Kolkata, Sep 19 From traditional local delicacies like fresh river prawns cooked in coconut cream and hilsa in pineapple gravy to international dishes such as Caribbean chicken steak or fish in hoisin sauce, city eateries are gearing up to woo revellers during Bengal's biggest carnival, the Durga Puja.
The metropolis' fine dining hubs have spiced up their menus with buffets, mostly including lavish platters -- both traditional and continental -- ahead of the festival, set to be celebrated between September 26 and 30.
The Taj Bengal, a landmark hotel in the heart of south Kolkata, will keep its doors open round-the-clock during the Puja days, exhibiting mouth-watering spreads for brunch, lunch and dinner.
The Sonargaon outlet will have on its menu narkel diye cholar dal (Bengal gram tempered with cumin, coconut shavings and ginger), Sonargaon chingri malai curry (fresh river prawns cooked in coconut cream), sorse bata illish (river hilsa cooked in mustard sauce), and pabnar murgi (chicken morsels cooked in onion-based gravy with a hint of radhuni seeds).
While the chingri and hilsa thali will cost Rs 2,900 per head, non-vegetarian gourmands will have to shell out Rs 2,500 for a sumptuous meal at the eatery. For vegetarians, the price will come down to Rs 2,200.
For those who want to try something that is not cooked at home on a regular basis, The Hub, the hotel's multi-cuisine restaurant, offers a range of continental and Indian dishes like murgh badami shorba, Kabuli pulao, phulkopir paturi, mozzarella melt, prawn and mascarpone pie.
For dessert, foodies can spoil themselves with gajjar halwa sita bhog and dry fruit milk cake. The buffet will have unlimited cocktails and mocktails all tucked into a price tag of Rs 2,450.
At Novotel Kolkata Hotels and Residences, in the heart of Kolkata's IT hub in Rajarhat, the breakfast assortment during the Puja days includes bhog khichudi, heeng kachori, aloor dum and jalebi.
The pocket pinch here would be within Rs 1,300 -- with breakfast priced at Rs 900, lunch at Rs 999 and dinner for Rs 1,299.
For a filling lunch on Ashtami (September 28) afternoon, look no further than the hotel's Studio restaurant, the pan-Asian galerie serving sorshe illish, illish paturi, chingri malai curry, kosha mangsho, narkel bata chingri, mangsher kofta pulao, pui sager chorchori, channar kalia and toker dal among many mouth-watering dishes.
"Traditional delicacies will be the focus. Somehow we have seen during the Durga Puja days just everyone wants to eat Bengali food," Neelabh Sahay, Executive Chef of Novotel, told IANS.
People eager for a different flavour can try the Afra Tafri on Camac street, a posh and bustling south Kolkata locality.
From pan-fried fish with chilli basil sauce to Caribbean chicken steak, fish in hoisin sauce, and cottage cheese garlic, this gastropub will also be easy on the pocket. The buffet price is kept at Rs 699, inclusive of all taxes.
"Keeping in mind the various ways of satisfying the food lover's taste buds, we introduced the contemporary festive buffet which will be available at Afra Tafri on the festive days of Durga Puja," Chef Mohammad Feroz Hussain said.
Before you burp, for those who have a sweet tooth, Park Plaza in South Kolkata's Ballygunge will offer chhana toast from Krishnagar in Nadia district and langcha from Tarapith, a small temple town near Rampurhat in Birbhum district.
"We want our customers to get the original flavour. That's why we will bring the sweets from where they belong," Chef Gautam Kumar told IANS.
There will also be "chat contests" for those who will avail the buffet priced at Rs 999 for lunch and Rs 1,199 for dinner.
Back on Camac Street, the gastropub Monkey Bar has lined up a specially curated "thaala meal" of home-style Bengali delicacies specially curated by Kolkata-based home chef, food critic and passionate foodie Iti Misra. The offerings come in three variants -- vegetarian, fish and chicken -- at a price range of Rs 999 to Rs 1,299.