Most, if not all, Bengalis are secretly aware of the inherited pressure we face—to be imperious when it comes to judging (among other things) food. Particularly if this food belongs even remotely to the Bengali culinary milieu, the attention given to detail can get someone as meticulous as Sherlock Holmes to tear at his own hair. The city of Bangalore has seen many Bengali restaurants futilely try to impress the Bengali diaspora that lives here. Some were harangued for being too expensive. And then there was the issue of keeping up with the Bengali appetite, which is just not content with just three meals. Two or three greasy snack times a day with chaa are taken for granted. These restaurants just couldn’t keep up.
Recently as I rode through a service road in the city to prevent being caught without a Helmet, a delicious aroma whiffed by. On my left was the Kitchen of Joy, with patrons overflowing onto the footpath, I couldn’t help but stop. The food lover in me knew that such a large gathering can’t possibly have bad taste. Someone had taken up the futile Bengali food challenge again! I was curious but determined to get my money’s worth. The walls were full of pop graffiti illustrating the City Of Joy. The compact interior prompted me to stick to the snacks, as I wondered how they could serve the biryani they have promised on the menu. I sensed that inherited cynicism creeping up on me, but decided to wash it down with some Ginger Tea and Fish Chop. Those unknown ingredients that lifted the taste of street food on the streets of Kolkata had found their way to this cute little snack place. It hit the spot and my need for crunch had me ordering an Egg Devil, a premature bite caused a little scalding in the mouth. This is when I realised that the significant other, who I was to meet, must be steaming like the chaa in front of me.
The next day I managed to rally a few friends and family over to the Kitchen Of Joy for my own benefit. I was eager to try a little bit of everything. The Maggi section caught my eye and we tried the Chicken Tikka Maggi, which had us wondering why no one else in the city had tried serving this. After a little Shingara and some lemonade to wash it down, I wanted to try something serious. I asked for the stuffed Mughlai Paratha. It arrived cut neatly in bite-sized portions and disappeared off the plate in seconds. For the next 10 minutes I guarded my plate of Luchi with Mutton Kosha as I devoured the tender pieces of mutton with the crisp fried bread, too good to be shared. At this point I wanted the aftertaste to last forever.
I couldn’t help but return another day to try the subtly flavoured Calcutta Biryani with some friends. I enjoyed the smell of Basmati and the indistinct flavors but my friends didn’t. (Never confuse a Hyderabadi Biryani lover for Calcutta Biryani; they are poles apart.) I tried to provoke the manager by saying they don’t have anything new left to offer me. He smiled confidently and informed me about another branch where they cooked authentic Bengali meal platters. “Dada, you haven’t tried our Kati Rolls yet,” he said as he disappeared sideways into the kitchen.
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How to Get There:
Kitchen of Joy, Indiranagar
Where: 12th Main, HAL 2nd Stage, ESI To Domlur, Service Road, Indiranagar, Bangalore
Contact: +91 9900962765
Timings: All Days 12:30 PM to 10 PM
Cost: ₹350 for two people
Kitchen of Joy, Kaggadasapura
Where: 2nd Floor, Above South Indian Bank, Next To BATA, Vignan Nagar, LB Shastry Nagar, Kaggadasapura, Bangalore
Contact: 080 40961776
Timings: All Days 12 Noon to 3 PM & 6 PM to 10:30 PM
Cost: ₹500 for two people