Durga Puja is a time when probashi (living out of the state) Bengalis eat, dress up and make merry. Many congregate at pandals for anjali, aarti (rituals) and Khichdi Bhog (prasad). In between, they pop into the stalls that dot the venues, munching on a roll, fish fry or mutton chop. It’s also an opportunity for the people who bring Bengali cuisine to the city, to offer us something more. So here are half-a-dozen must-eat stops on the way to Devi darshan.
According to Krishna Banik of Bijoli Grill, both the Powai and 7 Bungalows outlets will serve a multi-course buffet (Rs 650 + taxes) till October 24, offering specialties like Kosha Mangsho (dry mutton), Pabda Shorse (fish in mustard sauce), Potoler Kosha (dry padwal), Dhokar Dalna (steamed dal kofta curry) and Shukto (mixed vegetables). There’ll also be snacks like Mangshor Chop (mutton chop) and Paneer Fingers. And a sweet ending with Rasgulla, Gulab Jamun, and Aam Porar Shorbot (roasted green mango sherbet).
Hakone Childrens Park, Hiranandani, Powai (Ph: 65286604, 65286605)
12, Tirupati CHS, 7 Bungalows (Ph: 022 65286607)
Bhojohori Manna offers thalis with a few novelty dishes like the Alu-Phulkopi-Bhetki (fish with potatoes and cauliflower), along with regulars like the Prawn Malai Curry, Mutton Dakbangla and Potol Posto (padwal in poppy seed paste). Ashtami can be savoured with a Paneer-Peas Korma and Doi Ilish Boishaki (hilsa in curd) and Navami with Poteler Dorma and Bhetki Paturi (fish steamed in banana leaf). Dashami specials are Jhinga-Alu Posto (curry in poppy seed paste) and Bagda Chingri Bengalu Roast (lobsters), says Arun Pandit of the restaurant. Pineapple chutney, mishtis (sweets) like Raj Bhog, Langcha and paan will round the meal off. (Veg thali at Rs 450 and non-veg at Rs 600).
3 & 4, Reliable Business Centre, Oshiwara (Ph:022 65993385, +91 9223173135)
This fast food chain has four stalls at the largest pandal in Vashi and two each at Thane and Rani Mukerji’s puja in Juhu. Owner Soumitra Ghosh says they will serve chicken, mutton and vegetable rolls, with Kosha Mangsho, Fish Fry and Biryani. The special item is Mughlai Paratha and there will be Rasmalai and Pantua but no Mishti Doi. On a budget? Try the combo meals-fish-and-rice or mutton-and-rice.
Outlets at Bandra, Powai, Lokhandwala Circle, Malad, Adarsh Nagar, Kandivli, Vashi Goregaon. Stalls at Vashi, Thane pandals and Hotel Tulip Star, Juhu
This Navi Mumbai eatery prides itself on its Mutton and Chicken Biryani, Bhetki Paturi, Kosha Mangsho and Daab Chingri (prawns in coconut). “For vegetarians we have Mishti Pulao (sweet rice), Echorer Dalna (jackfruit curry), Dhokar Dalna, Cholar Dal-Luchi (channa dal and puris), Alu Dum-Kachuri,” says owner Anusuya Mukhopadhyay. At the Belapur restaurant and stall, order a la carte or choose from a vegetarian (Rs 200) or non-vegetarian (Rs 300) thali or splurge on a Special Mega Thali (Rs 600) that offers a choice of chicken/mutton, two types of fish and vegetarian delicacies like Dhokar /Echorer Dalna and Pototler Dorma (stuffed padwal).
9, Sai Sagar, Sector 15, CBD-Belapur, Navi Mumbai (Ph: 022 65149666, +91 9820837515)
Stall at Modern College grounds at Vashi Cultural Association’s Durga pandal
This year Pratap Caterers will be making the Khichdi Bhog (lunch prasad) at two Durga Puja pandals at Powai and Juhu. They have also put up a stall at Mumbai’s Tejpal Hall puja and another in Pune. Says Rajkumar of Pratap Caterers, “The Mumbai stall will only serve veggie fare like Mochar Chop (banana flower chop), Echorer Chop (jackfrut chop), Chanar Chop (paneer chop), Alu-Phulkopir Singara (alu-cauliflower samosa) and Ghugni (chickpea), with sweets like Rasgulla, Raj Bhog and Langcha.”
Stall at Tejpal Hall, Grant Road
Pet Pujo buffet
The premier Bengali eatery offers a Pet Pujo Buffet during lunch hours on Ashtami (Monday), Navami (Tuesday) and Dasami (Wednesday). And the buffet extends to dinner on Monday and Tuesday. It’s priced at Rs 725+taxes at the Tardeo restaurant and R695+taxes (lunch and dinner) at the Lokhandwala branch. Says Neena Talwalkar of Specialty Restuarant Ltd, “There will be more than 20 local delicacies, including Mochar Chop (jackfruit), Chingri Malai Curry (prawns in coconut milk), Kancha Lonkar Murgi (chicken chilli). Phoolkopi Shorshey (cauliflower in mustard sauce) and Bhaja Moonger Dal (yellow dal), along with desserts like Kheer Kodom (rasgulla coated with sandesh) and Chaler Payesh (rice pudding).”
Oh! Calcuta: Hotel Rosewood, Tulsiwadi Lane, Tardeo (Ph: 23533115)
Melbourne Society, Shastri Nagar, Lokhandwala, Andheri (Ph: 26364975)
Mughlai Paratha (Paratha layered with chicken/mutton and egg);
Chop (a popular snack stuffed with everything from jackfruit and banana flower to prawns, fish, mutton and chicken);
Bhetki Fry (the desi fish fry); n Kosha Mangho-Paratha (paratha with dry mutton);
Chanar dal-luchi (puris and dry chana dal);
Kochuri-Alu Dum (kachoris and dum alu);
Chicken/ Mutton Kabiraji (Bengali cutlet);
Jhalmuri (Bengali bhel mixed in mustard oil);
Ghugni (chick peas snack);
Phuchka (Paani Puri);
Maach-Bhaat (steamed rice with hilsa in mustard sauce or prawn malai curry)
Available at most pandal stalls in the city, with sweets, mishti doi (sweet curd) and ice-cream