You don’t have to be a home sick Bengali to enjoy 25 Parganas. This new restaurant at Sahara Star will whet your appetite; make you look up recipes and in extreme case head to the East to discover more. The ambiance pays an artistic tribute to Bengal – gramophones, Bengali books and melodious Rabindra Sangeet in the background.
Making the strongest impression is Kaekda chingri bhapa – a combination of crab meat and prawns steamed with hints of chilli, garlic and mustard.
If you love fish but find it difficult to handle the bones go for Ilish maacher paturi, a mustard spiked and deboned Hilsa which comes under a blanket of banana leaf. For the Maacher Jhol (fish curry) the restaurant lets you choose your fish – ilish, rui, pabda, chitol or bhetki. Trade off the rotis and rice for the soft and fluffy luchi, best eaten with spicy Kosha Mangsho, a slow cooked mutton curry. Chef Prasanjit Ghosh treats vegetables with the same care he expends to the fish.
Motorshuti chennar chop a cutlet with paneer and green peas just melts in the mouth.
The legendary cholar dal crackles with fresh coconut and whole spices. The sauces on the table are so tantalizing that you want to erase every trace before you let it go. Indecisive sweet tooths should go for the Nolen Gur ice-cream.
However not all dishes are stellar. The Daab Chingri presented in a coconut shell is quite unremarkable with its flavours drowned in too much sweetness. Avoid.
Service rivals food in its sumptuousness. The moment you’re seated, someone snaps a crisp linen and drapes it across your lap. They are quiet when you want them to be, animated when you desire some attention.
COST: Rs 6000 for two with alcohol
HOW TO GET THERE: Sahara Star Hotel, Western Express Highway, Santacruz East. Vile Parle. Mumbai. Tel: 022-3980 7162.
NIVEDITA JAYARAM PAWAR