4 iconic restaurants on Kolkata's Park Street you must visit

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When it comes to food and restaurants, the two top metropolitan cities which give each other stiff competition have always been Kolkata and Delhi. If Kolkata’s strengths lie in their biryani and puchka, Delhi is the leader in tikkas. But get residents of both cities to debate on which is better, and be ready to witness a heated argument taking place infront of you.

Similarly, when it comes to restaurants and food choices, we all have our own tastes and preferences. But there are some which have stood the test of time. The most happening part of Kolkata, Park Street, is home to some of these gems, which have a loyal customer base like no other.

Bar-B-Q

Hindustantimes

If its old-school, Indian-Chinese food that you’re looking for, any Calcuttan would vouch for the fact there are quite a few places in town you can choose from. But there’s always a king among kings- ask any one and they would tell you that Bar-B-Q is the undisputed leader in Chinese cuisine. The gravy noodles, fried rice, hot and sour soup, drums Of heaven (chicken lollypop for the rest of India) and spring rolls are just some of their must have items.

The round, revolving family tables, an introduction to chopsticks and the colourful balloons only for the kids, it’s all part of the Bar-B-Q experience.

“Bar-B-Q was started off in the early 60s by my father and in the beginning we had Chinese, Indian, Continental- everything. But over time we realised that the demand for Chinese was the most. Over the years the clientele has increased and so have the restaurants- before there were only a handful of places such as Kwality, Amber etc, and now over 500 restaurants have opened in the last 10 years,” says Rajeev Kothari, owner of BBQ.

Peter Cat

Chelo kebab.

Chelo kebab.

Rice with melting butter, reshmi kebab and mutton seekh- the chelo kebab. Enough said.

This is the one dish which is served in various other restaurants, but is synonymous with Peter Cat. Ofcourse, the sizzlers are the other speciality here, who’s hissing sound can be heard the moment the regally dressed waiter opens the kitchen entrance.

But how have they maintained their standard consistently for so long?

“As far as i am concerned, its very simple in my mind what the restaurant business is about. You will find many restaurants coming up where people spend extravagantly. They put gold on the ceilings and silver on the walls. But my concept of a restaurant is about the food, a clean ambience, a place that is inviting and clean service,” says Nitin Kothari, owner of Peter Cat, who also owns the leader in continental food in Kolkata, Mocambo.

Mocambo

The interiors of Mocambo.

The interiors of Mocambo.

With no relation to Amrish Puri’s character Mogambo from Mr India (1987), foodies swear by the their chicken tetrazini and prawn cocktail.

“Mocambo was started by my father in 1956. The decor of Mocambo was done by a German interior designer and is really extravagant, compared to Peter Cat, for which I had a limited budget. When Mocambo started off, it was perhaps India’s first nightclub; there was live music, a 7 piece band, a female and a male singer and a dance floor. The dance floor was made out of toughened glass from Belgium and underneath the glass there was a whole array of coloured lights which went on and off at regular intervals. Unlike today, there weren’t lights that were synchronised with the music beats,” said Nitin Kothari.

ALSO READ: The curious case of potato in Kolkata biryani and how the British fed us a lie

Kwality

Hindustantimes

The pindi chana and the chicken reshmi kebab which you get in Kwality are unlike any other place in Kolkata. The quality difference is apparent especially when you home order the kebabs, which come packed with finely cut coloured onion which just melts in your mouth.

And for the ones with a sweet tooth, try their tutti frutti, caramel custard or the sundaes.

“We started off in 1952 as a tearoom serving savouries and tea and coffee, and soon enough introduced north Indian and tandoori food. The reason our loyal customers return is for the paneer butter masala, fish masala kabab and grilled fish prawn cocktail. We have followed the same standards, buy the best ingredients and never compromise on quality,” says Rajiv Ghai, partner, Kwality.

The author tweets at @shadowwarior and can be reached at kabirscorpio@gmail.com and Instagram.com/kabirsinghbhandari

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