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Restaurateur Harneet Baweja on Kolkata

Restaurateur Harneet Baweja on Kolkata

April 01
08:35 2018

Kolkata is the city I call home. An intellectual hub, it’s rich in history and culture with an incredibly diverse population.

You simply cannot visit without sampling its abundant street food. It’s hard to resist the smells emanating from the vendors — from the savoury snacks pani puri, bhel puri and jhalmuri to my favourite, momos (dumplings). For the best momos I head to Orchid, a hole in the wall on Elgin Road. Or there is The Blue Poppy in Sikkim House, where you should order the pan-fried chicken momos in a delicious hot garlic sauce.

Mocambo, on Park Street, Kolkata’s cabaret row, is a favourite of my father’s. Once a nightclub, it’s now a buzzy walk-in restaurant famed for its European-influenced Indian food, which nods to Kolkata’s past and the many Europeans that left their mark on the city. Not far from there, also on Park Street, is Olypub, the last original dive bar in Kolkata, which still retains some of its old-world charm. The prices are unbeatable and if you want to drink with the locals, this is the place to be.

In east Kolkata you will find India’s only Chinatown and the wonderful family-run Chinese restaurant Golden Joy. Full of character from its roots as an old leather tannery, the owners have transformed it into a buzzing restaurant serving the best Chinese dishes. Spend the evening there and be sure to ask about the secret karaoke room.

For something sweet, Nahoum and Sons is an old Jewish bakery in New Market , one of Kolkata’s oldest markets. Go for the brownies, tarts and macaroons but if you’re there at Christmas, its rich fruit cake is world famous and the best I’ve ever tasted.

Harneet Baweja is the founder of the Gunpowder, Madame D and Gul & Sepoy restaurants in Spitalfields, London

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