This is the fourth Grand Pujor Mahabhoj that we attended. I remember the first one that I attended in 2016 was at Gharana, as the all day dining Threesixtythree was under renovation then. I have almost no memories for the 2017 one and that only confirms I am getting old, nothing else. I remember the last one in 2018 distinctly because by that time, Exec chef Sourabh had shifted to Trident Mumbai and Chef Rajat Jyoti Mukherjee was in charge of feeding us.
One of the main problems of making an impressive debut is that you have to surpass yourself the next time. One of the limitations of a Durga Puja food festival is most of the times people expect the usual suspects to show up on the plate. The usual suspects will be a long list, so I won’t t go there. There were Kosha Mangsho, Prawn Malai curry, tomato chutney and few more expected ones. However, what stood out were a few new masterstrokes from Chef Rajat’s repertoire.
Grand Pujor Mahabhoj 2019 some new delicacies and some took us down memory lane
Remember the tentul er chutney we used to get outside our schools? The old lone vendor, year after year, used to sell this Imli/ Tamarind chutney with some rock salt sprinkled over it ? I had it after ages. There was chingri makha, a known, familiar dish, mashed Star fruit, daal bharta and ol bhorta too. Two dishes clearly needed a special mention. One was mocha Pora – stalk of the banana flower slightly roasted and ground in a mortar and pestle. Rajat confirmed that ideally this should be done in a sil batta. He added copious amounts of mustard oil and chopped tomatoes and onions . Some are known and some are new but an assimilation of all these bhates ( mashed dishes) on one table with vegetarian dominance, was a new experience. There was a crispy prawn cutlet too, which was small in size yet absolutely lovable. Loved the way chapor ghonto was offered, which was very different from what I have been fed by my wife.
The mains at Grand Pujor Mahabhoj 2019
Chanar Paturi is a usual suspect but the balance of dish was incredible, especially the pungency of the mustard paste which brought tears to my eyes. ilish macher paturi is no great shakes but ilish macher dimer (Hilsa fish roe ) paturi is another story. The hilsa roe paturi came with a shiny glaze on the top which was the fish roe paste as a coating. We made Chitol macher Muithya few days, Rajat made chanar muithya. That was followed by Potoler Dolma. In between he again presented an innovative dish of deep fried popped rice (Khoi) balls. The seasoning was made of ginger and bhaja moshla mixed with rice flour. It is a dish which many can be tricked into and the great texture that the popped rice offers is brilliant.
The call of Kheerer Singara
The cardinal sin of a grand meal is getting distracted. If the distraction is kheerer singara, balu sai, komola bhog, raj bhog, pantua it’s worth getting distracted. Mindful eating is the call of the day and we violated it. All the desserts are made in house. It was a coincidence that Kheerer Shingara was loved by many, hence we started discussing about it. I had it too. As I say, Stay Calm it’s Pujo and some indulgence is always welcome.
Necessary details about the The Grand Pujor Mahabhoj 2019
The Grand Pujor Mahabhoj is on from 5th till 7th October for lunch and dinner and 8th lunch. It’s priced at INR 2500 plus taxes and you can call up 033 2249 2323 for reservations
Important details about Grand Pujor Mahabhoj 2019
Is it the beginning of the change ? I wouldn’t say a change but acceptance and acknowledgement that Bengali vegetarian dishes are always less spoken and even undermined by Bengalis only. Simple flavours in various combinations add some texture with focus on sustainability – it all existed here and practiced heavily. Thanks Rajat for turning a new page in this Pujo feast. I love non veg but in this meal I wouldn’t mind if there wasn’t any and could go back to enjoy the vegetarian selections.
Have a great Pujo all of you