There are some strange eateries in and around Kolkata. They are underrated and often difficult to locate. Like those silent saints at Himalaya, they don’t like to publicize themselves. But, it’s more like one’s own wife. You find hundreds of faults in her, but at the end, you come back to her only- such is the loyalty. And you normally, after a certain years of surviving the marriage, you hardly care about how your wife looks, because you tend rather to explore her inner beauty. But, whatever, these eateries ( and their stew) has got their extremely loyal clientle. Ever felt like having a loss of breath ? Like, you just cared a damn about the whole world, felt like lying on grass for a few hours and be busy doing nothing ? I’ve personally felt like this a lot of time and those are the times, I come back to this place. Its, literally the lungs of Kolkata.
This place, has got probably the highest number of clubs in Kolkata spread across say around 4 km radius. and not those high society clubs- I am talking about those actual sports clubs which serves as an adda place, it might or might not have an AC, if available, the booze will be cheap and so will be the food. The canteen owners will be knowing their regular customers and their preferences. Hardly, you’ll see any new walk-in, time tends to take a short nap here and this story is on one such club- the Calcutta Referee Association club, Maidan. Unlike those snobs, it’s open to all. Now, please don’t feel bad, the food and the menu is almost same everywhere- and even the price. I like this place because of it’s easy accessibility and bike parking space. This place lies just next to the Calcutta Press club and beside the Manohar Das Tarag Square, esplanade (opp to the majestic Oberoi Grand hotel).
However, as usual, I am going away from the topic. Now, let’s say, you’re standing in front of the Calcutta Referee Association club cursing me silently. The club, being the same, is looking like a dump-yard painted in stark green. And few office going gentlemen are roaming around and giving you a suspicious stare. Please don’t panic and get inside- find yourself a place on those rickety wooden benches (don’t get afraid, they’ve withheld the weight of time and won;t break down)- they’ll welcome you with a screeching sound. Please understand, they’re well ahead of their golden days and it comes from that. You might just find some dirty work-counter in front of you and the overall ambience if just ordinary. Do yourself a favor and don’t ask these guys if they accept credit cards of not, they might hit you with that spatula. The counter does have a sign-board saying they accept “PayTM”- but reality differs a lot in the real world.
They serve a lot of rubbish like rice with fish/ chicken and their best selling start item- egg curry but when was Ustad Rashid Khan famous for his “aaoge jab tum” song from “Jab we met” movie ?
Step 1:- Cut the crap and straightaway order their vegetable stew with buttered toast. Yes, don’t be greedy and order vegetable stew and not chicken stew.
Step 2:- Don’t gulp in horror when you see the amount of butter the counter boy puts into one half of the fat, thick quartered bread. Forget your doctor, forget your cholesterol and enjoy the moment.
Step 3:- Halla Bol !!!
Now, here, or rather in most of these tents, veg stew is prepared with soya chunks apart from few slices of carrots, papaya, beans and a big potato piece- not to forget the whole onion. And if the server likes you, you may even get 2 potato piece.
Step 4:- dip the bread in the stew, put in your mouth and close your eyes. Its pure carnal pleasure. Off course, you’ll ask the waiter to put some extra black peeper on top while serving …. And remember your first kiss- such is the feeling !!!
Step 5:- the spoon is old, finish the veggies with it and lift the bowl. Take it to your lips and slurp in the liquid.
Well, now that you’re over, it’s the decisive moment. While you’re thinking on whether to have the chicken stew (brain says you’re full, tummy says- what the heck ? ), ask the boy to bring you the showstopper- the chicken stew and specifically ask for the leg piece (don’t talk about drumstick- he won’t understand) and needless to say, another buttered toast.
Step 1:- forget what anyone is saying, lift the bowl and inhale the heavenly smell and from the corner of your eye, see the canteen manager giving you a supportive smile…..
Step 2:- repeat step 4 above
Step 3:- hold the leg piece firmly (like you held your woman for the first ever kiss….. ) and take the first bite. The beauty is the meat tends to come off at the first touch and put in some gravy-soaked-piece-of-buttered-toast.
Step 4:- feel the orgasm and repeat the whole process…..
The whole meal above will cost you around 90/- and with a 10/- change to the poor waiter (enjoy the disbelief on his eyes….) leave for the day, just to come back again…..
Bon apetit !!!
comments and critics welcome !!!
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Khub Bhalo. It is a very engaging post.
Thanks. Glad you liked it
Good writing skills….. The chicken stew deserves all the praise you showered on it… It really is a wonder how little we know about these little places in Calcutta, although by no means is their food less tasty than those served in the more fancy and costlier restaurants.
Ufff.. Guru tomar kono tulona nei.. Leg piece dhorar ja example ta diyecho na.. Chumu Puro.. Really it’s a pleasure to get a oppurtunity to read your blog.
Liked the way you describe every moment. Makes me wanna have a bite of that stew right about now. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find a half decent place in Delhi where they serve stew (have tried over 50 different ones).
If you ever come to know of a place in Delhi that serves authentic stew, please be so kind as to drop me a message. Would be grateful.
Surely will do. Thanks for liking this post. Do share if you feel like …
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I really loved this article. 1990 to 2000 is when I spent my life playing cricket at Kalighat club and enjoying these stews. Haven’t been back to the tents since then as I moved to Hyderabad. But now your post inspires me to do it once more ??
[…] sliced thick quartered bread is toasted on charcoal, lending its smoky aroma. Though I prefer the chicken stew at the Referee club Maidan, this is also a superior […]