The flavour of Kolkata

The flavour of Kolkata
The bridge, the river and kids' play. Brilliantly captured by Sujay Kumar Das.

Friday, December 02, 2011

The toast at Chittababu's Shop

My recent visits to this favourite place after a long gap and savouring their toasts brought me to this post.

There are toasts available in the city (at numerous street shops and small joints) and then there are toasts made at Chittababu’s Shop! I sincerely believe few make toasts as good as Chittababu’s Shop. Crisp and brown at places, with a thin streak of just absorbed butter in the middle and a dash of salt ‘n’ pepper sprinkled over. Umm….pure bliss! This non-descript yet legendary shop at Dacres Lane (at Esplanade East, a few minutes walk from Dharmalata / Esplanade metro station) is the eternal favourite of the large population of local officegoers.

Apart from toasts, the ghughni made at this place is extremely popular and markedly different from the regular stuff you get outside home. The ghughni is darker, thicker and taken with two toasts can make you feel full. The package comes at Rs 14. If you take plain toasts (without butter), that’s preferred by many, it will cost Rs 12. A great alternative to ghughni (with toasts) is the liver curry – small pieces of chicken liver in a mildly spicy vegetable curry can make for a memorable evening snack.

Their tea also stands out and needless to say is preferred by many to pair with toast or round off their evening snacking.

The shop is also famous for its fish fry and stew. There are many other pop picks like fish roll, fish pakora and fish chop. They have also been serving chilli chicken and maybe one or two odd Chinese dishes for some years but that cuisine is definitely not their forte and doesn’t reflect their culinary expertise. I also used to love their chicken pakora. A small pakora with juicy chicken inside, a wee bit sweeter than regular chicken pakoras (because of the filling) would make it outstanding. They would come at just Rs 7 apiece. But on my last visit observed that the pakora has become smaller and the taste wasn’t as good. Is rapidly rising prices the culprit? Would have loved if they priced it at Rs 10 and made it a bit larger, while not compromising on the taste. Was the double-digit price a difficult decision to make? I wonder.

(You may also read my old post Chittababu's Shop).