Canteen Lunch at Bombay Brasserie in Kolkata
In Kolkata, canteen is more than a dingy eatery. There’s an emotion attached to the word. We have memories of friendships being built here, of antaksharis and turning the table into tabla, of copying notes, writing stories, having debates, or pouring the heart out. With these, there’s rustic, simple food, the closest one can get to home-cooked a meal outside home. Though working adults often look sulky and dejected to hear the words ‘canteen food’, the charm continues. My canteen memories date back to my school days, when buying canteen food and eating with friends felt like an adult think to do. My college canteen was where I wrote the script of a short film. I wonder if the canteen culture is same outside Kolkata. While there’s no way to know that, it’s quite possible to taste nostalgic canteen lunch at Bombay Brasserie in Kolkata.
Canteen Lunch at Bombay Brasserie in Kolkata
THE CONCEPT OF CANTEEN LUNCH AT BOMBAY BRASSERIE KOLKATA
Bombay Brasserie in Quest Mall, Kolkata, has introduced Canteen Lunch, which is a special menu including various foods available at the old canteens of India. It thus becomes a melting pot of culinary culture from different parts of the country, as popular canteen recipes are being presented on the tables of the residents of Kolkata. And these are not just any canteens. They are old and famous ones, and the food will not only delight you gustatorily but also give you the warm feeling. After all, we readily associate our own feelings and experiences with canteens from other cities, even if we cannot actually experience the canteen culture.
THE HANDPICKED CANTEENS FROM AROUND INDIA
As I mentioned before, these canteens are well-known ones from outside Kolkata. Bombay Brasserie, known for the incredible desi flavours and local ingredients in its dishes, has drawn inspiration from the old favourites at canteens like Bombay City Canteen, Ali Tikkawala, Patil House Canteen, Punjab University Canteen, Purani Dilli, Jimmy’s Canteen, Old Madras Street Canteen, Film Studio Canteen of Bombay, and many more, to sketch their weekday canteen menu, so that the people of this city can enjoy the signature items of these non-Kolkata eateries. Now, isn’t that a completely unique way of using your lunch breaks to enjoy some comfort food?
THE CANTEEN LUNCH MENU
The canteen lunch at Bombay Brasserie in Kolkata includes chaats, as well as marinated meats and veggies along with famous local staples. On this menu, there are items like Tomato and Chicken Soup, Bombay Mix Bhel, Pav Vada, Achhari Roast Aloo, Tandoori Roti, Choco Bar, and Royal Mini Faluda from Rajasthan Academy, Uncle Special Vegetable Biriyani, and Roasted Chicken Wings from Uncle Pascal’s Canteen; Sindhi Kheema Biryani, Chhole Double Roll, and Paneer Pakoda with Imli Chutney from KC College Canteen; and many more!
What I Tried and Loved
During my experience of the Canteen Lunch at Bombay Brasserie in Kolkata, I tried some of spicy, sweet and smoky flavours from the old and famous canteens of the country.
These light and crispy pakodas were a surprise for each bite, as every fritter had a different veggie – including chillies!
Bawa Vegetable Cutlet
These reminded of Kolkata’s local street veg chop. Absolutely delicious, though they were slightly on the dryer side.
Farcha – Parsi Fried Chicken
Forget KFC! These crumb-crusted chicken tenders from Jimmy’s Canteen are juicy, light and totally mouthwatering!
Chennai Street Paneer
Creamy paneer inside, slightly crispy coating on the outside, and a mouthful of flavours – as delightful as it sounds.
Curry Leaf Fish
I love curry leaves. In this Old Madras Canteen item, the curry leaf flavour beautifully masked all strong fishiness!
Mumbai Vada Pao
It was a little dry, with a slightly tangy vada stuffing inside two bread pieces. It could probably do with some butter.
The delicious keema stuffing and the smooth texture made this one my favourite among the starters of my lunch!
Soft pieces of our favourite Naan rotis, almost soaked in butter – I could eat them on my own, without any side!
Simple daal with a spicy taste and a thick texture of home-cooked daal dry, this was a beautiful match for the Naans.
Another great dish to go with the naans, this one had a spicy gravy, and the meat was falling off the bones! Amazing!
Don’t go expecting the Kolkata biriyani. Don’t compare. Just enjoy the abundance of spices, coriander and chicken.
The dessert was a beautiful combo of the delicious, homely Sooji Halwa and the Trifle Pudding with layers of cake, vanilla pudding and jam in a cutting chai glass. And, it didn’t end there – there was a Chocobar icecream stick! too! Now, isn’t that something adorably close to you heart?
Enjoying the Canteen Lunch at Bombay Brasserie in Kolkata is a unique experience altogether. The newness is not just in the of the overall concept and the variety of the tastes. The surprise element is also present in the presentation. To liven up the experience of the diners, the restaurant team will be seen dressed in the traditional attires of Canteen Wallas. And, not just that! They will bring your food in Dabbas, and Soup in Cutting Chai Glasses! Bombay Brasserie thus tries to take its diners as close to the original experience of eating at the chosen canteens as it’s possible while sitting in a different city altogether.
The Canteen Lunch at Bombay Brasserie felt like a sophisticated way of bringing local and rustic canteen foods of different parts of India to the plates of Kolkata’s gourmands. The catch of the day ensures that each section of the day is a delightful surprise. I absolutely loved the seasonal approach of presenting canteen food. Don’t forget how light on the pockets these meals are; the veg meal is available at Rs. 525, and the non-veg menu, at Rs. 575 (excl. taxes)! And the best part is, it doesn’t challenge the local food market of Kolkata. This is because the menu has excluded Kolkata’s canteen dishes!