Hilsa Festival @Taj Gateway; Kolkata

9:57 PM

Every year when I get invitation from Gateway Kolkata to attend their Hilsa festival preview I feel giddy. For many reasons I have stopped doing restaurant reviews as a blogger but this is one place where I love to go both personally and professionally and be amazed with their great food and hospitality again and again.

The mastermind behind any food festival at Gateway is, Chef Ashish.  He has a penchant for experimenting with an acumen for marketing. It's his pure love for food that he has the courage to bring his experiments on table for taste testing. This year again he brought out something  new, some he created with his kitchen wizardy and some he curated from the forgotten bylanes of Epar and Opar Bangla (Bangladesh and West Bengal).
The menu could be best described as a mix of Ghoti and Bengali style recipes with a couple of North Indian and continental flavours to cater to all taste buds. 
Dhakai Ilish

To take the dishes another notch, The chef this time has brought back the nose to tail dining back to his kitchen. The bones, tails and heads are fried in oil which he is freezing and using it to intensify the flavour.
Smoked Ilish
Though we Bengalis pride ourselves for our Hilsa Preparations but this time the continental style Smoked Hilsa with parmesan stole the show. High on Umami quotient With pronounced Hilsa flavour this boneless piece of fish literally melted in our mouth. Their in house bread gloriously accompanied the dish along with some herbed rice.
Kancha Mithe Aam die Ilish
The KAncha mithe aam diye Ilish (Hilsa with mustard and raw mango) was the second favourite where the heat from green chilies were beautifully balanced with the sweet and sour taste of the mango. As someone hailing from the coastal region, who loves her macher tawk and ambol I loved this recipe.
Ilish Macher Korma
Next favourite was the North Indian style Hilsa with a smooth creamy gravy. It had boiled onion paste, mustard and flavouring spices and literally soothes your tastebuds with it's velvety texture.
Ilisher Chop
The Ilish Chop, though it tasted very good yet somehow failed to impress as an Ilish dish.That quintessential flavour of Hilsa was missing and tasted like any other well made chop.
North Indian Style Ilish

The other North Indian style Hilsa dish with brown onion paste was good too but somehow my Bengali tastebud was not satisfied. But as Chef rightly pointed out this definitely will apeal to non Bengali tastebuds.
Ganthi Kochu Ilisher Dom

Ilish Macher bhaja

Apart from these dishes there are Jhuri posto Ilish, Chef's signature dish where he has combined Bankura's stirfried poppyseed sides with Hilsa. The other regular dishes were the Kumro patay Ilish, Dhakai Ilish  and a jumbo Ilish peti with a magnificent chunk of roe.
jhuri posto Ilish
As I said last year when it comes to Hilsa, Buzz wins the challenge hands down on all frontsA definite must go for all Ilish lovers and please note All their dishes come to table as platter or mini meal (perfect for small eater) consisting of some rice or bread, salad and a mango dates drink. 
This A-la-carte Ilish festival is on till the end of this month.

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