Category Archives: Calcutta Street

Calcutta Street – the menu discovery

Hi everyone!

Today I’m going to let you all know about the inspiration behind the dishes of Calcutta Street. Obviously the main courses and the bulk of the Calcutta Street menu are inspired by my mum’s cooking, but a HUGE part of the inspiration (as the name might suggest) is Calcutta itself. Calcutta is a vibrant city which is so rich in culture and history, but when I was growing up, the thing I really appreciated (and still do) was the food.

When I was growing up, my mum would always make incredible food, but as a child you never fully appreciate the great cooking you have at home, so the food I most looked forward to as a young girl was often snacks and desserts from my favourite hubs. One I often visited that you might have heard of is Golpark. Golpark was just down the road from my house on Gariahat Road, and is still full of snack vendors and food stalls. The variety of food was staggering – anything a young child could possibly want, from phuchka to ghoogni, to kebabs and chops. Some of my most fond childhood memories are making my way home from school, and picking up a snack from Golpark.

On Saturdays, when I had dance classes instead of school, I used to love skipping lunch at home (sorry Mum!!), and head over to New Market for an egg roll from Badshah or Bedouin. When it came to putting street food on the menu, having egg rolls was a no-brainer; they’re a real staple of Bengali street food.

Another staple of Bengali cuisine is sweets; Bengalis can’t have a fridge without sweets in it at all times of the day. My mum and grandad (even though he has diabetes!) always made sure that there were sweets from Chittaranjan Avenue at home. My mum especially always made the effort to trek all the way there to get our favourites. Even though we can’t actually bring Chittaranjan Avenue to London, we’ll do our best to make a Bengali home in Fitzrovia, sweets and all!!

So that’s my trip down memory lane, and I can’t wait to bring my small part of Calcutta to London for all of you to enjoy. See you soon!!

Shrimoyee

P. S. Here’s a video where I’m making the Doi Phuchka:

 

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From food blogging to Calcutta Street – the journey

 

Hi everyone!

I am so sorry for spending so much time away from my lovely blog that has got me where I am today. I promise to be a regular again (and I mean it this time!). The reason I’ve been so quiet is because I’ve been busy working towards the launch of my restaurant Calcutta Street, which is opening on 18th July at 29 Tottenham Street, London (Just off Goodge street station) and this blog post is to fill you in on the crazy journey its been!

For all of you who have been following this blog from the start in 2010 – MASSIVE HUGS! Seriously, if you hadn’t followed, encouraged, and supported me back then (when I was posting those horrible webcam videos), I probably would have given up.

In December 2014, I decided to go on a soul-searching trip to the USA all by myself. If you have been a follower, then you might have read my post (and you’ll know that it was more eating than soul searching!) and I had a eureka moment; I knew I wanted to start my food popup.

eureka 3

I got back to London and mulled the idea over for a few months before I decided on a name for the popup – Calcutta Street. Magically, I found a lovely restaurant owner; Steve from Zensai who let me use his restaurant to host a popup. That’s when it all really began – 7th March, 2015.

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You can follow the rest of the first year on this very blog through articles and posts about the popups – just scroll down and you can see.

Popups are one thing but opening a restaurant in London is a whole different game – I had always dreamt about it but had thought that it was too far-fetched to achieve.

But that doesn’t mean it was a smooth ride, because each time I even mentioned the idea of starting a restaurant, I would hear the same things a thousand times:

“You are crazy!”

“You are twenty-six, a girl and international on top of that – you will never raise funding.”

“Restaurant is a tricky business, don’t quit your steady job.”

“No one gives funding to single-founder businesses.”

So on and so forth.

But I thought – OK, all that might be true but where’s the harm in trying? I might end up homeless (because I won’t have money to pay rent) but I have friends who will happily lend me their couch to sleep on! I might end up crying every day, but salt water is good for your skin!

So I did it. I decided to quit my job and take the plunge. I wrote a business plan, presented it to people, began the property search, and before I knew it I was fully funded! OK, so I missed out the crying sessions, sleepless nights and surviving on one meal a day bit – but that’s just part of the job!

Next came the tricky part; the fifty-year-old commercial property owners, who firstly refused to believe that I was twenty-six (do I really look like I’m in high school?!), and that I had the money or skills to start a restaurant. Three properties fell through and I eventually found a home in Fitzrovia – my favorite restaurant spot in London. Good things happen those who wait (even if they don’t wait patiently!!).

Finally, after jumping all these hurdles, I managed to gather together a team – project manager, creative director, architect, interior designer, branding guru, menu developer and builders. A bunch of us flew to Calcutta for a research trip for a week, had a blast shopping and soaking in every bit of the wonderful city. The trip also gave me an opportunity to introduce my team to my mum’s delicious home cooking, which after all was the inspiration behind everything!

I’ll spare you the boring parts of legal, structural engineering, building control, property issues, and get right on to the fun stuff, like building the site, writing the menu copy, creating the website, design, identity, recruitment, music development, food development and all sorts of exciting things. All these different elements make it feel like I’m directing a movie, and the premiere is on the 18th July! It’s exciting and stressful, but after all this, can I handle criticism about my baby? All I want is everyone to love it as much as I do, and even though I know that you can’t please everyone, if you guys keep showing the love that you always have, then that would be enough. I promise to keep entertaining you, keep in touch, and not disappoint you – even if that means the occasional silly video!

 

 

 

 

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