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The worldwide glory of Kolkata rests not just on its rich history and heritage, diverse cultural and deep intellectual canvas but also on its irresistible food scenario that is a convergence of subtle and robust flavours. So today we are exploring the go to food items that thrives in the historic, vibrant and nostalgic lanes of North Kolkata along with our gracious host Pamela Das.

Before heading to College street or Boi Para as it is locally known as, we had to commence our food tour in the city with the ubiquitous Bengali sweet Rosogolla that is one of the soul foods of this historical city. And for this Pamela took us to Chittaranjan Mistanna Bhandar who Rosogollas are deemed as the best in this part of the city. True to its reputation, each of the syrupy white balls transported us to a state where there was complete bliss. It was fascinating to learn about the evolution of sweets especially the Rosogolla from Pamella.

Every nook and corner of North Kolkata is replete with history, a significant chunk of which relates to the Colonial rule. We visited the Shobabazar Rajbari which is among one of the oldest royal houses of Kolkata aristocracy. This important heritage site is famous for its annual Durga Puja celebrations in the month of October-November.


From there we reached the 300 plus year old potter’s colony called Kumartuli, that is the largest workshop for clay idols, sculptures and earthenware. Watching the artisans in action was a fascinating sight to behold. From there we covered a distance of nearly 3 kms to reach our next destination, College street. It is a huge area lined with books shops. College street is the learning center as it also harbours some of the oldest schools, colleges and universities.

We started our food trail with Radhaballabhi, Cholar Dal, Aloo Dum and Misti Doi from Putiram, a century old iconic sweet shop in the area whose sweets and breakfast snack are a craze with students, professors, teachers and locals. The food was subtle yet delicious. And the ambience especially the stone tables and the wooden furniture spoke of its glorious heritage.

Then we headed to another heritage shop named Paramount that has been serving an eclectic range of refreshing flavoured drinks since 1918. We opted for tender coconut and tamarind sherbet. As the drinks were being prepared, Pamela informed us how the place used to be a center of nationalists activities during the freedom struggle. Both the drinks were totally contrasting in taste yet amazing.

Our next destination was Indian Coffee House. Situated in the academic hub of Kolkata, the College Street, it is a favourite destination for hangouts not only for the students of nearby schools and colleges (Presidency college, Vidyasagar College etc.) but also the office goers and intellectuals of Kolkata. And all this glory is due to the colonial nostalgia that it boasts of. We tried their black coffee called Infusion and learnt about its history from our host. The food here is decent the ambience is magnetic.

Our penultimate stop was Dilkhusa Cabin, a 102 year old eatery that mostly serves cutlets and croquettes among other popular Indian dishes. We tried there Bhetki Kabiraji that was super greasy but delectable. These cabins used to serve as private eating spaces for the womenfolks of the aristocrat families who came to try European snacks. And the word Kabiraji is a distortion of the word coverage that refers to the egg and flour coating over the fish fillet. The final stop in this leg of our trail was Favourite cabin. This humble eatery that now serves basic snacks like tea, toast, cakes etc to the masses who loves adda or group talks was once the favourite hangout zone for eminent freedom fighters, leaders, poets and intellectuals like Netaji, Kavi Nazrul etc.

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Indian Coffee House

Back to the bygone era: Indian Coffee House, CP

By Sanskrit Nagar

A place where you have an almost ideal mix of sunlight and shade, where the wild and the civilized are in perfect harmony, no one disturbs while you brainstorm over a meal that is as cheap as it was quite a few years back. And when I say, “quite a few years back”, your mind takes you to just one place, yes Indian Coffee House.


The oldest café in Delhi, where revolutionaries and freedom fighters once met, greets you with unbelievably cheap prices and plenty of space to sit in. The balcony or the inner area is entirely up to you. The space is enough to accommodate the daily footfall but lacks maintenance. The benches might be a tad bit uncomfortable for some but they make you feel like the second floor of Mohansingh Palace has seized time.

The staff is polite but not too interested, their uniform which has lost its charm over the years still will fascinate you. Your order will take a minimum of 20 minutes to be served unless you have super-human communication skills or a constant smile on your face. My cold coffee with ice-cream and chowmein arrived in exactly 10 minutes and were both value for money. I played safe by filling my tummy with the popular items but you could also try Dosa, Scrambled eggs or the Cheese omelet. The food has that typically generic North Indian flavor to almost everything you but it is all served fresh and hot. You could probably try everything and even then the bill wouldn’t burn a hole in your pocket.

A few things to note about ICH are, first – the bamboo stick beside every table. These are to shoo away monkeys who stroll about almost every day. Second – the desperate fact that ICH needs a makeover or soon it will be nothing but a place that serves cheap food. Third –  please carry a lot of patience and time when you visit ICH as you may just want to chill for a while.

Personal recommendation- Cold coffee with ice-cream

Price for two- Rs 200

Anubhav Sapra
Anubhav Sapra is an avid foodie! He is a Founder but proudly calls himself a Foodie-in-chief at Delhi Food Walks. He is also a street-food and Indian regional cuisine connoisseur and loves to write about street-food.