Goan gone?

Having lived in Goa until a couple of years ago, and moved back to Kolkata thereafter, I constantly crave Goan food and have come to terms with that fact that it’s unrealistic to expect perfection or even close to perfection outside of Goa. That being said, I was still quite excited to discover Bongoan in Southern Kolkata with folks from the Chef at Large Blogger’s Table. The entrance was appealingly Goa-like and the restaurant small and cozy with jazzy, blue lighting. The menu was quite comprehensive, with Bengali, Goan and Chinese courses and we started by ordering appetisers and soup: Chicken sweet corn soup (80), Spicy chilli baby corn (90), Sesame fried prawn in Continental style (300) and Lottya fry (120). The soup tasted strange – of almost-stale chicken and overstayed corn, the baby corn quite spicy, killing the other flavours in the dish and the sea food smelling overly fishy and quite unappetising. The fried outer batter was probably the best part, along with the French fries on the side.

The fare at Bongoan

After a disappointing start, we hoped for a satisfying main course. I ordered a Chicken Xacuti (200), because any restaurant claiming to serve Goan food should have this down perfectly! The flavours were quite heavy and less coconutty than expected. Still, the Xacuti was definitely the winner of the day. The other main courses ordered were an average Mutton Vindaloo (250); the meat was too chewy and the gravy excessively tangy. The flavours of the Pork Bhuni (150) were good and in sync with the added vegetables though the meat was rubbery. The steamed rice on the side was the saviour as the meats were densely laden with oily gravy. At this point I wished we had ordered some vegetarian dishes instead. Lastly, we ordered Bebinca (120), which came as little slivers served with some caramel sauce. The texture and flavour were nice, but would have been better if served layered, as the dish traditionally should be. The evening turned out be a fun one with the company, but the food was below average. Some of the bloggers said the Sweet fresh lime soda they ordered was the winner! If I were ever forced to revisit, maybe I would try the Chinese and vegetarian fare, with the hope of being pleasantly surprised. Here’s what the others felt.

Photo credit: Kamalika Chakrabarty