I have a certain soft corner for Dhakai cuisine; don’t know why, maybe because my roots belong to that place. My grandfather migrated from Bangladesh during the partition, leaving everything behind and came to settle in Calcutta amidst all the cacophony and turmoil of that period. A lot has changed since then. But for me, two things won’t ever change – the immense respect for my grandparents for the struggle which they had to face for survival and yes, of course my love for Dhakai cuisine and food which originates in Bangladesh. But in my city, there are very few places who serve Dhakai cuisine and actually out of those only a couple pleases my taste buds. But if I talk about that one restaurant which serves the best and most authentic Bangladeshi food then it has to be The Bhoj Company, not an iota of doubt about that.
It was first opened up in the Free School street area and then it had recently opened up another branch in the Dalhousie office para. Today we will primarily discuss about their first branch in the city which happens to be small yet an elegant outlet, pretty tactfully built and frequented by the Bangladeshis, Europeans staying up in the Sudder Street area and the loyal local patrons. This 40-seater restaurant is located at the 30A Mirza Ghalib Street (opposite the free School street fire brigade) and its location is perfectly marked on Google maps.
The name board is large enough to spot this place in that super busy alley and it is written both in English and Bengali for convenience. I really loved the simple yet classy décor of this place. It is done up primarily in grey leather, glass and cane. The place has sufficient lighting and exudes warmth and posh. Kalighat patachitra screens are used in places and the intricate wall arts are neatly framed. Cane platters (kulos used to separate rice from the husk), and terracotta figurines decorate the walls and the furniture are pretty humble yet comfortable to enjoy a sumptuous meal with your loved ones. More importantly, the place is super affordable and won’t burn a hole in your pocket for these authentic and delicious Dhakai dishes.
The fare is typically Bangal with some touches of epar Bangla as well, like rice, dal, bhajas, bhartas, batas, khichuri, polao along with loads of vegetarian and non-vegetarian side dishes, chutney, sweets, misti doi and lots more! So, let us quickly check out the best food items of this place which we, of course, tried during our last visit. These are the items which you should not miss and you can safely order from this list mentioned below (as per your preference) and have an awesome experience.
To start with, you can order Aam Panna or Fresh Lime Soda. We opted for the latter and it was nicely made with the right balance of sweetness in the sweet fresh lime soda. You can start off your meal with some Fish Fry that comes along with French fries and kasundi. The fish fry is really good here and has flaky fresh Bhetki in there.
You can have some Shona Moong Dal and Aloo Posto after that which we tried at Bhoj Company’s Dalhousie outlet and they were so good! Follow that up with Kachki macher chochchori, Lau chingri and Kochu Pata Chingri Bhapa.
The Kochupara Chingri Bhapa was fabulous and extremely flavorful, I know other places serving this dish in the city and I can take the responsibility and go on to declare that The Bhoj Company serves the best version of this dish and it’s a must-try item if you are here. Then I tried and really liked the Pabda Jhal prepared with dhone pata or coriander leaves, and very few places in the city can prepare this dish so well. You can follow this up with the Chitol Mach-er Kalia where the fish is super big and super fresh, the gravy is pretty thick and tad spicy but very flavorful which is topped with some dried red chillies.
Next, I tried one of the best dishes of the evening and it was Chitol Macher Muithya. These are the fish balls prepared by scraping the fish meat and pressing them to form tight boneless fish meatballs. They are then tossed in spicy, rich, super flavorful gravy. I savoured it with some steamed rice and it was heavenly! The Aar mach-er aloo begun bori diye jhol was not at all rich. Actually, it is perfect to be consumed on a daily basis with steamed rice.
The Shorshe Ilish was also nice and fresh as well with a hint of red chilli powder that is typical of this place. Surely do try it, the fish is always extremely fresh. The Bhetki Paturi was again amazing with that super fresh, flaky thick piece of Bhetki fish. The fresh mustard paste dressing was super strong and somewhat brought happy tears to my eyes 🙂
The Chingri Malaikari was as expected super awesome with those jumbo pieces of tiger prawns and rich flavorful golden-orangish gravy, savour it with some steamed rice and attain that ultimate gastronomical nirvana!
The Dhakai morog pulao is one of their signature dishes that has a bowl of mildly tossed flavorful ghee rice which is tad sweet and smeared with fried onions on top; the dish is accompanied by Chicken rezala which is again pretty flavorful with thick rich gravy.
The Bhuna Khichuri is another dish which you won’t get in too many eateries in the city, it is a typical Dhakai dish. You will also get Bhuna khichuri with mutton. It’s yellow in colour and very dry in texture where you can separate out each rice or dal grain, not like that typical gooey khichuri we make at our home. This one has a subtle flavour and has cashew nuts, ilaichi, green chillies in there.
Wrap things up with a small bhar or clay cup of Mishti Doi, well that tasted absolutely heavenly, trust me! The sweet curd was super smooth in texture and had that perfect aroma and taste which every Bengali looks for in a mishti doi! The stuff was so good, we asked for a second helping!
The service and hospitality are also unmatched and really prompt. The owner, Mr. Kingshuk is very amiable, warm, friendly and passionate about this place and the food. Well, this meal was super sumptuous, to say the least. Seriously speaking, from now on if I am ever near Park Street area and feeling like having Bengali food I will straightaway come down to this culinary heaven! For this place, words are not enough and adjectives fall short when I try to describe their food and their brilliant taste. I know I generally don’t do this, but keeping the factors like quality, quantity, price and service in mind I will rate this place a perfect 5 out of 5. My avid readers very well know I don’t generally give full marks to places, but I couldn’t help when it came to The Bhoj Company! So, while you are still reading this, the inviting plate of Shorshe Ilish or Kochupata Chingri Bhapa is waiting for your tummy, please don’t disappoint them!
P.S. Foodiedada was at this place on management invitation. Thanks Jude and Calcutta Food Scenes for this amazing event!