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Kolkata! Eat Your Way Through Poila Boishakh, The Bengali New Year

Bengali New Year is a gastronomic feast and here are a few options in Kolkata to eat your way and usher in Poila Boishakh.

Anindya Sundar Basu

As a child, I would often wonder and feel excited about celebrating New Year twice. The world had not opened up to me and only much later did I find out that almost every region and community in India has another new year—most of them around this time of the year. In Bengal, the day starts with touching the feet of all elders at home and blessing the younger ones. Wearing new clothes on Poila Baishakh is almost as mandatory as reaching out to relatives and wishing them. 

This is also the time when shopkeepers, especially jewellers and local grocery stores, start their new books of accounts. In the evening, people in the locality visit them and are offered sweets. This ritual is called haalkhatha, and is still pretty prevalent in the suburbs. 

The scorching heat during this time is never a deterrent to the cause of celebration—and for any Bengali that means food. Poila Baishakh is just another opportunity to go on a gastronomic extravaganza. Just a decade or two ago, it was more of a homely affair with a seven to 10-course meal cooked in almost every house. Going out to a restaurant was never an option and there weren’t many restaurants offering good Bengali food either. With the rise in eating-out culture, almost every festival has city restaurants going all out in offering the best that they have. Poila Baishakh is one such time, other than during Durga Puja, when most of the restaurants have long queues outside their doors and several five-star properties open up their ballroom for a grand buffet. Here is what the city of Kolkata has to offer on PoilaBoishakh.

1. The Tangra Project Origins x The Salt House

The biggest news of this year, and the best thing that could happen to the city after a long time, The Tangra Project from New Delhi comes to Kolkata for a pop-up and that too during Poila Baishakh. It The perfect time to showcase contemporary Kolkata cuisine to Kolkatans, celebrated chef Vikramjit Roy and his team are geared up to take the city on an epicurean journey with his memories of what Kolkata stands for. Special mentions from the tasting menu as well as a la carte menu are: Potol Guacamole Chips and Chaat, Burrata Ghughni, Chingri Paturi, Roasted Sweet Potato & Saag Pantheras, Lamb Chops Rezala, Railway Turnip Cake Curry, Roasted Artichoke Manchurian, Chaplin Haleem, and handcrafted desserts like Dodhi Korma Cheesecake and The Rose. 

Date: April 14-17, 2022 

Meal for two: INR 2,400 plus tax without alcohol & INR 3,600 plus tax with alcohol. The Chef’s tasting menu has three price ranges: INR 1,875, INR 2,250 and INR 2,975 plus taxes. For Reservations:+91/80470-92574

2. Yauatcha, Kolkata

Yauatcha celebrates Bengali New Year with a specially-created menu, where the food is enhanced with local ingredients. Taste the flavours of Bengal with dishes like Prawn and Scallop Gondhoraj Dumpling, Hot Mustard Seafood Noodle, and Seafood Wanton With Tofu in a clear broth where the tofu is shaped like a hibiscus flower—paying homage to the daily rituals of the festivals in Bengal and many more. The dessert menu has Gondhoraj Sorbet with Caramelised Puff Rice that acts as a beautiful refreshing palate cleanser.

Date: April 7-21, 2022

Meal for two: Rs 2,500 plus tax For Reservations:+91/92222-22800

3. Fairfield by Marriott Kolkata

Fairfield by Marriott is doing a traditional lunch and dinner buffet with authentic delicacies from the kitchens of Bengal. The popular dishes include Dimer Devil, Murgir Chop, Chingri Macher Chop, Basanti Pulao, Cholar Daal, and Chicken Chaap to name a few. Adding to the buffet would be an array of premium concoctions for the guests to select from. Desserts like Date and Chocolate Pudding, Baked Mihi Dana, Sita Bhog, and Lyagcha are also there to satiate your sweet cravings.

Date: April 15, 2022

Price for one: INR 1,450 plus taxes (mocktail brunch), INR 2,099 plus taxes (alcoholic brunch). For reservations: +91/76050-86818, +91/76050-86817, and +9133/6666-4444.

4. The Park Hotel

The Park Hotel ushers in the festivities with a grand buffet at their all-day dining restaurant, The Bridge. Traditional fare and a scrumptious spread is what you can expect there from plenty of vegetarian dishes like Motorshutir Polao, Aloo Posto, and more to choose from and proteins like Kancha LonkaMurgi, Kosha Mangsho, and all kinds to savour your taste buds.

Date: April 15, 2022 

Price: Lunch and dinner buffet starting at INR 1,295. For reservations: Call +91/83350-10101.

5. Club Fenicia

Celebrate this Bengali New Year with food and live band performances for both lunch and dinner buffet at Club Fenicia—the chic lounge at Salt Lake. Indulge in Bengali delicacies like Chhanar Mohima, Panch-Foron Sobji, Shorshe Bhetki, Chingri Macher Malaikari, Nabadwip Mishti Lal Doi and Kheer-er Sondesh. 

Date: April 15-16, 2022

Meal for two: INR 3,000 plus tax without alcohol and INR 5,000 plus tax with alcohol. For reservations: Call +91/79801-91955 and+91/79801-91956.

6. The Astor Kolkata

The Astor celebrates Poila Boishakh by bringing in recipes from colonial times. Savour into the delicacies and begin with shitol-er-aahar like Doi Shosha, Sabeda Makha, Dim Posto Makha and move on to Ajwani Fish Fry, Champaran Murg Kebab, Shorshe Potol Posto, Enchorer Kaliya, Maidan Tent’s Chicken Stew, Murighonto, Makha Sandesh Patishapta, and the likes. 

Date: April 14-15, 2022

Price: Starting at INR 1399 For reservations: +91 9051303633 / +91 9831525566

7. Waterside Café, Hyatt Regency Kolkata

Kolkata is all geared up for a grand feast on Poila Baishakh. This extreme heat won’t deter anyone from savouring the delicacies. The revamped Waterside Café has curated Poila Baishakh menu with traditional Bengali fare highlighting local seafood grills, bhaja counter, moghlai and roll station, and an exclusive mishti station.

Date: April 14-15, 2022 

Price: INR 2,000 plus tax for adults and INR 1,000 plus tax for kids (six to 12 years). For reservations: +9133/6292-9630 and +9133/68201159.

8. JW Marriott Kolkata

Enough with the buffets! How about a staycation? JW Marriott Kolkata offers a special rate for a one night staycation on the 15th of April with buffet breakfast at JW Kitchen, unlimited food and alcohol (IMFL brand) at the Grand Ballroom with live DJ, early check in and late checkout as well. Other than this, JW Kitchen also has a splendid buffet lunch with local delicacies. 

Date: April 15, 2022

Price: INR 7,499 onwards for staycation; buffet at JW Kitchen: INR 2,199 plus taxes, Grand Ballroom: INR 2,199 plus taxes. For reservations: +9133/6633-0000.

Photo: Shutterstock
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