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Oh! Calcutta: Mumbai's most appetizing Bengali restaurant
Local filmmaker Sanjiv Khamgaonkar visits Oh! Calcutta, 'the only good Bengali restaurant in South Mumbai,' and finds it a rather delectable experience
Every now and then I get a craving for Bengali food from Oh! Calcutta and I drop whatever I’m doing. Minutes later I find myself navigating through a narrow stretch of road to find welcoming faces as I enter a genteel Bengali culinary world. And it’s not in Kolkata, it’s right here in Tardeo, Mumbai.
And thank god for that or I’d have to depend on my Bengali friends to feed me. Considering I’ve been eating out since the time Oh! Calcutta was known as Only Fish (at Mahim), its previous avatar, you know how seldom that happens. But enough about them, I’m here for the food, as usual.
“What do I eat? … What do I eat? … What do I eat?” I think as I glance through the menu. I love their fried bhetki fish which I dip in kasundi and savour as the flavours explode. I love their jhols, curries for the uninitiated, ladled over steamed rice. I’m extremely partial to their malai chingri curry, it’s oh so yum. And the rich kosha mangsho. Ahh it’s divine with fried luchhis. And not to forget the steamed boneless hilsa, perfect for us non Bengalis who are not accustomed to the tedium of this delicious but ultra bony Bengali fish favourite.
But I’ve been there, done that.
“Let me try something new,” I say aloud to no one in particular. The manager hears me and says he’ll take care of it. He knows my tastes. As I sip on a fine mango based drink similar to aam panna, I wait, impatiently.
And then it begins arriving.
First up, whole bhetki paturi, an old and traditional recipe, fish steamed in a banana leaf in a thick-ish mustard sauce. Delicate and beautiful, the mustard kick leaves you wanting more. Before I can dig in and take another mouthful, the crab arrives. Oh what a glorious looking chap it is, meaty, filled with sweet succulent flesh, coated with a tangy tomato mustard sauce. Kakrar jhaal. What can I say? I love it. As I gobble quite un-manner-fully, another platter is placed next to me. It’s sosha illish. Hilsa fish cooked in cucumber coconut mustard paste gravy, I polish it off with rice.
“Stop! I can’t eat any more,” I say. Until the next time that is. The manager of Oh! Calcutta smiles sympathetically. He knows I'll be back.Oh! Calcutta, Hotel Rosewood, Tulsiwadi Lane, opp. Mahindra Heights, Tardeo; tel. +91 (0) 22 23539114/23533115
Editor's Note: Sanjiv Khamgaonkar blogs about food and other topics at The Writes of Passage.