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'Hood Guide: Auction Houses To Iconic Chinese Joints & Dhabas, Russel Street Is So Kolkata

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Lined with generations-old shops, iconic eating joints and some new places, Russel Street is what Kolkata embodies so well — the old and the new co-existing!

India's Hobby Centre

Bringing out the kid in us all, India’s Hobby Centre is an iconic store on Russel Street. They have an incredible collection — from hard-to-find toys, vintage model cars, figurines of Tintin & gang, superheroes from DC and Marvel, balsa wood airplane kits and RC planes, and old magazines on aeromodelling. The attached ice cream parlour has giant sundaes, burgers and crispy fries. Read more about it here.

Iconic Dhabas And Rajasthani Food

Russel Street Dhaba is the Punjabi dhaba to hit up — you’ll find cars lined up till the wee hours of the morning crammed with party-hoppers looking for grub before heading home. Piping hot, homey food and great chai is their USP.

A few yards away, Gangaur and Teej are pit stops for all vegetarians. Gangaur is a family restaurant known for giant chholey bhaturey and dosas (no jokes, these things are literally family size!) and a whole range of chaats. Teej is another iconic restaurant in the same building with an extensive Rajasthani menu.

Auction Houses

Russel Street (and adjacent Park Street) is home to Kolkata’s iconic auction houses where you can pick up the most incredible vintage stuff. Cameras, tape recorders, gramophones: there’s a mix of things you can buy for your house and even some stuff you can consider for thoughtful gifting. Here’s a more detailed list of what they stock.

Vintage Treasures

Look out for Good Companions, a charming shop that has been around since 1934 making quality handmade products. They have a huge range of baby clothes {mostly pretty dresses and frocks} and home decor items. Find out more about all the incredible things in the store here.

Close by is Sutton & Sons — they have nurseries producing flower and vegetable seeds in Kalimpong and Jhargram.

A little ahead of that is Ananda, one of the oldest and most popular sari shops in the city (notice the gorgeous typeface of the logo). Their range of exquisite handblock saris have been worn by the likes of Indira Gandhi and the yesteryear actress Nargis. This is where On the same pavement, you will spot one of the oldest Chinese dry cleaners in the city (which is still running) — Shanghai Co, run by William Wong whose father had set it up in 1936!

Home Decor Pit Stops

The numerous home decor stores on Russel Street make it the perfect one-stop-shop when you’re doing up your home. Anokhi, one of the oldest and most unique home decor stores in Kolkata is housed on this road (towards the end, just before the turn into Middleton Street). They do a gorgeous range of hand-block printed furnishings. Their clientele come from all over India. More recent entrants are Skipper and Kaji — Stellar has some incredible furnishings for every budget and Kaji has a couple of really unique pieces for the quirky household.

You can stock up on gorgeous paper products from the Karmyog shop. Find out more about the store here.

The street also has a huge outlet of the popular Bombay Dyeing chain. And then there’s Handloom Cottage, where you can pick up handloom fabrics of all kinds for the home and for yourself.

Oldies, But Goldies

You’ll find lots of old iconic joints sprinkled across the road. Although they have changed considerably since their hey day, if you’re looking for a touch of Old Calcutta, you can definitely check them out.

One of Kolkata’s most iconic Chinese restaurants, Waldorf, finds its relatively new home right opposite The Bengal Club. The restaurant was started back in 1953 by three Chinese men {it was originally on Park Street before it moved to its current location}. Everyone from Raj Kapoor to Jyoti Basu have graced this joint.

Right next to it is Sam’s Pub and Floriana. Both have extremely cheap booze, vintage decor, and quick service. Instantly recognisable from their neon signboards {that look straight out of a ’60s Hollywood movie}, they’re where the ‘cool’ people of the yesteryears would party. Scott’s Pvt Ltd Liquor Store comes next. One of the city’s oldest liquor shops, they have a huge collection of booze.

The Bengal Club

Opened back in 1827 as the Calcutta United Service Club, the Bengal Club is one of the oldest social clubs in the city. The majestic white building is where its members (primarily lawyers, doctors and the like) flock to for quiet affairs and legendary British-style food.

State Bhavans

Russel Street is also where you’ll find state bhavans like Assam and Mizoram. Both have canteens that open briefly for lunch and dinner and serve traditional meals at super discounted rates. Around the corner is Sikkim House with the very popular Blue Poppy restaurant serving some of the best momos in the city.


A hair and beauty salon for women owned and run by the Yah family, if you need a day at the parlour that won’t break the bank, here’s where you need to go. Neat, clean, hygienic and professional, numerous Kolkata women swear by them.

Little Eateries, Street Stalls & More

Catering to the many offices that litter the area, Russel Street has a fair number of street vendors, tea stalls, sandwich kiosks and roadside eateries where you can score anything from a cup of coffee or tea to a full meal under a budget.