Bengali food festival misses the mark

- October 20, 2023
| By : Patriot Bureau |

The 'Chowringhee: Bengali Food Tales' seeks to transport attendees into the heart of Bengal, in the middle of Durga Puja festivities, with a mix of dishes that represent the cosmopolitan nature of the city of Kolkata

A spread of food

In its recent food festival, the India Grill restaurant at Hilton Garden delved into the rich and diverse culinary heritage of West Bengal. From traditional classics to innovative interpretations, the festival promised a feast for the senses, showcasing the depth and complexity of Bengali cuisine.

The star attractions were the mutton keema roll and the kobiraji, both typical to Kolkata street food. The diverse menu featured street food staples like rolls as well as elaborate spread of dishes involving mutton and chicken.

The decor

Dubbed “Chowringhee: Bengali Food Tales”, the festival was curated by Home Chef Sharmila Sinha and Executive Chef Biswarup Chatterjee, along with Magic with Spices by Rekha Nair.

The festival took place from October 21 to 23, offering visitors a chance to experience dishes like mochar chop, kakrol dolma, dab chingri, Kolkata mutton biryani, and mochar ghonto at the award-winning family restaurant, India Grill.

The main course thali consisted of Dhokar dalna, mutton biryani, chicken dakbungalow and luchi

While the media table boasted delicious items such as chicken dakbungalow, luchi, and mutton biryani, some critics noted that the flavour could have been better. However, the welcome drink, mango juice, was exceptional, and the decor provided a nostalgic journey for those from Bengal with its cane hand fans and gamchha, showcasing the state’s culture.

Bengal’s age-old tradition of serving food on banana and sal leaves, a custom often unfamiliar to those outside the region, was revived in this food festival, adding a unique touch to the dining experience.

Mishti doi with chocolate sauce

“The idea behind Chowringhee is to celebrate the pujo spirit with full zeal and showcase specially curated Bengali food by Sinha and our culinary experts,” organisers said.

Mango juice as welcome drink

Sharmila, a development communication professional, shared her passion for authentic Bengali cuisine, learned from her mother and mother-in-law, through food pop-ups and cookery workshops. Her focus was on the importance of food, bio-diversity, festivity, and their connection to cultural heritage.

Starters Mutton Keema Roll and Kobiraji served on banana leaf

The festival organisers spared no effort in creating an immersive experience, adorning the venue with vibrant colours, traditional Bengali art-work, and the lingering aroma of spices. They also conducted interactive sessions, educating attendees about the significance of each dish and the cultural context behind Bengali culinary traditions.

The festival banner

While the festival aimed to honour tradition while embracing innovation, the main course fell short of the standard, disappointing some attendees. Despite the organisers’ reputation for great hospitality in previous food festivals, this time, the ambiance was lacklustre at best.

An earthen pot with gamcha, a typical decoration in Bengali Hindu religious affairs

The heart of any food festival lies in its culinary offerings, and in this case, it was a letdown. The dishes lacked the authenticity and flavour that one would expect from Bengali cuisine.


7:30 PM to 11:30 PM, October 21

12:30 PM to 3:30 PM, 7:30 PM to 11:30 PM; October 22

12:30 PM to 3:30 PM, 7:30 PM to 11:30 PM; October 23