“If Bengali cuisine were Wimbledon, the hilsa would always play on Centre Court.” The “Ghotis” might disagree with this statement and replace hilsa with prawns but I completely agree with Samanth Subramanian. One of the major reasons why I love the monsoons is because of ‘khichuri’, ‘ilish bhaja’, ‘shorshe ilish’, ‘ilish pathuri’, ‘doi ilish’ etc etc. You get the gist. I love the fish! This time, all hotels and restaurants come up with Hilsa Festivals and one that I went to recently was the Hilsa Festival at Buzz, The Gateway Hotel.
Executive Chef Asish Kumar Roy has come up with a fabulous menu of Hilsa dishes both from East and West Bengal. You can start your meal with a serving of Ilish Pithe (Rs 650) or a boneless spicy Hilsa mixture stuffed in a pastry shell and deep fried. The Pithe is accompanied with a spicy, raw mango and mustard chutney. Those who want to stick to the basics can opt for Panch Phoron and Shukno Lanka Diye Ilish Bhaja (Rs 650) or deep fried Hilsa with Bengali five spices.
In the mains, you have quite a few options to choose from. I loved the Patay Mora Boneless Ilish Paturi (750) or Hilsa marinated with coconut and steamed in a banana leaf, Ilisher Do Pyaza (Rs 750), a typical East Bengal preparation of the fish, Doodh Ilish (Rs 750), cow and coconut milk infused steamed Hilsa with poppy seeds and white mustard, Dhani Peyajer Ilish Polao (Rs 750), Hilsa cooked in dum along with shallots and rice and lastly, my favorite, Smoked Hilsa (Rs 750), fillet of boneless Hilsa smoked with jasmine rice, honey and a dash of pommery. There is also the option to pair the Smoked Hilsa with either Fratelli Chardonnay or Nine Hills Chenin Blanc.
The Hilsa Festival menu has got a great selection of both traditional as well as dishes with a modern twist. Would definitely recommend a visit to Buzz to savour some good Ilish this season.
Venue: Buzz, The Gateway Hotel, Kolkata
Timing: Lunch-12:30-3:30 PM; Dinner – 7:30-11:30 PM
Date: 29th July onwards (For next 15 days)
Price: INR 650 Plus Taxes