If we have to find any icon for Kolkata non-sweet food, probably, it’ll be the Kathi Roll. Few meat pieces, rolled in parantha (in some cases, laccha parota) creates some magic in Kolkattan minds. Basically, it’s a on-the-go-dish and both carbs and protein goes in- and without dirtying hands, it’s great fun. So, in this post, I’ll try to start a series, where I’ll try to discuss about few note-worthy roll shops in Kolkata.
A bit of history and Nizam :-
It’s said that Kathi roll started its journey from Nizam’s restaurant. In around nineteenth century, the owner (then) raja hasaan saheb helped a foreigner (or some babu in nearby office in another story-line) with meat wrapped in parantha and to avoid gravy tripping, wrapped in wax paper. And, history was created- Roll. In around 1932, the gravy wala meat was substituted with meat cooked in iron skewers- and hence came the name “Kathi roll”. But, due to sheer weight and handling problems of iron skewers, bamboo skewers were introduced in around 1960 and the tradition is still going on today. Beef was served in earlier days, but its an absolutely non-beef joint today.
The restaurant is situated at the backside of New Market and KMC Building. You can find the location for Nizam’s on Google Map here .
Thankfully, the meat (or kebabs) are still prepared o a flat charcoal bed and not tawa fried , as in most of the places and that gives it a special smoky taste. The parota is light and flaky. One word of caution ….. with the rising cost, the amount of filling has gone down (that’s the bad part) but they don’t over-fill it up with unnecessary onions and capsicum (that’s the good part). Try not to order a single roll and with maybe a couple of special mutton rolls paired with soft drinks, you’ll end up with a hearty meal.
Now, everybody is prone to mistakes and it was the same with me. Going by the menu card, I’ve ordered once for their Mutton sheekh kebab and something called Tum tum biryani. And, still after some 3-4 months, I am repenting the same. Some superb skill set has been used to make the kebab one of the most dry sheekh kebab I’ve ever tasted. And, on the biryani, I am at a loss of words. I don’t know, maybe the cook got beaten by his own wife on that day or what, but please check and decide yourself on the thing. Final verdict ? Avoid like plague. The good thing, Kulfi there is pretty decent and is recommended after this sad affair.
Go to Nizam’s for some good, light smoky Kathi roll and I’d suggest to visit the next shop for some surprise.
U P Bihar Restaurant
This is an old joint operating for last maybe some 70+ years and a steady favorite of many. And, before entering, be aware (or happy) … because it serves some excellent bovine stuff.
Like your old spouse gets a new makeover once a while, a complete interior renovation has been done recently and it’s not that old, shabby joint now. Luckily, the food and pricing is still the same and has not changed.
While you browse through the menu card, order for a portion of their khiri kebab (kebabs made from cow’s udder or mammary glad and is a bit chewy in nature) and beef sheekh kebab for moral support. In around 5 min and even before the glass of water reaches your table, they’ll be served – piping hot and straight from the sheekh. Squeeze the lemon on them and thank the cook for sauteing them with just the right amount of onion, capsicum and green chilly. Now, while you put a spoonful inside mouth, start checking the menu card.
Are you still confused on what to order ? Good, go for their beef roll and you can thank me later. The parantha is quite thick and soft and complements the crunchy kebab. Take a bite of the green chilly served along with and again start browsing the menu card.
If you’re still hungry, go for their beef biryani. It may not have the finesse of Zam Zam, but not bad on any given day.
Okay, so these are the two joints serving Kolkata Kathi Roll in central Kolkata around New Market area, which are my personal favorites. If you know anything else, in that zoe, I’d be happy to accompany you.
Meanwhile we had made a Video Blog on Kolkata rolls in our Foodka Webseries. You can check the same here.
Bon apetit !!!
Comments and critics welcome …
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