Work takes me to Kolkata these days. A city whose love for food is second to none. Imagine my delight when I find kindred souls in colleagues here when the day starts with first figuring out the lunch venue and menu before we start discussing work details.
The last time I visited the city I had no time and yet they magically figured out enough time for me to have a Arsalan lunch while also managing all meetings and commitments.
This visit was even better with me landing and straightaway heading to Mocambo in central Calcutta for an evening meet with the team. Once Ritesh da is around one doesn't think about what to order...he orders beautifully and each dish is a delight.
So a Prawn cocktail followed by a Devilled crab came in and were devoured with gusto. The devilled crab was devilishly good. The cocktail wasn't bad but paled in front of the crab.
Next on was a Prawn Thermidor which left me speechless and I had a few bites of the Bhetki belle helen from a colleague's plate it was an interesting combination of continental and chinese. All in all a very satisfying evening with great food and good company.
The next day was home food day for me which meant a chingari malai curry (prawn in coconut milk gravy) mochar ghanto (banana flower cooked with bits of coconut) wait there was more: hilsa in mustard sauce and raw banana koftas in a yummy gravy. My mami goes all out whenever I hit town and this time was no less.
Third day in the city started early with meetings lined up one after the other...what kept up going was the fact that Vivek was going to take us for a beef biryani. He explained we are going to a small non fancy place and my reply was as long as the food is awesome I can stand and eat.
We landed up at Zamzam which is at the back of Frank Anthony School at Entally.
I reached about ten minutes before everybody else, stopped outside the eatery and then had to shift away for the food smells were driving me crazy. I went back to stand at the entry to the street. eventually the team turned up and we headed in.
Small, clean place with quick service. The food came almost instantly...we dug in with hands like good bangalis. my plate was moving a bit and the waiter recognized my discomfort and quickly inserted a small piece of newspaper...the sort of eye for detail he had I think he deserves to work for a much bigger place but then again he might not want to stay away from Zamzam food.
So let me tell you about the food.
We ate the world's best beef biryani with a salad on the side...like all Kolkata biryani it had a beautiful piece of potato in it. The flavours were so subtle and aromatic, each rice grain standing out and demanding attention, the piece of meat which was amazingly tender was actually not even needed. It seemed an intruder in the perfect jugalbandi of the rice and potato.
We had some gravy items on the side but pardon me for not talking about them cause I really wasn't able to pay any attention to them so enthralled was I with the biryani.