Food is an inextricable part of the human system. Some eat to live, while others live to eat. I happen to identify with the latter category whenever I find myself in the City of Joy, where food, like joy, is available in abundance.
One such experience that I believe worth recounting was at Mocambo, a restaurant that has stood longer than you and I, in the heart of Kolkata.
Established in 1956, Mocambo is situated in the upscale region of Park Street in Central Calcutta.
It isn’t simply a restaurant, it is a statement on the city’s culinary heritage.
Its prominence is punctuated by its extensive waitlists, but I was fortunate enough to be seated immediately due to my visiting it in the noon hours of Monday.
With dim pendant-lights hanging atop every table and vinyl banquettes, its interiors, designed by notable German Architect Herr Messerschmidt, are reminiscent of a diner from the nineties.
After browsing through their vast menu, which accommodates various cuisines from continental to sea food, moghlai to tandoor, and sizzlers to dessert, I decided upon their Heritage Prawn Cocktail, Chilli Cheese Poppers, Chicken Garlic Steak in Sizzlers and on the home turf, Naan and Paneer.
Their heritage prawn cocktail was served in a regal metallic jar fit for the royals. Its thick and creamy consistency introduced a burst of flavor to my taste palate. I had to scoop the prawns out with a spoon, though. It is a must-try for those looking to experiment with uncustomary culinary blends.
Then came the chilli cheese poppers which were cooked to perfection with just the right amount of chilli and cheese – not too much, not too little.
Do you relate to the feeling of being full only after the round of appetizers? Me neither.
We moved on to the main course with the chicken garlic steak arranged tastefully on a wooden serving platter with grilled veggies, boiled potatoes and beans. It was meaty and filling, but my only gripe with it was that it was slightly undercooked.
By the time the Indian dishes were served, we found ourselves full so we had to pack up a portion of it. I was mildly disappointed with the served quantity of paneer.
The food is reasonably priced taking into account its historical legacy. Some people have expressed their displeasure with the staff inefficiency on busy days.
The servers swarmed my table at the end of our meal while I was leaving a tip, which was quite discomforting.
Barring that, I had a positive experience.
It’s a classic – one that cannot be missed.
It serves as an ideal spot to revel in the charm of the Indo-British era. Calcutta is undoubtedly one of the few cities in which the effects of the colonial hangover are still apparent.
Final verdict? Mocambo khush hua.
Head over to Mocambo to get a taste of food, culture and history all at once when you’re in the City of Joy.
Image Credits: Author
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