Three iconic Kolkata restaurants get heritage tags
- Kolkata's first three restaurants to receive the honour have been in operation for over 60 years, and their menus have remained more or less unchanged, with a few additions over the years
Three iconic Kolkata restaurants — Mocambo, Kwality, and Trincas —are set to receive the prestigious Indian Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage’s (Intach) heritage tag this Sunday. These popular Park Street eateries will have a heritage plaque by their entrances letting patrons and passers-by know that they have existed for at least six decades and are embodiments of the spirit and culture of the city.
Intach awarded them the honour in December 2019, along with 13 other Kolkata eateries, but the plaque unveiling ceremony was delayed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. “Fifteen restaurants had been given the heritage tag but due to the pandemic, the ceremony was delayed. Now that restaurants have opened, we felt it was the right time to celebrate the industry and boost morale,” GM Kapur, Intach Calcutta convenor, told reporters in early September.
The City of Joy’s (as Kolkata is historically known as) first three restaurants to receive the honour have been in operation for over 60 years, and their menus have remained more or less unchanged, with a few additions over the years. Both Kwality and Trincas changed their menus, with Trincas introducing live musical performances and a full menu in 1959 and Kwality introducing a range of north Indian delicacies to its menu a few months after starting operation in 1952. Mocambo, however, has remained unchanged, both in terms of menu and its decor.
Trincas shares a close associations with singers and performers like Usha Uthup, Biddu Appaiah, Savages, Flintstones, Checkered Tricycle—a band that had as drummer Indian rock music veteran Nondon Bagchi—Beat Four, Benny Rozario, Toto Wallang, Eve, Jenny, Linda and Flora.
On Mocambo’s menu, the word ‘H’ can be found next to some dishes, such as Devilled Crab, Chicken ala Kiev and Chicken Tetrazzini, which stands for ‘Heritage’ and signifies dishes which date back to when the restaurant opened in 1956.
These restaurants in Park Street have also been credited for introducing legions of Indians to the wonders of Jazz music through their live performances.
Park Street, the popular Kolkata destination which houses all three restaurants, has been widely portrayed in films and televisions. Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan is also known for having a soft corner for this neighbourhood and the many restaurants that line this street. “Calcutta was the epitome of the celebration during these times in the entire country. Trinca’s, Moulin Rouge, Mogambo (Mocambo), Grand Hotel, Blue Fox. Louis Banks, Pam Craine… ahhh.. such delightful days, and the nonstop partying…” the actor said in a blog post in 2019.
The other popular eateries currently in the pipeline to receive their heritage plaques includes the famous College Street sherbet outlet Paramount, and Indian Coffee House. The latter has been a den of students and intellectuals in its heyday, and continues to be ventured by writers, poets and filmmakers to this date. Allen Kitchen, Niranjan Agar, Eau Chew, Bhim Nag, KC Das, Nabin Chandra Das, Dilkush, Girish Chandra Dey, Nakur Chandra Nandy, are some of the other iconic eateries awaiting their plaques, representing an eclectic mix of everything from local Bengali delicacies to authentic Chinese delicacies to sherbets.