Thoughtfully discussing and deciding the next trip of the year was the most crucial part, it took me more time to decide on the place as it was not just a random trip, but a special, birthday trip. After shortlisting a lot of places I finally zeroed in on Kolkata, which, when my friends found out, elicited weird responses: Why Kolkata? It’s dirty. What is there? It’s just another city. But let me tell you, it was my best decision. It’s totally a paradise for the foodie, a one-stop destination for various cuisines, at such reasonable rates, that will make you take any diet you were on, and toss it right out the window.
This will be a series of posts covering my 6.5 day-long trip to the city of Joy: Kolkata. What you can expect is some insight into the city, a guide for when you’re planning to visit, places to see and explore, and most importantly, hog and savour.
Kolkata is such a place where you will be short on days, but not short of places to eat and chill.
The first destination we headed to just after landing was Arsalan on a Saturday afternoon (Since everyone has just said way too much about this place)
The place is packed most of the time, and during meal hours, there is always a long queue. It’s spread across two floors, with non-AC on the ground and AC (family seating) on the 1st floor. We tried the Chicken Arsalan Kebab. This is the best starter I have ever tasted – chicken pieces filled with cheese – the first few bites were total heavenly, but do try this only if you’re a group of at least 3 people, because the portions are huge. Next we tried the Mutton Biryani, as there was so much sho-sha about it. The Biryani was nice, not oily, with small, thick grains of rice, unlike the biryani I know. So for me it was just ok, but my friends just loved it. For dessert we tried the Firni, which tasted more like a rabdi, but nevertheless it was tasty and gave value for money.
After lunch we planned to meet our local friends who took us for some street food hogging, we tried the Puchka’s (Kolkata’s version of Pani Puri), BhelPuri ( The kind we get here, but more spicy and tasty and in better quantity) Aloo chat (Aloo with perfect combination of masala and spice), Shikanji ( traditional limeade or lemonade from North India), Sugar Cane juice, and let me tell you each of these were better than anything, you just need 30-40 bucks to have your stomach filled, kid you not!
After stuffing our faces with so much food, we decided to go somewhere and chill. It was Saturday evening and we heard that a lot of restaurants were quite happening, so we headed to What’s In D Name in the Camac Street area
At this recently-opened restaurant on Camac Street, getting a table easily on a Saturday night is near-impossible. The locals love eating, so while you have way too many food options, they’re all almost always full. It was a dream come true when we got in, found a table, but then were asked to shift before finally settling in (we were told that the first table, which was a little big, had a mandated minimum billing. Weird? Or a blatant money-making tactic?). We ordered a Sheesha to begin with. The Sheesha was good, and there were a few handy slates and chalk on the table, so we played charades and ordered a Veg Corn Cheese Pasta. It was good – tasty with the right amount of spice. A big minus: The staff isn’t well trained and being a new place there are chances you might be disappointed by the service. Oddly, the staff desperately wants to know when you’ll leave!
Our last destination of a full and tiring day was the 8th Day Cafe & Bakery. How can a day end without tucking into desserts 😉
This is a place where you can spend hours, play different games (they have quite a good collection), and just relax. We ordered Chocolate Cupcake, Red Velvet Cupcake and the Breakup Brownie: they were all fresh and just heavenly. Friendly staff, nice ambience and cool interiors makes it totally a must-visit place.
Overall, my first day was a perfect blend of food, food and more food.