Wednesday, September 24, 2008


There are a few names in a city, which are names which are synonymous with the city … at least in the minds of the denizens of the city. In Calcutta (sorry folks, I still refer Calcutta, if I am writing in English), there are more than enough such names to go around. Of course, most of them are institutions by themselves. These are names which are revered, and well … in the case of the name I am writing about, drooled about. For generations, Calcuttans have drooled about one such … Arsalan! Yes, an institution by itself, Arsalan is a name synonymous with good Mughlai food in the city.

The original Arsalan which most Calcuttans identify with is at Park Circus … though we didn’t quite go there … tends to be a hot idea to go there and eat on a hot Calcutta afternoon … we went to the new outlet which they have opened at Circus Avenue. You have to be careful to not miss it. And the place is every bit worth the drive there. Getting there could be an adventure, depending on which part of the city you are driving from (we were coming from Camac Street), and this can be quite an experience at 1 pm (what with the traffic direction changing and all …), but its worth it. The ambience, as you can see, it quite nice. Its reasonably comfortable, without being overbearing, or for that matter, arrogant (ya, I find a few of them arrogant in their plushness!).

Coming to the food … we tried the Mutton Kasturi Kababs, which are the dream nuggets of a connoisseur. A dish which must be tried if you are even remotely interested in food. Definitely lip-smacking, though one has to be careful … don’t chomp off your fingers in the act! The Biryani (Chicken) here lives up to the formidable reputation of the establishment (generations have grown up on this Biryani, you see …), and the quantity is just right … doesn’t stuff you, and at the same time, you don’t feel hungry.

And of course, such a meal has to be topped with Dessert … and, whats better than a Firni at an establishment as revered as this? Calcutta, in fact, I find, consumes more of Firni than Delhi does (remember, the Firni is a native of the northern reaches of the country) … no, I am not complaining. Though, the Firni left a bit to be desired … nice, definitely nice, but … could have been better.

Coming to the service … well, we were a little early … in fact, probably the first ones to reach … but the service is definitely nice. Not too lax, and not too rushing, either. And, definitely pleasant!

Though, I wouldn’t like to end this on such a note … I would recommend Arsalan as a restaurant which is more than worth a visit next time you are in Calcutta, or the next time you go out to eat. And of course, if you would rather be home, then the take-away would be just what you could ask for.


Anonymous said...

Nice post. I prefer Biryani of Arsalan over Shiraz as well. If you are a Biryani lover then you should also go to The Royal sometimes. The ambience, location, etc is not at all impressive, but they serve the best Biryani/Firni in Calcutta.

Firni is my favorite sweet dish - much better than ice-creams/pastries etc. It tastes heavenly. But you know what? You should try having hot biryani, in the hot Calcutta afternoon in their non-ac(read hot) joint of Arsalan! Believe me, you will enjoy every moment of it - try tht sometimes.

Your post is very nice - it reminded me the last time I had Arsalan stuff - not even been one month even (i had it on 6th sept, my husband's bday) and am missing it already - we prefer take away most of the time, but parking your vehicle there is always a problem - but worth every bit (read bite) of it.

Atul said...

Thank you for the words of inspiration. And, your idea of having the Biryani at the non-A/C outlet sounds interesting. Maybe i will try that sometime. And yes, i too prefer the Arsalan Biryani to Shiraz ...

zahid said...

U guys have gone crazy nothing can beat Shiraz. Shiraz has its own brand name which can never be compared with a restaurant like Arsalan.