The Kolkata Food Festival at Food Exchange, Novotel New Delhi Aerocity brings the flavours of Bengali home-style cooking — and some popular street eats — to the capital.
The Kolkata Food Festival at Food Exchange, Novotel New Delhi Aerocity, on till November 28, 2021, happened quite by chance. Neeraj Tyagi, Culinary Director, Pullman and Novotel New Delhi Aerocity, explains: “One of our Bengali colleagues, Ipsita, brought some food from home in a big tiffin for us one day. It had been cooked by her mother. It was so good it blew our mind away. And that’s how we decided to do a Bengali food festival by roping in Ipsita’s mother.”
Sucharita Bhowmik, the lady in question, trained the kitchen staff in several of her home dishes and soon the festival was ready to roll. She’s also at hand in the kitchen for the duration of the festival.
Since it’s a Bengali food festival, things are properly festive, with many elements of the Bengali wedding like the topor that the groom wears used in the décor. The person who greets you at the entrance is draped in a traditional Bengali laal paad sari. They haven’t forgotten the selfie corners either. There’s a nice Victoria Memorial backdrop for that as well as a very Instagrammable cut-out of the iconic Kolkata taxi.
Dishes at the Kolkata Food Festival include such classics as Daab Chingri, Kosha Mangsho (the version here has potatoes in the gravy as well), Lau Ghanto, Shukto, Dhokar Dalna, Machher Jhol, Alur Dom and Luchi. There’s even a Kankrar Jhol (crab curry). Everything is served in gorgeous terracotta containers, to be washed down with some refreshing Aam Pora Shorbot.
According to Chef Tyagi, this is in line with Food Exchange’s concept of promoting regional Indian cuisines. Dishes change daily, since the festival is part of the restaurant’s buffet offerings and there are long-stay guests who’d appreciate the variety.
Popular street eats like chops (mutton, fish, beetroot and so on), Kolkata kathi rolls and biryani are well represented. There’s also a station offering Kolkata-style Chinese food, where you can get such delicacies as Tawa Chowmein, Tangra Style Chopsuey and Momo Soup. Desserts include Kanchagolla, Mishti Doi and, of course, Rosogolla.
Food festivals at Food Exchange have always focussed on home-style food. Festivals in the past have included Assamese and Odia. Going by the crowds, especially the queues around the roll and phuchkacounters, there were definitely many takers for the Kolkata Food Festival.
The Kolkata Food Festival is on for lunch (when a Bengali thali is offered at Rs 1,250 plus taxes) and dinner (buffet, Monday to Thursday at Rs 1,550 and Friday to Sunday at Rs 1,650, taxes extra)
Food Exchange, Novotel New Delhi Aerocity, Asset No 02, GMR Hospitality District, IGI Airport New Delhi Aerocity, Delhi 110037; call +91-9871666600 for reservations