One of the trending dishes in Calcutta these days is Bansa Pora Mutton. This Odisha delicacy has been introduced to the city by none other than Santa’s fantasea. A major population of the city has already tasted it and loved it, while the others are craving to taste it. Santa’s fantasea has tried to come up with something that wasn’t available anywhere in Calcutta and thus has gained huge success and fame. With their lip-smacking tribal and seafood cuisines, this place has won a lot of hearts including mine. I had been several times to the Golpark outlet and the food has always turned out to be amazing, be it Bansa Pora Mutton or Smoked Octopus. This time, it was an invitation from the management for a bloggers meet at the Salt lake outlet, on the occasion of exploring their tribal cuisines, thereby experiencing monsoon exotic tribal gastronomy.
The salt lake outlet is close to salt lake swimming pool, sector 1. The dining area is much more vast than the Golpark outlet, the décor being the same, dividing the restaurant into two sections – tribal and seafood. The best of the tribal section were served to our plates.
We started with Kerela Mutton soup. Small pieces of mutton were boiled in coconut milk, with gondhoraj lemon leaf and mixed with coconut now. Now, a dish from Kerela obviously won’t use gondhoraj lemon leaf as an ingredient. This is where the game changes. In Santa, the authentic kerela dish has been treated with gondhoraj lemon leaf, whose aroma and fragrance can change the taste of an entire dish, thus giving a twist to the soup. This was amazing. The creamy soup had generous portions of mutton. I don’t know why haven’t I heard of this before. Maybe the popularity of the other dishes did surpass this. But from my experience, I would personally recommend everyone to begin their meal with this soup !
The starter served next was Nagatok. The name itself reveals it’s origin, i.e. , Nagaland. Bhetki marinated with aromatic herbs is cooked inside a banana leaf without using any oil. The fish tasted out of the world. The spicy and burnt flavour of the fish was really unique.
Next came my all time favourite, Bansa Pora Mutton with soru chakli. These are the signature dishes of the restaurant and very common among foodies. Bansa Pora, being an Odhisa delicacy and one my favourite dishes, I had huge expectations from it. And yes, it did reach my expectations. The taste was the same, just the same as I had last year in the Golpark outlet. The smoky flavour of the soft mutton chunks was amazing. The soru chakli I had this time was as soft as cotton, maybe softer. I don’t know how they manage to make it just so soft that it reaches the mouth and vanishes. The combination of soru chakli with Bansa Pora Mutton was just out of the world.
Among the rice dishes, I had tried and loved their wild red rice. This time I tasted Jadoh. This is a Meghalayan delicacy where spicy red rice is mixed wixed soft mutton chunks. I simply loved this. The rice had the perfect proportions of spices, making a blast of flavours in my mouth. This was my favourite dish among all the tribal dishes I had.
To accompany Jadoh, there were Jhupu Pisi’s Mutton Delicacy and Kukhura Ko Masu. The mutton is a mizo delicacy, cooked with mustard leaves. The mutton had a smoky flavour and tasted good. Kukhura Ko Masu is a Sikkimese delicacy, where chicken is flavoured with tamarind, coconut, herbs and spices. The chicken had such a different taste, like I had never tasted before. Both were an amazing combination with Jadoh.
We ended our meal with desserts. Tilhour kheer, a Manipuri dish, had a flavour as if it had been prepared with nolen gur, but actually it has been prepared using caramelized sugar and onions. It tasted very good. The sweetness wasn’t overpowering and that made it better.
The next kheer was Chemmeen kheer. This is a Kerela dish where kheer is made of prawns ! I haven’t ever imagined that prawns can be used as sweet dish. Well this was absolutely stunning and knocked me off. The small chopped prawn meat that reached my mouth with each spoon of kheer, was a delight to the taste buds. Santa’s fantasea needs to be appreciated for this !
We were also served mango souffle, which was awesome again. The sourness of the souffle was unique and it’s texture was such that it was difficult to distinguish if I was having a souffle or an actual mango !
Overall, every dish I had here impresses me a lot. It was good to see that the dishes have retained the same taste and have not been neglected with popularity, which is the case with most other places. Would love to come back again to this place to taste some more, and then leave with a smile and words of praise !