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Eastern ZING for the southern palate


BEST OF Bengal is here to pamper Bangaloreans with its variants of rolls, tandoor, and biriyanis. Patrick Quinn, who set up this month-old diner after running it successfully in Kolkata, ran an electronics shop there before switching over to catering. He had to move lock, stock, barrel, and kitchen to Bangalore after his wife was transferred here.

The new setting has only proved good for his business. Clients have already been gobbling up with gusto all the typical Kolkata delicacies at his eatery, which has been elegantly done up by him.

Rolls, observes Mr. Quinn, are popular in Kolkata and are even eaten as a substitute for lunch or dinner. One of the reasons why his rolls fill one's tummy is that they are not made with roomali rotis but crisp parathas. This is unlike anywhere else in Bangalore. And Mr. Quinn has been rolling out more than 150 to 200 of them a day.

The fact that the restaurant's five cooks worked in eateries at Kolkata's famed Park Street speaks for their proficiency since they had to compete with 30 different eating joints there. Their fish tikka rolls, double mutton rolls, double egg mutton rolls, paneer rolls, cheese rolls, and double egg rolls are sumptuous.

The fish tikka roll (Rs. 30) is new to Bangalore and is kabab-based. It is dry and wrapped in with capsicum, onions, and an optional tomato and chilli sauce. The paneer roll (Rs. 22) is quite filling and its tangy taste leaves you hungry for more. It has paneer marinated in curds, capsicum, anf fried onions. It is then wrapped in a paratha and topped with a dash of lemon juice. The fish tikka roll is grilled in the tandoor, sprinkled with black pepper and lemon juice, and topped with onions and capsicum, which add a certain zing to it.

The double chicken roll (Rs. 40) makes for a meal in itself like the double chicken egg roll (Rs. 42). The chicken (Rs. 40) and mutton biriyani (Rs. 45), prepared the Bengali way, come with raitha and are not too spicy.

Kababs come in various manifestations. The tandoori chicken full (Rs. 80), chicken tikka (Rs. 50), tandoori prawns (Rs. 100), fish tandoori (Rs. 60), and fish tikka tandoor are snapped up as fast as they emerge from the tandoor. These kababs are not deep fried, which is all the more reason for one to help oneself to generous helpings of these crisp delights. Mr. Quinn also serves the Kolkata bekthi fish, a river fish.

Another typical, original Bengali treat, the maccha jhol (Rs. 40), is special to the place, and is made from the rui fish. This dish tastes as if it is homemade, and it is a must-have. This fish and potato gravy goes well with plain rice or vegetable biryani. The special dahi chicken, made from shredded chicken, contains butter and its thick gravy makes it an ideal accompaniment with plain white rice or parathas.

The paratha section offers a wide range of naans such as plain naan (Rs. 6), alu naan (Rs. 17), paneer naan (Rs. 25), and mutton kheema naan (Rs. 26). There is also lachcha paratha (Rs. 15) and pudina paratha (Rs. 15) to bite into. For the veggies, the tava veg — made of paneer, aloo, carrot, capsicum, and beans — is a good choice to go with the peas pulao.

Mr. Quinn soon plans to bring in a cook from Kolkata specialising in sweets such as sandesh and rasagulla. He plans to open a juice centre and also provide the famous Calcutta sweet and zarda paans. He wants to get into outdoor catering too.

A filling non-vegetarian food for two costs Rs. 200, while for the vegetarians, it costs Rs. 150. The place is a favourite among not only Bengalis, but also Muslims, for it uses halal meat.

Best of Bengal, at 41, Haines Road (opp. Santosh Hospital), Frazer Town, can be contacted on 51251301/51251302.

M.V. CHANDRASHEKAR

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