Walking towards the Indian Museum from Park Street four-way crossing, you take a right to Dr. Md. Ishaque Road (which some of you better know as Kyd Street), go a few paces down the road and there it is on the left, unmistakable in big broad letters, white on red. I’m talking about Mancherji’s. At the very first look, something in the captions on each side of the front hoarding grabbed my attention. Parsi food. Now, a restaurant offering especially Parsi food is quite a rare sight in the city. In fact, I haven’t seen it anywhere else before and it seems quite surprising to me that I haven’t given the fact that it has been almost 250 years since Dadabhoy Behramji Banaji, who is believed to be the first Parsi to have come to Kolkata (then Calcutta) from Surat in 1767, set up his trade in Bengal, thus taking the first step towards the establishment of Parsis in the city.
The Parsis were originally from Persia, the present-day Iran. As the Parsis began to settle in the city from the 18th century, they not only became an important part of trade and industry but also brought their culture and cuisine, which would further diversify the cuisine culture in the city. Although today the number of Parsis in the city has greatly declined and is becoming fewer day by day, the city has not only benefited financially from the Parsis but also became culturally more diverse which is well evident in their rich heritage which continues to be preserved in the city.
Located at the heart of the city, Mancherji’s is the only restaurant to serve Parsi food and Bengali food side by side, the former started only 2 months ago. Open from 12:30 in the afternoon till 10:30 at night, it caters lunch to MNCs, and serves full course lunch and dinner meals. Chicken Dhansak, a preparation of chicken and lentils served with rice, is a very popular dish for lunch among frequenters. Additionally, it also serves breakfast – introduced only this month – and evening snacks.
Papeta par Eda
The Parsi cuisine has elements of old Persian cuisine as well as influences from Gujarat and Maharashtra which is well reflected in meat dishes cooked with vegetables. The menu at Mancherji’s includes most of the popular Parsi dishes. From Chicken Farcha (simply, ‘Fried Chicken’) to Sali Murghi (spicy chicken garnished with potato crisps) to Patra ni Machhi (steamed fish wrapped in banana leafs) to Lagan nu Custard (a Parsi wedding specialty) to Akuri (The popular dish egg bhurji is another version of this) and Papeta par eda (literally, ‘egg on top’. Actually, ‘eda’ or egg is so essential to Parsi cuisine that given a chance, they’d break an egg on everything, so to speak!), you have it all here. And if you’re just wondering whether you could have all of this at once, this is the place for you. Well yeah! Mancherji’s will especially provide for you a step-by-step full-course Parsi meal which will give you a hearty and complete experience of Parsi cuisine. All you have to do is inform them beforehand and make a reservation, and they will take care of the rest!
As we dig in some delectable Patra ni Machhi, Supriya Mancherji says, “All of these recipes here have been passed on to me by my mother-in-law.” Actually, that is how a culture survives, I guess. In its food and in its traditions. Next followed, the Lagan nu Custard and good heavens! You can only wish for it to take a little longer to melt inside your mouth or end up asking for more!
Details of Mancherji’s
Address: 14 Kyd Street, Kolkata – 700016