Due to my recent health problems, I’ve turned vegetarian for almost a month now (well, except fish, I mean to say). And, during this period, I’ve started being introduced to newer good vegetarian food joints in Kolkata. But, when this paid invitation to visit a Gujrati basa ,came from the Good Vegetarian Food group, I was frankly very happy.
So, what is a Basa ?
As far as my knowledge goes, Basas were set up in early thirties near the Burrabazar / M G Road area, mainly to feed the local marwari and gujrati population. As they had shifted their base tin this city and were missing their home cooked food like anything, some enthusiast arranged few maharaj (specialty cooks) from the western part of the country and set up canteens here. The food is mostly simple. Rice, kchidi (on a holiday or if one’s lucky), one or two varieties of dal, one or two types of sabzi and all the package (with unlimited serving) comes at a very very nominal price. Local traders and basically everybody avail their service and it gives them a ghar-ka-khana feelings.
The place was supposed in to be in Burrabazar. Tucked in a narrow, dingy lane behind chitpur royal restaurant, lied this place. The invitation read ” A kathiawadi thali Dinner”. The cuisine is supposed to be pretty hot and spicy, unlike normal gujrati cuisine. The gud and ghee is an integral part of the thali and the life of it….
How to go and when :
The formal address is Marwari Basa, No 1, Roopchand Roy St, tambaku wali gully, behind Royal hotel, Chitpur. Parking is really, really a pain-in-you-know-where and cab service is highly recommended. One needs to go to the first floor through a scary looking entrance, narrow staircase and up you find lots of hungry faces waiting for their turn. Whatever, I could understand, these guys operate for lunch and dinner on all days and one can go and have the food without prior booking. The contact point for the gujrati basa is … Satish Bhai and can be reached at 9836917651
You can find the approximate location for this place on google map here. and you will have to ask the local people there.
It was 3-4 big rooms with chairs and tables neatly arranged and steel thali set arranged. The food was getting prepared just in front of us and literally hot-from-the-oven…..
The server, whom I was jokingly calling “Maharaj” was serving the food and was extremely efficient and cool-headed. He kept on feeling our thali and being a registered glutton, I went on consuming ….. It was a preset menu.
It was two types of achhar: Papaya and Besan mirchi (basically stuffed capsicum) and both were slightly spicy. We were told, the spice quotient was cut down to suit our palate…..
It was followed by 2 types of roti (atta and bajra), smeared with ghee, Lasaniya pyaaz aloo bataka (a spicy, dry aloo dum- the best dish I had that evening), Lasaniya Bhindi ( A dry ladies finger dish with a spicy garlic overdose), Sev Tamatar (errr….. not my type- really), Sweet kadhi with rice, Khichdi with ghee poured on top and unlimited supply of papad and Chhach.
After numerous supply of this whole, thing, we hardly had space for anything else and ended up with one kalakand (sponsored by the group)…. the meal was filling and honest, basically ghar-ka-khana…. The best part is this whole thing comes at a very very pocket-friendly price of 150/- per head….. also, regular goers say, they provide the best meal on every month’s first sunday lunch.
Naturally, we were through and filled to the core…..
Overall, a good, rather refreshingly different experience one may try out. I won’t say every dish suited my palate, but definitely I’ll go again.
P.S: The person running the few Gujrati Basas in Kolkata can be connected at the following numbers: Jitu Bhai@ 9830171951 / Satish Bhai@ 9836917651
Bon apetite !!!
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