Being a born Calcuttan (now Kolkatan), I have always had opportunities to feast on Bong delicacies – both made in native Bengali homes and also on streets in Kolkata. Also being an active participant in the mohalla activities when I used to live in Kolkata gave me the opportunities of enjoying some real good bong food.
After shifting to Delhi I always used to miss the authentic Bong food – specially the Chops, Payajees and Muri along with Misti Dohi and Rosgollas, that I used to savour during my afternoon walks in the City if Joy during my days in the city.
Dwarka is quite far from my home and workplace in Delhi and I had little idea that such a joint exists there – Chatpata Bong, which started as a stall on Dwarka sector 11 (street food joint) has grown into a nice cozy n amazing café in Dwarka Sector 4 market.
After my first visit to this place and the great hospitality of Mr Mihir Dutta, his wife Mrs Sonali, and also the staff at Chatpata Bong, who serve traditional Bong food – home made specially from secret recipes developed over time in their family – Dwarka is surely going to see more of me.
The café is not very big in size and just has a maximum capacity of 15-20 people. The interiors are full of the Bong culture – a collage of Bengali celebrities and culture on one wall and a silhouette of Maa Durga on the other. The fish on the roof reminds one of the fact that Fish is the main dish in Bong food.
The decor is very simple and is very brightly lit. They have an outdoor area too which goes live in the evenings. Mrs Sonali informed us that they have a special daily changing menu. Depending on this she has different preparations every day. She was thankful to her Father-in-law, master chef AB Dutta, who has 40 years of expertise in the food industry having worked in different embassies, and MNCs.
Coming to the food, we were served a sweet drink infused with lemon and some secret homemade masalas. And then started the food marathon with arrivals of Vegetable Chop and Paneer Cutlet; the chop reminded me of my Kolkata days. Beet root, carrots, potato n roasted peanuts – oh they tasted just authentic and made me emotional.
I love Bong Ghoogni and immediately ordered a serving. It looked good, but unfortunately lacked the texture and taste of a typical bong ghoogni. I talked with Mihir and Sonali and they also accepted my suggestions that it should be a little more cooked. A ghoogny essentially is a preparation of peas daal (matara as we call it in Delhi) mixed with desi cholas and slowly cooked with potatoes and tomatoes.
My friends were feasting on some non-veggie starters like the fish, mutton and chicken chops, Egg Devil chop and the expressions on their faces were telling the story.
I was still hungry after the round of starters and this was a surprise. May be it was the bong cuisine or the love with which the food was served that this was happening. So we now moved on to the main course. And for veggies we were served the Kadhai Paneer, Paneer Butter Masala, and Jhinga Aloo Masala (in Bengali Jhinga is not prawn friends, it means a vegetable, Touri (ridge gourd)). We relished all the three main course dishes with steamed rice and Roomali Roti.
Our friends enjoyed eating different types of fishes, mutton and chicken preparation with steamed rice and also Mutton Biryani and Chicken Biryani; in traditional bong style. Elish or the Hilsa fish is a Bengali’s favourite and no Bengali meal is complete without it. So how can my non-veggie friends miss it at Chatpata Bong – they had Bhappa Elish. They were also served Mutton Kausa and Chicken Kausa.
This was not all, Mr Mihir recommended and served the special Chicken Mughlai Parantha and everyone except two of us on the table went GA GA over the paranthas. Everyone was now talking to Sonali asking for the recipe.
Now was time for the Aam Chutney – made in typical bong style. Served in small glasses, it is a rejuvenating digester, made with raw mango pulp boiled with spices. It was one of the highlights of the lunch (one of the … you see there were so many highlights).
I love bong misti dohi and asked Sonali if she is also going to serve us homemade misti dohi. But was saddened when informed that they source their misti dohi from C R Park and that too was unavailable today. But we still were served Rasogulla with Mishti Dohi. The dessert tasted amazing – a typical home made bong rosgolla was amazingly paired with small quantities of misti dohi – and the feeling was just extraordinaire!!!
I guess this was it, others felt the same and started leaving. As we waited for our cabs to arrive, Mihir surprised us with a serving of Cholar Dal Narkel, and I was re-transported inside the kitchens of one of my favourite Bong aunties in Kolkata. It was just tasty and I can confidently say this was the best of the day. Its only a traditional bong lady who can turn chana dal into such a delicacy.
We still sat inside the café, and Mihir briefed us that they also serve delicious Grilled Promphet, Prawn Jhol, Crab Masala, many other varieties of paranthas and rolls. They serve so many fish varieties that most of the Delhi walhas are unaware of.
Though I didn’t like the idea of them serving a few typical north Indian and Punjabi dishes like Dal Makhani, Tikkas; but then its business and you have to please each and every customer.
They say that to really get to know one place’s cuisine is to eat at a local’s home or on streets. But friends, believe me, you don’t have to go to Kolkata to relish bong food. Chatpata Bong is the address where you can find some great mouth watering traditional bong food, and I can vouch for this.