Sofitel BKC Mumbai is hosting East Bengal/Bangladeshi food festival at the 24/7 dining place Pondichery Cafe from 18th to 27th March 2016. Chef Sirajul Rahman who is a celebrity chef in his own right and has served at many presidential and prime ministerial banquets in India and abroad has been specially invited from Novotel, Kolkata to curate the delectable Bengali dishes for ‘Pet Pujo Jalsa’ Food festival.
The restaurant is serving a different menu each day for lunch and dinner with delicacies such as Macher Paturi, Kosha Mangsho, Posto Bora, Mutton Sahi Korma, Ilish Polao and sweets like Rasogalla, Misti Doi, Gurer Sandesh to name a few, during this ten-day festival.
Bangladesh shares a common culture, language and history with its neighbouring Indian state of West Bengal. This shared culture also carries over to their dishes and many recipes are shared across borders, sometimes also referred to as Bengali cuisine. Bangladeshi cuisine may not be known to many. The cuisine varies between very sweet and mild to extremely spicy. The use of spices for both meat and vegetable dishes is quite extensive and include many combinations. A popular one, which is used across households, is the combination of whole black mustard seeds and freshly ground mustard paste. Known as a land of rice and fish, the locals also enjoy eggplant, okra, legumes and lentils, all fiercely prepared using ground roots, spices and chillies.
The Sunday brunch had some rare dishes such as ‘Kachu Saag’ (Colocasia leaves cooked with potato and coconut milk), chingri bara, Bengali style biriyani (probably the best I have eaten so far. The saffron flavour and tenderness of the meat and texture of the biriyani was outstanding) and mochar ghanto (banana flower and gram lentils cooked with Bengal spices), ghee rice was mouth watering and heavenly. For desserts, we had delicious malai toast and Sankha Sandesh. What is unique about chef Sirajul’s cooking is the flirtatious style that he has adapted for an otherwise intensely flavoured cuisine such as this. Chef shared with us one of his cooking secrets. He said,”the special ghee from sunder ban area in West Bengal called Jharna ghee is what gives a unique flavour to everything that I cook.” He mostly uses the same ingredients which you may find in every Bengali household but he has mastered the art of balancing that makes each dish enjoyable for every palate.
My verdict: Don’t miss it.
Venue: Pondichéry Café, Sofitel Mumbai BKC
Date: 18th to 27th March 2016
Time: Lunch – 12:30 pm onwards and Dinner – 7:00 pm onwards
Price: Lunch and Dinner – INR 3,400 (all inclusive)