After that article on Dacres Lane, (see D), you may be wondering why I am talking about food. You see, in Calcutta, one cannot NOT talk about food.
Bengalis in particular love to eat. They will spend half their savings on that perfect hills or the prawn cutlet and not blink an eye. Even while eating lunch, they will be wondering what they will eat not only for dinner, but also the evening snack.
In earlier times, most of such snacks etc were made at home. I have happy memories of my mom making evening snacks of dahi vada and nimbi and gaja and chikkis on a regular basis. As families have grown smaller and and people have been moving into unit families, the habit of home cooking has sadly dwindled. Today few brides know the intricate spices for a shukto or will know how to make that mochar chop, much less how to cut the banana flower.
Even otherwise, with the changing times, many, many eateries have spring up all over the city. Of course there are the classics like Shiraz, Royal (for the Calcutta biriyani), Badshah, Nizams, Kusum (for Kathi Rolls), Tangra, Waldorf, Mainland China, Bar-b-q (for Chinese like no Chinaman has tasted!), Mocambo (for baked crab and steaks!), Peter Cat (for Cello kabab), Golbari (for the mutton kasha), Cafe, Apanjan (for the fowl cutlet and fish fry), Zaraanj (for the Raan kabab and kali daal) Kasturi, 6, Ballygunge (for the Bengali delicacies just like grandma used to make), India Restaurant (for the Galauti kabab) etc, etc, etc, the list is endless. Now loads of newer places have mushroomed all over Calcutta. earlier a meal out meant you headed for the Park Street area but now you can get a gourmet meal practically anywhere! And food delivery services now ensure that you are constantly satiated!
I'm not even venturing into the five star hotels and the ones like Fatty Bao and (my daughters' favourite) Cafe Mezzuna!
You get the drift?
Food and the Calcutta spirit. Calcuttans and their food. Don't try to separate the two.
And each one of us have a few places we are passionate about. I am certain after reading this I shall be told about the places I have missed/not mentioned!!!