Three iconic restaurants of Kolkata – Mocambo, Kwality and Trincas – will be officially handed the plaque by Indian National Trust for Art & Cultural Heritage (INTACH) on September 19. They had received heritage status in December 2019.
“Fifteen restaurants had been given the heritage tag but due to the pandemic, the ceremony was delayed. Now that restaurants have opened, we felt it was the right time to celebrate the industry and boost morale,” said GM Kapur, INTACH Calcutta convenor.
What makes these dine dens “heritage”?
“Kwality has been around since 1952. We try our best to carry forward the recipes from the time of inception,” said Rajiv Ghai, partner, Kwality restaurant, which celebrates its 70th year in 2022.
The recipes include the legendary Pindi Chana at Kwality, plates of which “on a good day” make 125 rounds! Pssst: It also doubles as a starter for the tipplers, without the bhatura.
“On the Mocambo menu, we have an ‘H’ next to some dishes, which stands for ‘Heritage’, such as Devilled Crab, Chicken ala Kiev and Chicken Tetrazzini. These dishes date back to when the restaurant opened in 1956. The award gives us a little boost, which is more than welcome. We’ve been through a rough time, especially our industry,” Nitin Kothari of Mocambo told My Kolkata over the phone from London.
The plaque unveiling ceremony will take place at the iconic Park Street restaurants on Sunday at 11am.
The basic criteria for the selection of the Heritage tag are that the restaurants should have been in operation since at least 1960 and located within the boundaries of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation.
“That apart, their historical and cultural significance were considered, as well as their hand in invention and discovery,” said Ayan Ghosh, INTACH member leading the project.
After Mocambo, Kwality and Trincas, next up to receive the plaques will be Eau Chew Restaurant and K.C. Das.
Josephine Li Ying Huang, 66, whose son Joel now runs the family-run eating house Eau Chew on Ganesh Chandra Avenue, reminisces about the invention of the Chimney Soup. “As a seven-year-old, winters in Kolkata were harsh. My husband’s grandmother would make soup and it would barely reach the table and get cold so she devised this method to keep it warm. Today, it’s famous as Eau Chew’s Chimney Soup.”The rest of the 15 food, sweet and sip stops will be handed the plaque soon after. They are Shiraz, Dilkhusha Cabin, Girish Chandra Dey & Nakur Chandra Nandy, Allen Kitchen, Nobin Chandra Das, Bhim Chandra Nag, Paramount Sherbets and Syrups, Sabir’s Hotel, Niranjan Agar and Indian Coffee House.