My days in Mumbai are mostly spent in Calcutta Club, an authentic Bengali food dinner located next to the Shri Ji Dosa Outlet near the Oshiwara Police Station. It is one of the eateries often hidden from the sidewalks of Oshiwara and Lokhandwala. Yes, sir, this is great Bengali non-veg food served in the traditions of Bengal. It is a place opened by the true Bengali Bhadra Lok for the average Maratha Manus serving fish, mutton, chicken, gravies, shrimps and many other such delights. The thing that makes Calcutta Club food taste great is the gravies and fish preparations. You have chingdi mans to patuli mans with Rohu fish all served in brown gravies or with garlic gravies. My favourite is the mutton kasa that has huge juicy pieces of tender mutton with a thick brown masala gravy.
The Aam Panha is what everyone starts with here. This is just to get the gastric juices flowing as one works up an appetite. The mutton kasa goes very well with Bengali luchi, which is the traditional North Indian puri. Bengal rice is a staple diet and I prefer to have my rice with thin chicken and mutton gravy dishes. These generally have large pieces of potatoes in them. The gravy is chilly but thin so you can pour it on the rice and enjoy it.
You get a feel of Calcutta as you enter the restaurant. Black and white portraits of great Bengali filmmakers like Satyajit Ray and poets like Tagore hang on the walls of the restaurant on either side. There are pictures from the film City of Joy with Patrick Swayze and Om Puri smiling away. On the other side, you have pictures of Tagore and Gandhi sitting together addressing a gathering. All this gives the restaurant a cultural and nostalgic feel. There is also Bengali music for you to savour as you dip into your mutton kasa. The air conditioning is good and there are table fans on top of each sitting area. The loo is clean but a bit small for my liking. A meal at this joint could cost you Rs 500 for one person and you will be belching by the time you leave the restaurant.
The dessert is kheer with lots of milk Bengali style and that more or less does the trick. I like the seating arrangements and the wooden benches that the restaurant uses. The staff are helpful, fun and well mannered. They can be a bit rustic at times. I would have preferred Bengali speaking waiters. Some pretty women waiters could have done the trick.
So drop into the Calcutta Club when you feel like having a true Bengali fish at Oshiwara.