A restaurant review from the past.
P.S.-Not sure if anyone is in a place to critique anyone’s art form.
Having lived a majority of my life In Kolkata, food has always been an important focal point for everyone bread here. When one thinks of the evergreen restaurants that have withstood time and decay in Kolkata, Mocambo stand out. This heritage restaurant has been rooted in its neighbourhood of Kolkata’s busiest (now)commercial street for over 56 years. Whichever day of the week, there is always a queue scattered outside for both lunch and dinner services.
The crowd varies from new and old travellers, to office goers who are enjoying their ever so often late lunches, to families and awkward first dates, to old time couples, to the intellectual Bengali aristocrats sitting on these old red wabi wabi leather cushions poofed, yet preserved from decades of use.
Within second of entering the place, the echos of sizzlers and the delicious smells of mouthwatering food captures the senses. Mocambo serves over 105 customers at a time under dimly lit tables and a very cozy homely ambience.
Though there is always a lot of chatter and conversations in the air all around, one can zoom out and enjoy some quiet personal time during the late afternoon and early evenings. The various noises only add charm to this old world space.
The continental menu is large and there is something for everyone. From vegetarians to meat lovers. The portions are very generous and the meals are wonderfully balanced with satisfying portions of protein, starch and vegetables. Other than the western cuisines, there is a generous assortment of Indian dishes and some Chinese as well. I love how this one restaurant can fulfil many food cravings at a time. We ordered the crab cakes for appetisers and Chicken paprika and the vegetarian cannelloni.
The meat was wonderfully cooked and I thoroughly enjoyed the number of options and flavours my platter had. The food and flavours in general and very wholesome and sometimes almost overwhelming. the cannelloni was interesting. Am not a pineapple lover but I enjoyed the sweetness it added to the dish, as the server recommended we tried this heritage dish as it was. But at large it wasn't brilliant. The pasta was soft crepes , which wasn't half bad , but the flavour was too spiced. I suppose this is what the Indian pallete recognises and cherishes.
For desserts we had the baked Alaska, which we were advised to order at the beginning of our service, as it naturally takes sometime to bake. My sweet tooth wasn't very impressed as I expected little more considering the hype and stories i've heard from regular customers. Yet I was excited to have it flambeed next to my table with the soft fumes of the spirit burning right before it was served. The core of the meringue was excellent with the vanilla ice cream almost melted below.
The service was friendly and quite prompt considering how busy they were on a Wednesday afternoon post 3pm! During other visits I have eaten the Indian and the kebabs especially are mouthwatering.
In a nutshell, Mocambo has something for every mood and is very economical. The alcohol as well is very cheap, though they don’t have a large selection, but it’s good enough. Our total bill amount with beverages for two came to a little over 1300 INR considering the central location and quality of food. Maybe the chef could do with a little lesser use of fat, as sometimes the food was a little extra greasy.
Having said that, mocambo is one of the few restaurants I implore every traveller to explore, because apart from the brilliant food, the ambience and the sense of history in this restaurant, starting from the paintings inspired by Degas of the ‘Dancing girls’ on one wall to the mirrors and green plastic vines along the other wall, the atmosphere is general, should not go amiss!