East Bengal Mohun Bagan Food Festival at 6 Ballygunge Place
One fine November afternoon sees me ambling towards 6 Ballygunge Place, Salt Lake (the one near City Center I) where I am to be a part of the preview of the East Bengal Mohun Bagan Food Festival which is starting from the 13th to the 24th November at selected outlets around Kolkata. I am there for the food, and to see some of the rare memorabilia from Mohun Bagan Club exhibited with their kind permission. 

Displayed on a small table is the rare gems, and I look at them closely. From the first day cover stamp of Gostho Pal to the silver case given to him, these are proud moments of Bengali history frozen in time, and I stare at them, fascinated, thanking Mohun Bagan Club for giving me a chance to view them.

Chef Sushanto Sengupta 

A quick chat with the very elegant Chef Sushanto Sengupta resulted in some very interesting insights into the menu which boasts of a combination of traditional, modern, and fun recipes from his kitchen. As I looked at the page-long menu which featured both Bangaal and Ghoti recipes (for the uninitiated who do not know this – Bengali people are divided into two sects. The part that originally hails from what we now call Bangladesh, are Bangaal, while native West Bengal people are called Ghoti. Intermingling and marriage between them results in hybrid Bengalis like Baagh and Bati). The Chef is Bangaal, but he does not stick to the norms, and likes mixing and creating something different every time.

Kosha Mangsho (front) and Tomato Chicken (back)

I saw a few interesting dishes like Narkel diye Chingri Fry (Coconut coated fried prawns), Chingri Bata (a Bangaal classic of cooked prawns made into a rough paste), Chital Machher Peti Roast (roasted Chital fish belly), Thankuni Pata Elish Jhol (Hilsa cooked in a simple gravy with thankuni leaves), Bhetki Machher Ganga Jamuna (Bhetki cooked two ways), Posto Kodom (A Ghoti sweet), and a few other things

Golda Chingrir Malaikari
Chef Sushanto pointed me towards the few favorites on his list – he recommended the bata and bharta on the menu soundly, because for him, freshness is the key and he wanted to feature unusual dishes which are generally not on the menu, perfect for the season. He wholeheartedly recommended the begun pora, chingri bata and kumror bhorta, and after tasting them, I had to agree – they were perfect with hot steamed rice. 
Goutam Sarkar (left) and Badru Banerjee (right) with the latter’s granddaughter in the center
To celebrate the event, legendary Bengali footballers from the past from both the clubs are here… I see Badru Banerjee look around for the servers wearing Mohun Bagan jersey.With a rueful smile he says, “I feel reassured after seeing my colors on display”. Minutes later, we get to know he is allergic to prawns and would prefer sticking to meat. Goutam Sarkar speaks about the food of Bengal, finishing with the fact that it is absolutely an individual choice, which should not be dictated by anyone else. “Aap ruchi khaana” is what he finishes with.
Menu for the Day
As there are a lot of options in the menu today, I am spoilt for choices. I carefully decide to pick and choose my options… but in the end give in to the lure of the food. My first choice is to go for the steamed rice, and pick up the chingri bata, loitya machher bora, begun pora, and posto bata. The first one is perfectly made – not too smooth or chunky. The loitya bora is nice, but slightly bland for my taste buds, the begun pora is smoky and great with a chilli, and the posto bata is a smooth paste with a strong aftertaste of mustard oil which is a personal preference. 
Food on Offer

My second plate of food leaves me full – this time, its the turn of the succulent and rich kosha mangsho with the fluffy and slightly sweet kaju kishmish polao which I like but don’t love because the cashews and raisins are few and far between, the bhaja moshla aloo dum served with hot karaishutir kochuri that tastes just like the one that my grandmother makes, and the Bhetki Machher Roll, which is a thin slice of Kolkata Bhetki wrapped around a spicy fish filling, crumb coated and fried. The final item is a treat, and the freshness of the fish and the thin yet crunchy coating makes this my favorite on the menu card.

Patishapta with Nolen Gur Sauce

I end with Rasagollar Payesh, Chutney and Patishapta. I have a weakness for the Rasagollar Payesh they make at 6 Ballygunge place, and this time they do not disappoint me. Silky smooth and rich, they make a great end. But wait! I spy the patishapta, run towards it, and add a couple of them, and then pile on the dark, caramelly nolen gur sauce. Its rich, very sweet, and right up my alley. My meal ends with a big smile and a strong urge to go home and sleep.

Bhetki Fingers 

6 Ballygunge Place is going to run this festival from 13th to 24th and all the items that I tried are available in their special a-la-carte menu during this time that ranges from 95/- to 395/- INR. The two restaurants where you would be getting this menu are the Ballygunge and Salt Lake outlets.

6 Ballygunge Place (Main Outlet)
6, Ballygunge Place, Kolkata
Phone: 033-24603922

6 Ballygunge Place ( Salt Lake)
DD 31A, Sector I, Salt Lake, Kolkata
Phone: 033-23372120    

Disclaimer: Poorna Banerjee dined at 6 Ballygunge Place as a guest of the 6 Ballygunge Place group. All opinions are, however, unbiased. 

Written by Poorna Banerjee

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