. The food, generally, is not that great in these bars. But, that character of that city can be found here. And, one such bar in Kolkata, is Broadway Bar, Ganesh Chandra Avenue.
If you’re not willing to open the google map, it’s absolutely fine. Enter Ganesh Chandra Avenue from central avenue crossing and after 3-4 shops on your left, come this joint. As I said earlier, it’s nothing fancy. But the good part is, it has got a huge space and lots of wooden tables and chairs, who have definitely seen better days. Surprisingly, the table cloths are always clean and shining and of bright yellow colored. And recently, after a shift of management, AC’s are included. But, well, Kolkata is a bit of a cranky city. So, last time when I went, AC’s were supposed to go live from 6 PM only. But never mind, the high ceiling, thick walls and vintage wall hanging fans with long rods does a pretty decent job, even on a sultry Kolkata summer.
There is a standard character trait in these places. If you ask for the menu card or rather bar card, the first thing you’ll get is a look of disbelief. “You mean to say, you don’t know your drinks ??? ” The waiter might not ask you loudly but you’ll be able to read his eyes. Anyway, they’ve introduced Draught beer here (1.5 Ltr at 500/-) and who am I lesser mortal to not order it ? They serve it in a lovely beer tower and its a nice feeling.
Now, whenever I go to this place, this fish-y menu card is always there on the table. it shows all the dishes made out of local fish. And, personally, I prefer boneless fish with booze. So, Mourola remains my standard choice , but rainy time is a different issue altogether, when Hilsa somes into scene. The good part is, at least in these types of bars, the bong love for fish is respected …
Apart from the standard menu, they make this lovely mustard chilly chicken. Now, don’t get shocked please. this dish is a tribute to bengal. It simply puts kasundi into an Indian styled chilly chicken. But, the end product is lovely. Only the trade secret is, you’ll have to whisper in the waiter’s year to make it slightly more spicy … Somehow, on asking, the next recommendation was Thai Basil Chicken. Let me assure you, any self-respecting thai citizen will commit suicide if he/ she wants to check the authenticity. But, taste-wise it’s fantastic. It’s a perfect balance of spice and sour quotient and is definitely recommended. Here, I’d like to apologize for the bad quality mobile pictures, please. P.S. the chicken dishes are roughly 180-200/- each plate and consists of juicy 8 boneless pcs.
And after you visit a certain number of times, waiter will understand your nature and won’t even ask for a repeat order. They’ll keep a hawk-eye on the pitcher and once it’s about to get over, magically, you’ll find another one in front of you. And, to keep going, another dish that I’ll suggest is the Fish Balls Peeper Salt. The fish is Basa and maybe maybe Bombay Vetki on a good day. But, preparation is generally great. so, if you’re not fanatically against Basa, please go for it. Generally, after few glasses of beer, even I do. And, for main course, this place makes a decent enough Mixed pan fried noodles. Now, for me, the characteristics of a good pan fried noodles is, the amount of meat (and shrimp) should exceed noodles. And these guys do a decent job.
I won’t say the food is heavenly, nor I’ll say it’s one of the best bars in town. But, seldom you can find a bar in the city where those wide windows welcome you. And if you’re lucky enough to get a window-seat, time stands still inside. Let the world go rush to madness outside those thick walls, a good book and a beer pitcher can keep a Kolkattan happy on an otherwise gloomy day. Who needs an AC ?
I am a somewhat regular here and I’ve seen lots of stories being made and discussed, millions change hands and few strangers becoming friends for lifetime. Now, this is my city- Kolkata and Broadway bar clearly represents it.
Cheers and bon apetit !!!
Comments and critics welcome
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