Saturday, 12 April 2014

Poila Baisakh celebrations at The Gateway Hotel, Kolkata

Poila Boishakh/Baisakh celebrations are on full swing all over Kolkata with the Bengali new year just round the corner which is celebrated on 15th April. As a non-Bengali it is the best time of the year for some sinful and scrumptious gourmet indulgence for me. 
The Gateway Hotel cordially invited Kolkata Food Bloggers to join in their celebrations of Poila Boishakh with Gourmet chef Shawkat Osman who specializes in Bangladeshi cuisine (or how people here would refer as Opar Bangla cuisine).
The timeless battle of the 'Bangals' and the 'Ghotis' have always intrigued me but I have seldom made any effort to understand it. Why waste time in understanding people of the same origin rival each other in everything. The event was however an eye opener for me to understand the Bangal (Bangladeshi/East Bengal cuisine) which has quite some basic differences to the Ghoti (West Bengal) cuisine.
Clad in a cotton Kurta with a very simple appearance and open bushy hair, Chef Shawkat Osman comes across as an extremely friendly, amiable and artistic person. Chef took us through an amazing gastronomic journey through his delicious food that my palate will remember for a very long time. He very patiently answered all our amateur questions and helped us understand the vividness of Bangladeshi cuisine.  

We were served a glass of refreshing 'Daab Komola'r Shorbot' which had a concoction of Daab (tender coconut water), fresh orange juice (called Komola lebu in bengali), banana and the juice of a special lime called Kagji lime. The mixture was quite unique for me and I loved the taste of it. I also personally loved the quirky coaster it was served on which had a picture of the hand pulled rickshaw.

The starters on our plate which very sweetly is mentioned as 'Shuro Kori' which means 'Lets start' on the menu card was 'Chingrir Chop' (Prawn dumpling), 'Phool ar Gime Pata Bora' (Pumpkin flower and local leafy vegetable fritters). 
The pumpkin flower fritter was my favourite while the Gime Pata fritter was unique as it was made from a leafy vegetable found commonly in Bangladesh. It had a very powerful bitter taste to it and thus a little unusual to my palate as we seldom have bitter element in our food. 

What followed next was an array of delicious and mouth watering dishes as part of our main course referred to as 'Opar Bangla Theke' on their menu card which means from the other side of Bengal. The first one served was 'Bhuna Khichudi' which was made of different variety of rice called the chini gura rice. The chef informs us that it is usually part of their breakfast and the cooking process is similar to making a pulao. It is usually devoured with Dimer Korma (Egg curry) or Mutton Patties. 
The humble and simple khichdi was a treat to our taste buds with the crispy fried onions and the lovely aroma of pure ghee. 

'Morog Pulag' which is basically rice with chicken was another scrumptious addition to our plates. The Chef informed us that in Bangladesh they breed special chicken for it and traditionally the meat used is of a cock. 

Mutton Tehri is a very popular dish in Bangladesh and is part of their fast food culture where the meat used in the rice is of small chunks. The Chef tells us that it is found everywhere in Bangladesh and is loved esp by the young crowd.
For its delicious taste, I can completely understand and agree with its popularity.

We had the privilege to taste the Chef's original 'Osman er saak dal' which is his creation of a dal with red spinach which was equally mind blowing. 

One of my favourite dishes of the day was the 'Doi Enchor' which is raw jack fruit cooked with yogurt. 
I personally loved the flavours of this delicacy.

'Ayrer Jhal Kalia' was a preparation of Catfish with onion garlic paste. We were informed that in Bangladesh people love to use fresh onion, red chilli and turmeric paste in their food which is made in a traditional 'Sil Bata'.

'Sorshe Mangsho' was another delicacy and different dish for me which had mutton cooked in mustard. I have heard of fish being cooked in mustard paste which is quite common but mutton laced with mustard was a totally new flavour for me.

Another winner dish of the day for me (amongst almost all) was the 'Murgir Roast' (Bangladeshi style Roast chicken) The succulent chicken was laced with very fine slices of almonds and had amazing flavours.
I wish I had more space in my stuffed stomach to devour this dish a little more. 

Finally the scrumptious, mouth-watering and delicious spread was over with the dessert of the day which was 'Gokul Pitha' (sweetened coconut patty) and 'Patisapta' (thin rice flour pancakes stuffed with coconut filling)
I have to admit here my dislike towards the use of coconut in sweets which made me wonder how to taste the dessert as both of them had coconut. I personally loved the Gokul Pithe as the coconut flavour was subdued. The famous Patisapta had beautiful thin rice flour pancake layers but a little too strong in its coconut flavour for my liking.

Please note that the above is not a fixed menu but part of the offering for the particular day. There are many more delicacies on the extensive menu.     

Do not miss this amazing gourmet experience at The Gateway where it is on for 
Buffet : Priced at INR 1250+taxes
Saturday 12th April - Dinner
Sunday 13th April - Lunch and Dinner
Monday 14th April - Dinner
Tuesday 15 th April - Lunch and Dinner

Thali :Available for lunch and dinner from Saturday 12th April-Tuesday 15th April, 2014
Niramish Thali (Vegetarian) - INR 1000+taxes
Amish Thali (Non vegetarian) - INR 1100+taxes

Timings : 12:30 pm-3:00pm and 7:30 pm-10:30 pm

For reservations call : 033-66653133 


Disclaimer: The views and opinions shared here are my own and have not been compensated monetarily or otherwise. 


  1. WOW!!! everything looks delicious :)

  2. This blog has a rich post and quite good for those who want to get idea for Best Hotel in Kolkata . Nice blog and thanks for sharing it..



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