Pujo maybe over but Bijoya is still on, which means there is still time for revelry and feasting. Since my trip to hometown was marred by a stomach infection and I couldn’t eat half as much as I usually do (you didn’t see any food pictures, did you?) I took the opportunity to extend the pujo feeling by indulging in a Bengali meal here in Delhi at Indus Express, the signature Indian restaurant at Vivanta Dwarka.
As the name suggests Indus Express, the restaurant is conceived as a train that travels across states and brings you the culinary gems from all over the country. While on a regular day you’d find offerings from 5 states, by the way of special festivals it brings to you food from far off lands too.
As a part of the ongoing journey, which started with Kerala and promises to go to several other states, the Express has now brought Bengali ranna to its patrons. Given that Bijoya is still on, what else could one ask for. The idea, according to chef Gautam Mehrishi, who has recently taken over as the Executive Chef , is to bring out the real flavours of Bengali kitchens. And so, the food served here is just like you would find in a Bengali home. Given that I come from one, I could see he was right.
To get an authentic Bangali experience the festival offers samplers or thaalis which is how meals are traditionally eaten in every Bengali household. The meals do however come in amish and niramish versions (veg and non veg), and you can ask for refills. The journey starts with a unique sharbat made with mishti doi and gondhoraj lebu, two icons of Bengali cuisine and nimki chaat — a fun take on nimki, or the Bengali namakpara, and goes on to much more intense flavours and textures.
My thaali — an amish or non-vegetarian version — came with Murgi Mangsho (chicken curry) made with deem (eggs), posto bada (poppy seeds) fried on a tawa, illish (Hilsa) cooked in a banana leaf, bori jhaal (lentil dumplings) and shukto (mixed vegetables). There was a mutton tikki too, and chutneys. Made with bel or wood apple, raw papaya, and tomato. A true Bengali would know what it means to have those on your plate.
Every item on the platter was made the way it would be in home kitchens without a trace of extra oil or masala. To me, in all honesty, it was like I was eating my mother in law’s food. The biriyani was flavourful and fragrant with succulent pieces of mutton, the quality of Hilsa was exceptional, and Mishti — lets just say that after langcha, komola bhog and payesh one is just too happy. As chef Gautam puts it, “so much detail, yet so much simplicity — that’s Bengali food at Indus Express.” I totally agree.
The Culinary Journey to Bengal started on 8th will go on until the 20th at Vivanta Dwarka and is open for dinner. From the number of people walking in, I can also say that I am not the only one who found comfort and joy in the food, and that you must not miss it.
A Culinary Journey to Bengal.
Date: 08th- 20th October, 2019
Time: Dinner 7:30 PM to 11:45 PM
Venue: Indus Express, Vivanta New Delhi, Dwarka
Contact Numbers : +91 – 9711 097 967 , 011 6610 3583