We Indians have a special place for ‘Aam – the King of Fruits’ in our lives, and Aamras tops the list of summer dreams for many. On an invitation to Kolkata Food Bloggers, I visited Rajdhani, Park Street, to get a taste of their ongoing Aamlicious Festival.
The place has quite a sizeable seating capacity, and even during the weekday evening when I went, the place was thronged by many. The huge steel tray, lined with a dozen little, steel katoris welcomed us, and within moments, all of it was filled with goodies which are not so easily available in the city.
There were obviously the regular Rajma Masala, Matar Paneer etc but as the name of the festival suggested, the platter was dominated by the summer fruit, in both its sweet and tangy avatars. The menu changes every day, but every day the thaali boasts of around a dozen mango items.
The Aam Panna was not loaded with artificial colours, and wasn’t extra sweet, and hence suited my palate well. Out of the variety of flat breads served, including Makai ki Roti, Puri, Keri Thepla, Phulka etc, the thepla with a mango twist was my favorite. The two rice items, Mango Polao and Khichdi, both were brilliant. The former had whole roasted cumin and tiny raw mango pieces in the rice, giving an unique aroma and sour bursts; while the latter, laden in ghee, and perfectly seasoned, was sheer joy.
The star of the meal for me was the Aam-ras, coupled with the pooris, and it was surely a match made in heaven. But the Aam Kadi gave it tough competition and came a close second. The best thing about the meal was that , even though out of around 30 items served, 10 or more had mango in them, the fruit did not over-power all other tastes and flavours, rather accentuated them with its royal touch.
Another stand-out for me was the Mango Jalebi, and contrary to what many would expect, it had raw mango instead of ripened ones. Shaped like a flat donut, it had a crispy, brown exterior, a bite into which revealed the slightly tangy inner ring of succulent, semi-raw mango.
My plate looked like a million dollars, with its pop of colours. And the well-trained and genial staff made sure I over-stuff myself. Washing your hands in a brass basin at your table, the server pushing you to eat a little more, the warm smiles and the happy chatter around, made this place an instant comfort zone of mine. It’s perfect for a hearty, family meal, with an ample dose of mangoes, and is a must visit this summer.
In an all you can eat format, this pure vegetarian thaali at Rs.425/- is a good deal indeed, and one is surely to feel at home here, in every sense. Such a splendid show of Mango, in so many forms in a single thaali, without being repetitive in taste, is no mean feat, and they have achieved it brilliantly.