When I entered the Grand Market Pavilion at ITC Royal Bengal which is a three-meal buffet, it almost seemed like a different world altogether. It has been designed keeping in mind the iconic Hogg Market that was once the spotlight of Kolkata. With a bustling ambience, fresh produce and sea of people, this market is what Kolkata is quite known for (other than the usual Victoria Memorial, roshogolla and Tram) It is a vibrant, bustling showcase of the finest in local, Indian and global fare. Other than a fine selection of local delicacies, wokery that serves fresh noodles, stir fry’s and more to Kitchens of India which is an ode to everything we have grown up eating, from qormas, qaliyas and salan to chaats and more and a delectable dessert section that boasts of puddings, crepes, gateau and artisanal sorbets, what most impressed me is their North Eastern fare. No buffet in Kolkata serves this fare and quite impressive at that. If you ask me, I found it rather educational. The buffet spread is massive and I reckon it took a person at least two sitting to finish everything. I mean I understand the love for biryani and chaap, rogan josh and more but this is a journey that one should embark in. Here’s what I tried: I began with some lovely chicken momos and moved onto the shyaphalay which is minced chicken encased in a crispy shell and served with raja mircha chutney. Now this resembles an Empanada, and it is delightful. Next was the Sikkimese Kauri which is one of a kind. Sikkimese style handmade seashells that are topped with chicken in a flavorful broth and is served with an array of condiments, you can adjust the spice level accordingly. This was definitely my favourite. I also tucked into Mylliem Pepper Chicken or Meghalaya slow-cooked Chicken with roasted Onion gravy that is a tad bit sweet due to the addition of the onions and two amazing pork dishes, Awoshi Ngo Atsu or Naga Black Sesame Pork and Sungur Rah Mula Koh Saag or Sikkimese style Pork cooked with Radish Leaves. So far I have never tried Black sesame pork in the city and I have to admit, this is one of a kind. They have the most interesting kind of northeastern fare, ranging from Meghalaya to Assam, Sikkim and Nagaland and I am all in for the Pork cooked with radish leaves. It’s very pleasant and goes beautifully with the piping hot rice. The meat to fat ratio is commendable and the melt in the mouth meat will keep you wanting more. The simple and rustic flavours shine through. If you haven’t tried this, you really should. While I am all in for North Indian food and chaat, this section of the buffet is a hidden gem. Price Points: INR 1250 plus taxes & Sunday Brunch 1600/- plus taxes per person.
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