Skip The Fancy Hotels, Have A Raj-Era Meal At This 1882 Heritage Building

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Why book a reservation in a fancy restaurant when art collector and dealer Surajit Bomti Iyengar is fixing you a traditional Bengali or an authentic Anglo-India meal? That too in his apartment which is in the city’s iconic Metropolitan Building? Sounds like a plan? Here’s what to know before you go.

A Meal With History

A neo-baroque structure with Corinthian pillars, domes and a clock tower located right at the heart of the city at Esplanade Square, the white-and-gold Metropolitan Building is one of Kolkata’s iconic landmarks. This, believe it or not, is the address to your fine-dining reservation if Bomti Iyengar is your host.

Perched on the third floor of this building, Bomti’s apartment balcony affords a jaw-dropping view of the Kolkata skyline, of the Eden Gradens, Howrah Bridge and Shahid Minar. So, feast your eyes and your tummy, and immerse yourself in the old-world charm of the bygone era of the Raj.

But before we tell you all about the food, we’d like to talk about this magnificent and very special building you will be dining at. It once housed Asia’s largest department store, Whiteway Laidlaw & Co, which was known the Harrod’s of the East. The department store had branches in Colombo, Lahore, Burma and Shanghai {and several other places}, but was founded in Calcutta in 1882. It was one of the most magnificent stores you’d have ever seen — with domes, a clock tower, and arched recessed windows.

Today — unfortunately — this heritage building actually houses a tacky Big Bazar. Read more about the building and about the unbelievable level of callous negligence and damage it has undergone here.

A Curated Menu

Bomti Iyengar has opened his doors to treat guests to delicious food and high Kolkata culture. He welcomes everyone, but in limited numbers — the place is not for a party or a get-together. The meals here are personal and intimate, accommodating six to nine people at a time.

The menu at Bomti’s essentially captures Kolkata — its glorious past and its present. You will get a slice of Raj in the authentic Anglo-Indian fare that Bomti serves. From the favourite panteras to the vindaloo and the mulligatawny — the spread is delicious, and the ambience heightens the nostalgia. And do check out the vintage plates and gorgeous cutlery!

No less popular is Bomti’s traditional Bengali fare. Jhinga aloo, aloo posto and mustard fish are some of the favourites that guests come back to the Iyengar’s for more. And you will be happy to know that an open bar is part of the meal here!

The Apartment

Step into Bomti’s living room and you will see that interior is no less interesting than the ornate exterior of the building. The high-ceiling vintage apartment is dotted with antique heirloom furniture, an enviable collection of avant-garde artworks and curious curios.

An art collector and dealer himself, Bomti has partly transformed his living room into an art gallery with paintings and artworks of such iconic artists like Jamini Roy, Paritosh Sen, Sunil Das, Jiban Doloi and others. Complimenting these are curios that are collected from the world over and are placed strategically to complete the look. One could easily get lost in these, before the scrumptious food beckons you to the table!

Once you are done looking through his amazing collection, seat yourself at the vintage teak six-seater dining table and enjoy a meal that feels like nothing less than a royal reservation.

Anything Else?

Book a seat at Bomti’s table, but you’ll have to leave the menu to him to curate. Reservations call for sharing your dietary restrictions and palate preferences. Bomti personally curates the spread to suit your taste and preferences but requests for specific dishes can be made. You have to make your reservations at least a couple of days in advance. A meal costs about INR 3,500, and as much as six to nine guests can be entertained at a time.

What: Dine at Bomti Iyengar’s in the Metropolitan Building.

Where: 140, S N Banerjee Road, Kolkata – 700013.

Price: INR 3,500 {per head}.

Contact: 09831314990.