Today Kosha Mangsho and Golbari have become almost synonymous. We have heard about them from our parents and still a lot of people start drooling when they hear these two names.Bengalis love their “motton” (Mutton / goat meat) and they love their hot, spicy and greasy gravies. If you are weak at heart, I suggest, simply stay away from this pleasure.
I do not remember if I had Kosha Mangsho at Golbari when I was young. But I think the chances are very slim. I was not known for managing spicy dishes very well and most of the time preferred white meat. During my college days and along with my wife, after I met her, I went there several times. But luck playing with me I always found the Kosha Magsho out of stock for the day. Then one not so fine morning I heard the shop has shut down. That day I felt horrible. I felt like I have missed the chance of a life time.
Few days later the workers of the eatery started selling food from a counter in front of the closed shop. Another eatery in the Hatibagan area is doing the same (Malancha workers food stall) and is very popular. But this time too for various reasons I missed my date with the Kosha Mangsho.
Days passed and Golbari re opened. I was not sure if this is the same management, the same cook. I asked a few people has anything changed? Some said the old Golbari is gone while the majority voted for it.
Finally last Saturday I found myself inside Golbari sitting with my wife with a plate of Kosha Mangsho in front of us! The name of the restaurant is actually New Punjabi Hotel. It is on the ground floor of a semi circular house and thus the name (Gol = Round , Bari = House). The address is 211, Acharya Prafulla Chandra Road, Kolkata – 700004. To make that easier it is right on Shyambazar Five Point Crossing. The place is very small with a few (about 13 / 14 I think) chairs and continuous low shelf like table. You need to pay first and take your coupon. Of course you can order later too and the extra amount needs to be paid while leaving. Most people carry their food home as the place being small becomes very hot.
The menu is short and for most of the customers it is shorter as they order only Kosha Mangsho and Paratha here. We too ordered the same 🙂 It took just about 2 mins for the food to reach our table. Dark, rich gravy with loads of oil around the plate and a few pieces of mutton. It looked like heaven! But I think I should start with the Paratha. It is not a traditional one and looked like something between a Paratha and a Roti. Not too dry like Roti but not too greasy like the Paratha. And soft. Perfectly balanced. My fingers tore a small piece and I first tried the gravy. Aha! This is not something I can have frequently, but once in a while its good to be sinful 😛
Till now everything was going smoothly and I was preparing to take the first bite of the mutton. And ouch!!! The dream breaks and the meat is just plain underdone. Forget about it melting on your mouth, it was not even cooked well. To top that the quality of the mutton was not good too and it was very fibrous. All these days waiting for this !!! No, there must be something wrong. According to me there can be three reasons –
i) They have lost their taste after Golbari reopened. As I thought earlier either the management or the cook is new.
ii) I saw a huge container of Kosha Mangsho kept on low flame inside the restaurant. The later you go the softer might be the meat.
iii) We were plain unlucky and it was a bad day at office for the cook.
Whatever might be the reason I will be trying their Kosha Mangsho very soon again and then form the final conclusion. Till then Golbari for me is great Paratha, awesome gravy and bad underdone meat.