Not long ago, a typical Bengali breakfast would consist of luchi (Bengali deep fried flatbread), kochuri (deep fried stuffed flatbread), alur torkari (potato curry) or daal (Bengali sweet and spicy lentil curry). Bread, butter, jam or omelettes were consumed occasionally and the breakfast used to end with desserts called jilipis. But, what should you do, if you have a sudden urge to taste those today? Definitely you can make them at home anytime, but easier would be to enter an eatery serving them. Horidas Modak, located bang on Shyambazar crossing is one such place.
Located on the intersection of the road going towards Belgachhia and the one going towards Shealdah, it looks really shabby from outside. If you have a problem with these type of places, do not enter. Because it is shabby inside too. There is a sweets counter right over the footpath and if you are facing it, enter through the door to your left. You will enter a dining hall with few tables and benches and a room which looks like not being maintained for ages. Although the place looks shabby, the best thing here is food is served in banana leaves. While in one hand you get to experience the fading Bengali culture (when we were young a banana leaf plate was common even at marriages), it is also more hygienic than eating from an utensil cleaned in the shabbier kitchen.
Kochuris along with daal are served in the morning, till lunch time. And after that it is luchi and alur torkari. We tried both. The kochuri was average. You will get better kochuris at lower prices from any roadside stall. But the reason for coming here is the daal. Not many places serve daal with kochuris, and if you love that combo, this is one of the places. The quality of daal, though still decent, have deteriorated over the ages. So, don’t expect great quality, come here only if you are longing for this combo.
The quality of luchi here is not consistent. On some days they are made decent, on others they become too crisp and would break at the slightest touch. Not a sign of a good luchi. You should be able to tear it off with ease and it should not break when you try to do so. The potato curry served along with it is great though. It is the traditional Bengali curry where the potatoes are cooked with their skin on. Another thing which you won’t find in too many places. So come here to taste the potato curry and if you are lucky you would also get decent luchis.
Their sweets are different from what you get in a typical Calcutta shop. The Rosogolla here is not spongy. And you will get Kalojam which is quite hard to find in a city shop these days. Both are decent. The Chhanar Jilipi was also good. But a tad too sweet for us.
The luchis and kochoris, at 5 and 6 Rupees per piece respectively, are priced quite steep. But still we visit this place whenever we miss the kochuri-daal combo, the potato curry with skin on, the banana leaf plates or the kalojam. If you are nearby, visit them to dig into the Bengal, which was common even twenty years back.