Bengali Cuisine: Oh! Calcutta Vs. Kewpies, Kolkata

I have been born ad brought up in Kolkata. Despite being a Marwari, I have had the good fortune of having a lot of friends who happen to belong to the city. For one thing, Calcuttans (pardon me – I prefer ‘Calcutta’ to ‘Kolkata’), LOVE food. I have been privy to some amazing food at Bengali Weddings. (Read: )

I am back home for a week now – before I head for my MBA at IIM Lucknow and had the pleasure of trying out Bengali Cuisine at the 2 places that first strike one’s mind when looking for Bengali food at Kolkata:

Oh! Calcutta – Managed and run by Specialty Restaurants – the same group that owns Mainland China, Sigree and Machaan
Kewpies – Owned by Rakhi Purnima Dasgupta
  • Oh! Calcutta – Managed and run by Specialty Restaurants – the same group that owns Mainland China, Sigree and Machaan
  • Kewpies – Owned by Rakhi Purnima Dasgupta

AMBIENCE

03venue_kewpies1_395

Kewpies was good – In the sense that it was very “traditional.” The decor (look and feel!) of the place is almost like a Bengli house-hold and it reminded me of 6 Ballygunge Place – another popular place for Bengali cuisine – which by the way, has recently opened a branch at Bangalore!  Lathe wooden doors, large windows, a high ceiling with old fans which move slow – perhaps it is intentional. Low-seating tables and cutlery made of earthen mud, with a Banana Leaf on top. Oh! Calcutta – on the contrary – has amazing decor, is pleasantly lighted, has great service staff and has some wonderful traditional bengali folklore (soft) playing inthe background.

To the contrary, the ambience at Kewpies was below average – the air-conditioning was not affective, the toilets were a tad unkempt (which, again, could be intentional to give the place a “homely” feel) – but I’d rather not comment.

FOOD-WISE:

KewpiesBengalithali

Kewpies was very average. I was very disappointed with the food. Especially, the “Aam Pora Shorbot” (popularly known as “Aam Panna” in North India) – which we started our meal with – was not well-made, one-sip full in quantity and unfortuantely, set the tone for the near-torture that was about to follow. The “Luchis” (bengali word for “Puri”) were small and wafer-thin as compard to the ones at Oh! Calcutta. The spread on the whole was very average at Kewpies. Not something we had expected from it after the reviews in The Telegraph and elsewhere.  I am disappointed – I could have better utilized my time, money and a special afternoon with mom!

THE VERDICT / RECCOMENDATION:

Oh! Calcutta – If you want a nice, memorable introduction to Bengali Cuisine amidst a great ambience and savour a truly professional experience!

Kewpies / 6 Ballygunge Place – If you want absolutely “authentic” Bengali food – the sort that you are likely to get if you gate-crash into a regular “Bangali” household on a normal day – no special cooking. In fact, I remember having tastier food at the homes of some of my Bengali friends!

Bhojohori Manna – For Bengali fast-food – if you want “Bong” food on-the-go and do not have too much time to spare. Bhojohori Manna is almost like a CCD for bengali cuisine!

For those who are wondering if this is intended to be a GUIDE to eateries / restaurants in Kolkata, is is not. This is merely meant to be an attempt at expressing my dissatisfaction over Kewpies and delight over Oh! Calcutta!

Burrrrrrp! :mrgreen:

17 thoughts on “Bengali Cuisine: Oh! Calcutta Vs. Kewpies, Kolkata

  1. amit, i do not tend to agree… i think bhojohori manna outscores every other bengali food restaurant… Oh calcutta! is too expensive.. i cant pay 400 bucks for a murgir jhol.. as far as kewpies is concerned, i am not aware of it, so may be it might be leading the race. 6, Ballygunge is again not as impressive as BM!! If you keep kewpies aside, I rate BM as jus too good!! 🙂

  2. 6 Ballygunge Place, according to me, stands out when it comes to taste, prices, ambience et al. And, the Bangalore one has been there for quite a while. I’m a regular. 🙂

  3. A few days after Oh Calcutta, i went to 6 Ballygunge Place with family, and we positively hated the food there…it was really really bad…Oh Calcutta outscores by a mile!!

  4. @ Reema,

    The reason I said “Calcutta” was that even NON-BONGS from Calcutta (like me!) love the food as much as the BONGS from Calcutta to.. 🙂

    Of course, what you meant was – Bongs Everywhere are foodies! .. So, we’re both right! 🙂

  5. Stumbled upon this post. I agree with Dushyant above – that Bhojohori Manna is possibly the best, most authentic when it comes to taste and the most reasonably priced restaurant for Bengali cuisine. However, Oh! Calcutta does score on points of innovation (like nolen gurer icecream etc) but its quite heavy on the pocket.

    And yes, Bongs are foodies no doubt, but all non-Bongs I have met in Calcutta are foodies, too. Guess, they all imbibe the ‘love’ of food from the residents 🙂

  6. sorry u had such an experience in kewpies… we have our good days and bad.. however as regards to the luchi’s the authentic is white and thin unlike the puri.Kewpies is the real maccoy after which oh calcuttta, 6 ballygunge place and bhojohorimanna and the rest happened…pls visit again and I am sure you will have a better experience.

  7. Hi Amit- Just stumbled onto your blog and was tickled to know you loved the Nolen gurer ice cream.
    Just thought I’d let you know that our company invented this ice cream and we supply the same to all Oh Calcutta , 6 Ballygunj Place, Bhojohari Manna, Taj Bengal , Itc Somnar Bangla etc and a lot of other outlets across India.

  8. Hey.. nice blog there! addin you to my blogroll! you can check my blogs chennaifoodreviews.blogspot.com and swarskitchen.blogspot.com

    btw, now i write on this site which gives out perfumes sunglasses and lot of stuff like that i even got some food vouchers in chennai for each and every one of my review 😀 tght will let my blog buddies know check this out

    http://www.spiritzandmore.com/outlet-reviews

  9. kewpies please stop publisizing urself …..food was horrible…..cost atrocious…… chitol macher muitha was a rip off…..with raw onion flavour…..cooked like langar food….dont make bengalis ashamed of the quality n taste of such unpalatable stuff….trying to pass on as authentic bengali food..i rate ur standard as food of fairlie place footpath….dr chakraborty

  10. Hi, I happened to visit Kewpie’s last evening for dinner with 12 friends. This was my first time at Kewpie’s. I had visited Oh!Calcutta and Bhojohari Manna’s different outlets tens of times, but never been to Kewpie’s. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to visit the orginal 6 Ballyganj Place although I liked the food very much near their City Centre1 outlet.

    I LOVED the ambience of Kewpie’s mainly for it’s innovative conversion of a house into an authentic eatery and secondly for the unique fragnance in the air. It gave me the feeling of a basement restaurant in Krakow with the mood of durga puja in air.

    Foodwise, I am disappointed. We ordered 12 thalis with daab chingri, mutton and chicken in a mix. All foods were served COLD. Staff were COLD too. I found daab chingri preparaion completely different than in any other places. Here they used onion & tiny prawns, everywhere else I found giant prawns without use of onions. However, the taste of daab chingri was good, maybe that’s the most authentic bengali recipe. To my taste buds, onion less version was more mouthwatering.

    Coming to the chicken preparation, my friends found it salt-less & probably the quality of the chicken was also not good. They offered us to replace the dish with some other fish or mutton which we didn’t accept.

    Toilet was a surprise. It could be home style but atleast welcomg for use!

    The price is exorbitent and unjust. For 12 thalis it costed 8000 rupees, without hard drinks! And then the card machine didn’t work.

    It was evident from our expression that none of us were satisfied with the food, mainly because it didn’t match the expectation and didn’t justify the hype it created in news media. We were kind of told by the waiter that we better understand the popularity of the place and keep quiet on our feedback because we were just common people and this place is frequented by celebrities including ambassadors of different countries etc. We had to remind the stupid waiter that the ambassadors can never judge whether something is authentic, they will only get a wrong impression at what we eat in Bengal.

    I felt so sorry that an evening that started so well could end so miserably. I want to draw immediate management attention to the quality of food and attitude of the staff.

  11. oh, calcutta, tho pricey gives u value for money. there portions r good so 2 can share. as far as luchi is concerned a plate consists of 6 large ones. even on budget, if u order intelligently or ask the waiter ( they are the best) u can get a sumptuous meal. try their jhinge posto, mind blowing, again pricey but finger lickin.
    kewpie’s r not for us but for celebreties et al.
    as far as Bhojohari Manna, just ask them to serve you moglai paratha, they will not tho its in menu. i have been turned down everytime i visited their hindustan road restaurant. food wise also they are going downhill. they have just got famous.
    6, ballygunje place is good, try their shukto & kankra (crab) bhape. awesome.
    for foodies, try Kasturi at free school st & for good home made taste bu BAD service at Suruchi.
    keep on buuuuuurping.

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