Tiger Tiger burning bright; In the Cafe in broad day light !! am sure William Blake will pardon me for this distortion if he ever had the opportunity to walk into Royal Bengal Tiger Cafe.
On a fleeting visit to Kolkata, my friend Nilanjana suggested this new Cafe where we could have Kolkata authentic street food in a hip and sanitized environment and of course indirectly contribute to the conservation of the stripeys. On a misty December morning, we sauntered in at 10.30am and seated ourselves outside in a glass enclosure along the street in Parisian Style. The rustic seating made from palette wood was in line with the theme. They do have a better arrangement indoors with some polished rubber wood furniture and lots of paintings and photographs on the wall of the big cat by renowned artistes.
Though largely Bengali, the breakfast segment caters to the intrinsic cosmopolitan fabric of Kolkata comprising of Marwari, Gujarati, Bihari, Anglo Indian and Chinese tastes. Named after the areas like the Tiretti Bazar platter was essentially dim sums and fish balls in sauce. Like most cafes, they have a whole range starting from sandwiches, parathas, chops, pan cakes and everything you can think of. The desert section had the true blue bengali favourites like malpua, rabri, pantua, pati shapta rub shoulders with the cakes, tarts and muffins.
We ordered the Egg Devil, Ghugni and the Mughlai Paratha which are quintessentially Bengali Delicacies and the Big Cat did smile in affirmation.
The Egg Devils (Fish and Mutton) were delectable, the egg carefully coated with fish and mutton fillings, fried and spiced right. It instantly hit the right chord with me and I thanked Nilanjana profusely for taking me there. I have not had the Egg Devil in a while and the wait after all these years was worth the wait. The name owes its ancestry to Europe where the word “devil” described heavily spiced deep fried items.
Ghugni is a delicacy in Bengal made from dried white or yellow peas. The mutton ghugni that we ordered was cooked with small pieces of mutton along with the peas. It was served with a green chilly, some masala powder and chutney. One spoonful of it and I was reminded of my early days when the left over gravy from the mutton curry used to be promptly cooked with boiled peas and made into ghugni. Everything was perfect except for the spice, I would have loved a little more jhaal into it to spice up my tongue.
The Mutton Mughlai Paratha was a meal by itself, carefully cut into 4 pieces and served with some mashed Potato Curry. The crust was fried right and melted in the mouth and the Mutton filling was pretty adequate. I would like it a bit spiced up but nevertheless it was cooked to perfection. The filling is stuffed in an envelope made from flour and then shallow fried and finally cut into pieces before serving. This dish surely sneaked out of the Mughal kitchen and then spilled into streets of Bengal and the foodie Bengali just grabbed it with both arms 🙂
Located at 91, Golf Club Road, Rajendra Prasad Colony, Tollygunge, Kolkata, West Bengal 700033. It is near Tolly Club and Tollygunj Metro Station.