Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Kolkata - Day 3

 Our third day in Kolkata started early too. I had kept this day aside for some shopping, but that will only be around mid morning to noon. Before that we had no idea what to do.
All we did was to get ready and set off.
B wanted to explore Chowringhee. So we hopped on to a taxi and sped off. Since it was not too far from our place of stay, got there in around 10 minutes.

Walking on the streets of Kolkata early in the morning is an experience by itself. The roads are empty and there is a little quiet all around too.
Yes, even in old Kolkata.

Tea shops were setting up here and there. People were just getting out into the streets ... most were seen in groups near tea stalls. Others walked by, in no hurry. The day was just starting, after all.
I loved the morning quiet ... walking down new streets, new lanes, taking in everything along with the winter morning sun.
And prayed this trip would help me, if not fully, at least to be able to accept what life gives without getting shocked.

We walked, looking around, clicking pictures. Everywhere, there were old, dilapidated buildings that have seen much glory and better days in the past era.
Standing quietly, they looked over the streets and corners that must have seen much change.
A few buildings were being brought down and new buildings were coming up in their place. Of course, sans the old world charm or elegance.

We saw this man setting up his stall near a corner. But first things first ... breakfast.
So we walked on but just as we turned the corner there stood a little shop.

The man was making all kinds of rolls ... egg, chicken, mutton, vegetables and aloo.
I asked for an egg roll. We waited while he deftly rolled out parathas and flipped them on to the tawa.
Inside the shop, it was dark. We could make out around 6 tables with three chairs each. And every single table was full.
An old man was collecting the parathas , plied them with masala with a fast hand, dunked ketchup, rolled them up and served. It took almost 15 minutes before I got my egg roll. By then there was a long line waiting.
Here is my egg roll. Check out the flaky paratha ... it was slightly sweet to taste and the egg inside was soft and fluffy. The ketchup had some spice ... so all in all ... it was a perfect egg roll.
Munching on it, we walked up to a tea stall just near the corner. The man was busy arranging his stall but we spied a huge saucepan, on a traditional chulha / unoon, with tea bubbling away.

B asked for one of the bakery biscuits and we stood there on the side of the road, under a closed window of a huge house that had seen better days, sipped on the hot tea and chatted.
I watched B drinking the chaa from the bhnaar or the earthen pot and warmed at the way this North Indian was taking in Bengal and its little doses of culture, just for this nostalgic Bengali.
What a beautiful morning it had turned out to be.

After our little breakfast, we went straight to Dakshinapan, Gariahat, for shopping. I picked up some saris. And before we could realise, it was way past noon.
And as pre decided, we headed for 37/1, Purnadas road, Sudipar Rannaghor, praying that we make it before lunch time is over.
I had heard a lot about this place recently and had added to my 'to do' list for Kolkata.

We were not too late and got a table almost immediately. Rather, we got the only empty table. Surprisingly, inspite of being only the two of us, we were given a table for six and not asked to wait for a smaller table. This warmed us to this place immediately, especially since there were people still walking in.
The place was packed yet it does not feel congested.
The air conditioning was good and the manager and the servers were very polite and helpful.

Another thing that struck us was that the food did not take too long to arrive.
Vegetarian B went for Koraishutir kochuri, paneer, aloo bhaja and begun bhaja. I asked for prawn malaikari and mishti bhaat. The bhajas, B shared with me.
The potions were generous and the products were fresh. Even the brinjals' sweetness was evident.
B had a Gondhoraj lebur ghol.
That is my plate ... initially.
I ordered a Topse fry too,later.
Wanted to fill in everything in one visit.
I hope I will be able to visit again some day to try out their other preparations.
After stuffing ourselves to the gills, we stepped out into the late afternoon sun. It would be evening soon ... reminding us again that we were in the east.
We walked through Gariahat, looking at shops, running away faster from insisting shopkeepers who would actually follow us for some good number of steps, trying to sell their wares.
Spied a phuchkawala with a huge crowd around him, a mark that his phuchka is good. I wanted to try ... but was too stuffed.

By early evening, we were ready to drop. So got hold of an Ola and reached Park street. It was too early to go back to the hotel, so walked for some more time. But lugging all the shopping bags and walking was getting a little too much.
On reaching Flury's, we decided to go in.
Both, to rest and get something cold to sip on and to prove our earlier experience wrong.

This time we were lucky. Their pastry section was open and the air conditioning was working too.
There were a lot of empty tables and thankfully nobody bothered with where we were sitting.
We could see the beautifully dressed up Park street from the windows.

B got muffin, a tart and a pineapple pastry.
Sadly, we couldn't go beyond a bite for each of them. The tart was brittle. The muffin was dry too.
And had too much of fat ... could feel the fat in the palate. Surprisingly, the pastry was dry and brittle too ... fell into loose crumbs instead of that thick cream layer holding it and had no moistness at all.
Pune and its perfect bakes have spoiled us.

Loyal fans of Flury's might not like this ... but I will say Flury's is a little over hyped.
I liken it to people visitng Marz o Rin of Pune ... just for nostalgia.

Anyway ... we decided to call it a day and returned to the hotel.

But half way down Park street, the thought of dinner struck us. Looked around and decided to try an old place on Park street ... Chinese Flavours.
The food was good and the place was packed at 9 in the evening.
Just wished they had a better lighting.

When we stepped out, it was very late. All that was left to do was to return to our room, freshen up and give ourselves up to the luxury of deep sleep.



Kolkata Day 1

Kolkata Day 2 


2 comments:

  1. শর্মিলা, তোমার কলকাতাভ্রমণের প্রতিটি পর্ব পড়ি, আর কত ভালো লাগছে সে কথা জানাব ভাবি, কিন্তু গড়িমসি করে আর হয় না। কিন্তু এই পর্বে তুমি যে ওই ভাঁড়ের চা আর বয়ামের বিস্কুটের ছবিটা ছাপালে, তাতে আর থাকা গেল না। খুব ভালো ঘুরেছ, বুঝতে পারছি। পরের বার কলকাতা গেলে বাড়ির লোকজনদের সঙ্গে সুদীপার রান্নাঘর-এ যাবই যাব।

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jani Kuntala ... shob shomoye comment deya hoye othe na. Tumi je pore khushi hoyecho ar tomar bhalo legeche eyi jothestho. Ami aar ager moton kore likhte parina aajkal ... hopefully with time ar ektu bhalo kore guchiye likhte parbo.
      Shotti purono Kolkata r oli goli gulo eto shundor, notun er dik ta te jete e icche korena.

      Delete

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