LG 25 & 26, Jaipuria Sunrise Market, Indirapuram, Ghaziabad, NCR
Timings: 10:30 am to 10:30 pm
Meal for two:?Rs 400
This tiny Bengali eatery is the one you want to turn to in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. As I have, too many times to remember: nursing a flu with the homely goodness of their khichdi (Rs 80) and wonderfully crunchy aloo jhuri bhaja (Rs 50). Or indulging in mayer haater ranna nostalgia with their flavourful aloo dum (Rs 60), chhanar dalna (Rs 80), lau ghanto (Rs 60). Or attending to unexpected, ravenous guests with the never-fail doi machh (Rs 120), machher matha diye moong dal (Rs 80) and chicken kosha (Rs 130), the gravy rich enough to impress, but never too heavy.
That’s what makes Chilika Lake’s menu such a keeper. The food, over the last one year or so of its existence, remains consistently first-rate, not to mention superbly economical, the spices freshly ground and authentic. The shukto (Rs 70) is light and fresh, flavoured just as my grandmother would. The mutton biriyani, served typically with egg and chunky aloo (Rs 140), makes it the perfect order for the Sunday the cook doesn’t turn up and you’re feeling lazy. The bulky and under-spiced begun bhaja (Rs 25), though, just doesn’t cut it, nor, sadly, do their roti and luchi. Chilika Lake, with its small counter in the neighbourhood market, is good only for ordering in, but they do deliver to neighbouring areas of Noida and East Delhi. But for all practical purposes of attending to a growling tummy, this gem is as good as they come.