Mumbai foodies, the ten-day Bengali food extravaganza is here again! And when it is a collaboration between The Leela Mumbai and Kolkata’s popular restaurant Aaheli, you know that you are in for a “kobji–doobiye” Bengali feast: thanks to the hospitality of Aaheli and The Leela Mumbai. This is the second year that we had the opportunity of tasting the Aaheli menu, and it surely lived up to its brand name. The Bengali dishes served at our table looked as delectable as they tasted! The festival which started from 13th January will culminate on 22nd January.
There is a huge menu of Bengali delicacies for this year’s Aaheli popup at The Leela Mumbai. If you are a regular reader of Cosmopolitan Currymania, you know by now that I don’t exaggerate unless the food is really good. And here at the Aaheli popup, overall, the food is very good indeed! The sophisticated ambience at Jamavar in The Leela Mumbai can’t get any better with melodious Baaul songs playing in the backdrop and serving staff dressed smartly in red-bordered white sari give you a welcoming smile as you enter the restaurant.
(By the way, in case you want to read the last year’s review of the Aaheli popup, please click here.)
As we sat down for a relaxed dining experience on the first day of the food festival, we were greeted with a glass of chilled Aam Poraa Shorbot, which was just the way I make it at home. The smoky flavour of the raw mangoes in this drink played its magic in calming my senses. As I soaked in the vibe with AN (my husband), the platter of non-veg starters perked us up with an interplay of familiar Bengali spices. Among the three starters, our favourite was the Gondhoraj Murgi: something that I would love to recreate at in home kitchen someday. This starter has just the right combination of aromatic Gondhoraj lemon zest, green chillies and minced chicken. Needless to say, The Gondhoraj Murgi inspired me a lot!
I somehow felt that the Chotokdaar Jolpori that I ate at last year’s Aaheli popup was much better, though. I remember that it was my favourite dish last year! The prawn was juicy, but the smell of the fish was a bit overpowering as the spices were less. But the Tawa Pomfret was exactly like the one we tasted at the last year’s Aaheli popup at The Leela Mumbai: it was very satisfying!
In the main course, we had the Suravi Polao, a delicate pulav of Gobindobhog rice with dry fruits, green peas and cauliflower. The slightly sweet pulav was excellent and we couldn’t stop having another helping! An absolutely divine match with this was the Bati Chingri, in which the prawns were cooked with onions, mustard paste and green chillies.
Meanwhile we sipped some Sugandhi Lebur Shorbot and appreciated everything that came on the table. Each dish was exactly how it should have been. The Sonali Moong Dal was simple, yet comforting. Among assorted Indian breads, we were served Koraishutir Kochuri and Phulko Luchi, both of which went very well with the meat-based dishes.
The Jhinge Alu Posto was a very well-cooked dish at the festival. We loved the poppy-seed-paste-smeared dish of ridge gourd and potatoes, cooked with chillies and mustard oil. A homely Bengali dinner in a five-star ambience, with brilliant Bengali flavours is what the menu is all about!
The Chicken Kosha was very nice and tasted perfect with the Phulko Luchi. But the best dish was the Polashir Mangsho: a traditional mutton preparation with a slightly sweet and spicy aftertaste. The chef told me that he travelled to a distant village in Bengal for this recipe.
The desserts were always the best part of any Bengali meal. The Monolobha Malpoa was our favourite, although the jumbo-sized, spongy Gurer Rajbhog and the creamy Mishti Doi were out-of-the-world, too! Overall, the Bengali Food Festival by Kolkata’s Aaheli at Jamavar, The Leela Mumbai, was a great experience for us!
The festival is on only till 22nd January.