On the fourth floor of The Forum shopping mall…

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…is Oh Calcutta!, a restaurant I dined at on three occasions.  It’s a high-end joint, with a comfortable atmosphere and great service.  They play hideous muzak from hell, but the food more than makes up for it.  I thought it was one of the best places I got to try on my trip.

These little morsels were outstanding, I thought:

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Steamed in banana leaves, the first is a delicate fish forcemeat and the second a sweet mouthful of onions and fresh chhena, a sort of moist paneer.  This begs for comparison with amuses-bouche and would be both familiar and prized in an American restaurant.  Everyone (all Americans) at the table relished these.

They were preceded by:

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Some puffed, mildly spiced lotus seeds.  The rest of the table liked these more than I did (a lot), somehow they always taste a little old to me.  The cocktail was terrific.  It’s green roasted mango pulp with vodka and a sulfurous pinch of black salt, just delicious.

This is sort of a silly picture to include, but why not?  A condiment convention that seemed unique to Kolkata, the chilli on a toothpick:

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I suffered from bravado one evening with these at the Taj Bengal and had to order through a waterfall of tears.

Here’s a plate of Oh Calcutta!’s terrific white luchis, a cousin to the more familiar puri:

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While I was in Kolkata, OC! was promoting a chilli festival.  Here are a few dishes from that menu:

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On the plate, a silky bit of chicken, some pulao, a dish of squash and poppy seeds and kosha mangsho, a relatively dry-cooked dish of mutton.  I enjoyed the kosha mangsho here so much I ordered it again, on a second visit.

An order of sauteed chhena with green chillis, a simple dish of balanced, nuanced flavors:

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I loved it.

On my second visit, I started with a small plate of spicy chicken:

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I gobbled up almost this entire plate of freshwater crab:

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Then I ordered this fish jhol, a thinnish curry.

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I was stuffed, but I ate on.  Here it is on the plate:

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For dessert, a malpua, flecked with a bit of fennel seed. 

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And a couple dishes from my last visit…Oh Calcutta’s lovely mochar chop (banana flower fritter.)  The filling was delicately spiced with a kind of garam masala, I think.

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And this is their lovely prawn cutlet, finished in a lacy egg batter:

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When will I get to eat here again?  Soon, I hope.

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