I found some trivia about this eatery penned by one Goutam Mitra on virtualtourist.com. The text below has been reproduced as is: (click here for the original write-up). You will need to scroll about half-way down to see the review.
Those who know about Kolkata City will surely agree that this hotel used to a landmark in Bengali life of North Kolkata! Started as humble roadside dhaba ( simple eatery where ethnic food is served) in 1875 by great grandfather of Mr.Bishwanath Patro, an Oriya businessman, for the Taxi Drivers of North Kolkata, soon earned fame among Bengali gentlemen that this place provides excellent food, Mutton cooked in Punjabi style with paratha. It became very famous that many aristocrats, theater personalities, movie stars, doctors,and students started getting their meals from there.
The hotel was just a shanty and located just next to the paternal house of Swami Vivekananda (the famous sage/ saint of India). It was shifted in front of Swami Vivekananda's house to fix a statue of Swami ji next to their house after 20 years of long request from Ramkrishna Mission.(see picture). It was rebuilt as an air conditioned facility and fancy chairs. I too have tasted their food many times in my child hood. It now has completed 136 years of it's existence! Bravo! and kudos to our Bengali palate, this is going to continue in years to come. - Goutam Mitra"
Now, do not go to this place expecting fine dining, exquisite service or any such banal element of eating out. This place serves just food and that's all they do. We reached there close to 9 pm. It is a three-storeyed eatery, with the ground floor exclusively reserved for carry outs. A narrow staircase leads you to a small floor space with low-ceiling dining room on the first floor, which has been fitted with three air-conditioners, hard at work. The place was busy as a mill canteen from the 70's. Two erudite looking men with french-cut beard kept a watch from behind the counter; closer observation revealed they were the cashiers.
All tables were full - we gingerly approached the bearded men and were assured that it would only be a few minutes for a table for two. I patiently stood in a corner next to the cash counter, waiting for a table. In the meanwhile a waiter hollered from the second floor and we were ushered in to a dining room pretty much a replica of the first floor sans the french-bearded men.
The fish fry was relatively small, but easily the best fry I have had. This does reinforce that best things in life do come in small fried packages. The crust was neither too thick nor thin, yet flaky. And surprisingly this Fish Fry had fish in it ;-) unlike most places where there is more 'masala' stuffing than actual fish. The fish fillet too was moist yet flaky, well marinated, not too spicy, just right with shredded green chillies embedded into the crust. The round thing next to the Fish Fry on the plate was the legendary Fowl Cutlet - made with minced chicken blended with 'khara masala' and deep fried. The crust was unique almost fluffy like a 'Poori', the taste raised all my tastebuds. All this was served up with a generous helping of onion-cucumber and 'Kashun-dee' !
|Half eaten English Fry|
The fries were Rs. 53 a pop, and the Fowl Cutlet I believe was priced in the mid-forties. The deep fried dinner started to settle in and we agreed it was time to hit the road. Amongst the two of us, we rustled up a bill of Rs. 253 - not bad for a Sunday dinner !
People around us were ordering Chinese, Tandoori, Biryani, Parantha and Mutton. Chacha's lately has dissolved into a mult-cuisine restaurant - a fad these days. But we stuck to their specialty. Now was time for some dessert.
We were in Kolkata's Sweet Meat Valley namely Ram Dulal Sarkar Street (a.k.a Beadon street). This stretch has no less than 5 'Mish-tee-r dokans' only within a few meters of each other - including the legendary Girish Chandra Dey and Nakur Chandra Nandy famous for their invention of the 'Golap-pati-sandesh'. These were 10 bucks a pop !
The store by itself looked gloomy; lit up by white lights, but I were to learn later the 'Golap-pati-sandesh' were to kill for.
Next stop Nalin Chandra Das and sons - a 160 years old sweet-ery. This place was brighter and more welcoming that the previous and recently renovated.
There was a funny incident at this store, I was clicking away with my camera phone when I was asked by one of the store boys where was I from ? I told him I was very much from Kolkata and have been born, raised, stayed, lived and blogged right here ! Our taking pictures got the attention of the store manager and he came up to us and requested us to try their Butterscotch Ice-Cream Sandesh, he insisted that it was a new addition to their menu; a must try and it would be on the house ! Both me and my buddy were offered one each of the wonderfully moist and cold - Ice Cream Sandesh, with a butterscotch crunch filling each bite !
And who said, people in Kolkata don't smile at strangers, or better even don't offer free dessert to customers ! To some this might mean that the City of Joy is stuck in the 80's - a city of yore, I would say it with aplomb that I am proud of such gestures. Only in Coolkata !
Sweet dreams, sleep tight and don't led the bed bugs bite !