In today's episode, we have embarked on an amusing gastronomic journey exploring some legendary eateries from Jamshedpur with our genial and gracious host Varun. An avid foodie just like us and the owner of the very popular Cafe Regal, Varun knows the city's food scenario in and out. Today he is taking us to places that have a special place in the hearts of the locals. So folks from the city, gear up for a nostalgic ride.
We first went to Lal Ji Lokpuri Kulhar Tea stall where Varun is frequent. Parked on the side of the road it is definitely one of the best places in the city to have tea. We tried the tandoori chai which is fabled for its smoky and earthy overtones. The end product is achieved by pouring the regular masala chai brew into charcoal heated clay tumblers. From the first sip itself, we were a fan.
After that brilliant cuppa Varun took us to Ramesh Kulfi eatery whose legacy dates back to 1972. Contrary to its name the most popular dish over here is the mutton attey that is served along with rice. This is a rich and spicy mutton curry that is prepared with no or very little water. As a result of being slow-cooked, the meat was super tender and rich in flavour. Here we also tried some chingri biryani, chusta, kulfi and langcha. The latter one is a deep-fried cottage cheese-based sweet from Bengal and we loved every bit of it.
Next Varun took us to his own cafe situated in an old mansion named Bharucha Mansion which is a landmark of the city. This place is renowned for its relaxed and vintage ambience and outstanding homestyle Parsi food because most of the recipes over here are heirloom/traditional Parsi fares handed down to him by Varun's mother and grandmother. He was generous enough to treat us to a huge spread that included Belgian French fries, chicken cutlet, akori, brown rice, veg dhansak, Afghani chicken (a recipe from the Persian Royal kitchen), chicken kebab, vegetable bake and lagan nu custard. To our good fortune, we were joined by Varun's friend Deb who runs a very popular Indian influenced bistro in France named Deb's bistro. Learning about the nuances of Parsi food and the legacy of this community over here from Varun was truly enriching.
After that gluttony, we visited Dil Khush Ice Chaat stall for the crazy sweet treat called ice chaat. Yes, you heard it right. It is perhaps named so because of the whole array of sweet ingredients that is heaped on a ball of ice shavings. Although it was quite sweet for our palate, we couldn't stop till we finished it.
From there we went to the iconic Howrah Bakery which is run by a family who had migrated from Howrah. The young proprietor served us some of their bestselling and pocket-friendly fares like the Kutkuti biscuit, hello brother cookies and rich plum cake. All these products were quite good. Moreover, it was a cheerful place full of irresistible cakes and cookies.
Then we reached another old establishment named Cafe De Green, a place for delicious and affordable kebabs, rolls and tandoori items. Here we tried the tawa fried chicken kebabs. It was a simple perfectly grilled kebab that is stir-fried over a griddle with onions and chillies. This unique cooking process added a nice spicy note to it.
Next, it was time for some sweets. And for this Varun took it to the New Chappan Bhog outlet near the bus stand. We got ourselves besan gajak and five more varieties of sweets. But as we were getting late for departure to Dhanbad, we couldn't try them all. The besan gajak with its toasty flavour and crumbly texture reminded us of patissa. We packed the remaining sweets for eating on our way.
In the last leg of this insane yet gratifying food tour we rushed the food street near the bus stand with the intention to try chilli chicken and fried rice. As the carts over here were located close to each other, we were showered with small servings of pav bhaji, litti and golgappa by the enthusiastic owners. Due to that lack of time, we could stay back for long to engage in a conversation with the vendors but we loved every bit of the dishes.
Heartfelt thanks to Varun for this crazy food tour.