The flavour of Kolkata

The flavour of Kolkata
The city is known for its old alleys. One such is shot by Atanu Pal.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Kolkata hidden gems trail- Part 1: Dhiren Cabin

The Kolkata foodscape is incomplete without its age-old cafes (or cabins, as locally known). They are the reason for Bengali’s undying love for fries and cutlets. Though many have faded into oblivion with the passage of time or are struggling to survive in the competition with modern foods and wide availability of street food, there are some who are still going strong. A few of them are widely known, like Mitra Cafe of north Kolkata and Dilkhusha Cabin of central Kolkata, while there are others who are locally popular and are as good or maybe better at least in certain items. They are the hidden gems. Through this new series, I shall share my experience in some of these places.

Tucked into a not-so-busy street in north Kolkata, Dhiren Cabin's nondescript exteriors are likely to be mistaken for just another old, struggling cafe. The road from Sovabazar crossing on CR Avenue towards Ahiritola (Sovabazar St) leads here past just past the Rabindra Sarani crossing. The  interiors are equally humble- two non-AC dining rooms with old-fashioned marble-top tables, small wooden chairs and a few cabins for couples. Don't prejudge its food by the unpretentious and sometimes careless appearance. Like other such cafes, it has a good number of patrons and they come here just for good food and no care for ambiance.  Don’t expect a menu card. The menu is put up on the wall. Take a look at it before ordering or you can always ask the waiter.

One dish that makes it stands out is chicken cutlet. It’s certainly one of the best in the city. The crunch of the bread-crumbed coat is spot on. Inside lies a well-marinated, succulent chicken breast fillet that’s yummy! It costs just Rs 55 which underscores the high value for money that this place offers. The mustard served with the food lacks punch, but the taste of the food makes up for it. When it comes to fried chicken snacks, it can give the KFCs of the world a run for money.

The other thing that I like here is the vegetable chop. It’s a large crumb-fried ball inside which there is mashed potato lining a large mass of beetroot and carrot sauteed with seasoning and a few raisins thrown in. The taste is a bit on the sweeter side which is not exactly what I prefer, but it’s otherwise very good. Actually a winter delicacy, it doesn't taste half as good in other seasons and there too, a good vegetable chop is not easily found.

It’s fish items are popular too but they haven't impressed me as they are made with basa fish. It’s not one of the fishes traditionally used in fish fry (mainly beckti) and lacks taste reasonably.

I wish to come back to it for some other dishes about which I’ve come across good words.

#KolkataHeritageCabinTrail #KolkataFood #BengaliFood #ChickenCutlet

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