Category Archives: Pop Up

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.

IMG_0976

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!

 

 

 

 

By the way, here is a shameless promotion for our social media. Show us some love!!!

Twitter: @calcuttast

Instagram: @calcuttastreet

Facebook: Calcutta Street

Friday evenings with Calcutta Street at Woodlands

I know I have been MIA (yeah I recently discovered this modern day lingo – Missing in action) but that is because a lot has been happening recently. I went back to Calcutta for the first time after I started Calcutta Street, and I thought it would be a nice idea to film a video there to give you a taste of REAL Calcutta. So I headed to The Hope Foundation Cafe in Calcutta and hosted a special PopUp with the girls (who have been rescued by The Hope Foundation and are now independent women) there.

However I have an exciting news to share – Now you can visit my Calcutta Street PopUps every Friday evenings at Woodlands Restaurant, Marylebone. So all those people who missed out on the PopUp’s due to date issues as it was just once a month you have no more excuses  now.

I will be making one exclusive Bengali Dish every Friday evening and you can’t start the weekend without Cocktails so I will be making some of those too 🙂

Here is the Menu:

Calcutta Street x Woodlands
Calcutta Street x Woodlands

Here are some photographs from the first week!

The menu was : Luchi – Alur Dum (Puffed Bread with Slow cooked potatoes with bengali spices) along with special cocktails – Rum Chai, Fresh off the boat and Maharaja Fashioned. You can find the recipe on the video above 🙂

 

 

Calcutta Street, Shrimoyee, Summer Menu

Calcutta Street Summer Party – Pelt Trader

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” –  I agree with Henry James and what is even better is Saturday Summer Afternoon!

We are celebrating 6 months  of Calcutta Street with a Summer Party – 1st August, Saturday 12pm – 4 pm at Pelt Trader craft beer bar in the city. The menu is very Summery and fresh with goodies like Prawns, Lentil soups, Yogurt, Tamarind. It is a 3 course menu with artisan beer pairing with each course. Yes, you heard that right – craft beer pairing with Indian food! Mark from Pelt Trader does know his beer really well and I am excited with the pairings he has done. There will also be live music by the very talented blues and country singer Charlie Walker!

This Pop up is also right after my 26th Birthday (Yes, I have stepped on the wrong side of 20) so you can always drop by to wish me Happy Birthday and try my special dessert – my mum used to make this for me on every birthday of mine. I am making few of my personal favourite dishes like Prawn Malai Curry, Simui Payesh (Kheer), Doi Phuchka, Paneer Posto. I am certain you won’t find most of these dishes in any London restaurant.

Menu:

Starter:

Doi Phuchka, Crispy semolina balls with potato, black chick pea, tamarind and yogurt filling. Very refreshing and Tangy – perfect for a summer snack. 

VP or Vivekananda Park in Calcutta has some of the best Doi Phuchka stalls where most bengali youngsters crowd every evening for the tangy snack with some lebu cha (lemon tea) and a cigarette or some good old grass.

Mains:

Musurir Dal with Gondhoraj Lebu, Boiled red lentils cooked with a slight hint of spice, nigella seeds, fresh green peas, coriander leaves, special scented lemons from bangladesh and a dash of home made ghee – Super heathy and tasty)

Every bengali’s comfort food and a bengali meal is never complete without a serving of Dal and Bhaat. This is the simplest dish ever but very few people get it right.

Chingri macher (Prawn) Malai Curry, Jumbo prawns cooked in a coconut and mustard sauce. 

This is every bengali’s favourite Sunday lunch, no special occasion is complete without this dish. When Rick Stein travelled to Kolkata, he picked this dish as his personal favourite.Prawn is called chingri in bengali.

Paneer Posto, Indian cottage cheese cooked in a nutty, poppy seed paste. This is my own recipe with very bengali ingredients. Contains nuts. 

The most famous poppy seed or posto dish in Calcutta is Aloo Posto, potatoes in poppy seed paste. This is also the favourite dish of Saurav Ganguly the famous Indian cricket team captain who took his shirt off at Lords when India won a match against England and then eventually got suspended. 

All mains served with boiled rice. 

Dessert:

Simui Payesh – Milk pudding with Vermicelli and sugar coated rose petals (served cold)

Since this Pop Up is right after my birthday, I decided to make the dessert which my mum made for me on every birthday of mine. Payesh is a must on birthday’s its meant to be auspicious. 

Drinks:

Mocktail: Aam Pora Shorbot – Smoked Raw mango pulp blended with a spice mix. Perfect cooler on a hot summer day. 

Cocktail: Aam Sura – Aam pora with bacardi. 

We also shot a little video with some of my customers and people who have been associated with Calcutta Street in any way.

BOOK TICKETS

summer_party_lr-01

I am hoping to see some of you on 1st and please do some and say hello!

Shrim

xxxx

Calcutta Street Bollywood Special at South Bank

Shrimoyee Chakraborty, Calcutta Street
Shrimoyee Chakraborty, Calcutta Street

So I have been taking you through my journey from Eatwithmeshrimoyee to Calcutta Street. I have been doing Pop-ups at restaurants for the last few months but this time I decided to take up the challenge of doing a food stall at a festival. It is a great opportunity for marketing your brand and reaching out to a wide range of people but it definitely has a lot of challenges. A lot of people have been asking me about the challenges of having a food stall, the first one would be getting all the licences and certificates including – HACCP, Food and Hygiene licence and certification with the local council. Once you overcome these you can have a food stall but then comes the challenges on the day, in order to maintain quality you need to be extremely organised and be prepared with everything including washing up liquid because you have no guarantee of a proper kitchen with a sink. And finally it’s always tricky to estimate the amount of food you should buy, so my suggestion would be to have clear idea of how much you need to sell to make a profit and just buy that amount otherwise you might just land up with a ton of extra food – no one can guarantee foot fall in a festival.

Mixing Yogurt
Mixing Yogurt

My experience at Bollywood Fever at South bank was great over all as I got fabulous response from the people who came, I also added an element of photobooth which people love at festivals and also brilliant for my branding! The dishes I made were extremely simple – Doi Phuchka, Doi Aam and Churmur. All these dishes except doi aam come from the streets of Calcutta and I was pleasantly surprised to see that everyone loved them as much as I do and the Indian’s said it reminded them of home.

Doi Phuchka
Doi Phuchka

Here is the Doi Phuchka recipe for you.

Ingredients (One plate)

  • Pani Puri (6) You can find them at any Indian store, try Bangla Town in Brick Lane.
  • Yogurt (1 cup)
  • Tamarind Sauce
  • Tamarind paste
  • Boiled and mashed Potato (1)
  • Kala Channa (Black Chick peas)
  • Cumin seeds, coriander powder, chilli flakes (1/2 tea spoon each)
  • Lemon Juice (1 Lemon)
  • Chaat Masala (You can find this at any Indian Store too)
  • Bhujiya (It’s similar to a bombay mix)
  • Fresh Coriander and Green chillies

Preparation:

  • Dry fry the cumin seeds, coriander powder and chilli flakes in a pan, don’t use any oil. After about 2-3 minutes you will start getting a beautiful aromatic smell from them and it will turn slightly red. Keep it aside.
  • Beat the yogurt to a fine consistency
  • Mash the potatoes add the dry fried spice mix to it, lemon juice, fresh coriander and chillies,kala channa and a tea spoon of tamarind paste. Then mash it all together.
  • Make holes in the pani puri’s and add the potato mix
  • Then arrange all 6 of them in a plate and add yogurt on top (1/2 spoon for each puri)
  • Then sprinkle the bhujiya and chaat masala on top
  • Finally add the tamarind sauce on top (1/2 tea spoon for each puri)
  • Garnish with corriander and green chillies.

Here are some photos from the event.

Calcutta Street – Bollywood Special at Southbank

Hello everyone!

I will be popping up again this weekend (23rd and 24th May) at Southbank at Bollywood Fever festival. I will be serving quintessential Calcutta Street Food including – Doi Phuchka (Pani puri with potato, yogurt, tamarind chutney and coriander); Churmur (Crunchy broken puri with potato, black chick peas and tamarind – very tangy) and Doi Aam (fresh alphonso mangoes with sweetened yogurt and cream – nomnom).

I shall post recipes for all of them very soon! And do drop in and say hello to me at the Calcutta Street Photo-booth too if you are in the area!

 

Calcutta Street Bollywood Special
Calcutta Street Bollywood Special

Cheers,

Shrim

xoxox

Jazz Evening at Calcutta Street – Pop Up at Stage3 Hackney

After the exciting Calcutta Street Sea Food Pop Up at Bonnie Gull (you can click on this link to read the review), I am popping up again at Stage3 Hackney with an evening of live Jazz with a classical Indian touch and a three course Bengali meal. And after popular demand I will be making special Bengali dessert this time. I am also going to start putting out the recipes of the all these dishes very soon here – so watch this space 🙂

Here are the posters and menu for the Pop Up on 4th May – 6pm – 9 pm. The venue Stage3 is part of a heritage theatre and just a 2 minute walk from Hackney central station. You can’t miss it!

Which Poster do you like more? Would love to know your feedback and looking forward to see some of you at Hackney!

Here is the Facebook Page for regular updates.

Book Tickets 

Jazz Evening at Calcutta Street
Jazz Evening at Calcutta Street

 

Jazz Evening at Calcutta Street
Jazz Evening at Calcutta Street

Calcutta Street Second Pop Up at Bonnie Gull, Exmouth Market

It was a bright sunny day on April 11 and London was basking in it’s full blown glory – how could I have a better day to host my second Calcutta Street, Seafood special Pop Up? I would love to thank each and every one who attended it and by the looks of it enjoyed my food. There is nothing more satisfying for me than to watch other people enjoy my food – It makes all the 18 hours of cooking and prep totally worth it.

And a massive Hi5 to all the staff at Bonnie Gull for being absolutely fabulous, efficient and super friendly – Makes a sea of a difference! An a bigger Hi5 to Luke Robinson (Head Chef) and Gavin (Exec Chef) for making the whole process so smooth sailing. Finally I can’t thank Cobra Beer and Lord Billimoria enough for sponsoring the beers, they definitely make the food taste better!

I wanted to share the photographs from the day with all of you (who care to read this blog). Hope to see some more of you at my next Pop Up!

 

 

Photographs by Kheya Chattopadhyay

My next Pop-Up will be a very special one as it has two of my favourite things Calcutta Food and Jazz (with some Indian instruments like sitar). Save the date!

Calcutta Street Jazz Special – 4th May (6 pm – 9 pm) at Stage 3, Hackney! 

More details to follow soon!

Love,

Shrim xx

 

Calcutta Street Sea Food Special at Bonnie Gull

Hello Everyone,

I am extremely excited to let you know that, at my second Calcutta Street Pop Up I aim to make some of the famous, mouth-watering seafood and fish dishes from Calcutta. These recipes are all extremely special because it comes from my mother’s kitchen and I have grown up on them. I will be cooking with Luke Robinson, Head Chef at Bonnie Gull and Cobra Beer is the official Partner.

Bonnie Gull Seafood Bar is an ode to the faded glory of British seaside towns. Rose-tinted memories of golden days by the sea: Pleasure beaches, fresh crab rolls on the pier, Mods & Rockers hurling deckchairs, whippy ice creams and jukeboxes full of sweet Northern Soul…And I am going to take these fresh crabs and give it a Bengali flavour.

Calcutta Street Sea Food Special
Calcutta Street Sea Food Special

Book Tickets 

I also made a trip to Brighton to get the real seafood feel and obviously to shoot some lovely images!

Hope to see some of you at the Pop Up on 11th April!

Love,

Shrim xx

Photography – Sukhdeep Krishan

Design- Sanket Alvani

Calcutta Street Food Pop Up (Camden)

After a month of running around, stress, promotions and a LOT of cooking finally my first Pop Up was launched at Zensai bar in Camden. I am overjoyed by the response as it was my first pop up and I wasn’t exactly expecting a lot of people to turn up, but to my surprise (an extremely pleasant one) there were more than 80 people. I apologise to all the people who had to wait for a while for the food (I will have more help next time).

Oh I also got some press coverage from The Asian Voice 

Asian Voice – Shrimoyee AV_P15

Asian Voice - Shrimoyee, Calcutta Street Food Pop Up
Asian Voice – Shrimoyee

 

Menu

Calcutta Street
Calcutta Street

I wanted to share some of the photo’s from the event with all of you from the day!

I hope to see some of you at my next one, I shall let you know about the date and time! 🙂

Cheers,

Shrim xx

Calcutta Street – My first Pop Up restaurant

Hello everyone!

After 4 years of blogging, cooking, food reviewing and eating, I have decided to start my own food Pop Up – Calcutta Street – An East Indian Street Food experience. 

Calcutta Street
Calcutta Street

I am cooking along with Asia House resident chef Paul Bloomfield and we are planning to cook up a storm in the kitchen. Steve, the owner and DJ of Zensai will be playing some Bollywood Psyc Funk music – cherry on the cake! So it will be an afternoon of food, drinks and fun!

With this ticket you can have any of the 3 dishes below – The portions are big, I am generous with food 🙂

You can book your tickets here 

Menu:

Food:
Phuchka – the Bengali version of Pani Puri
Bengali Lamb Curry with Potatoes and Luchi (Commonly known as Puri)
Egg Roll – You have seen the video I made?
Pav Bhaji – The Bengali version of the famous Mumbai Street Food
Cocktails:
bollywood martini ( bombay sapphire gin/bols yoghurt liqueur/mango pulp/homemade garam masala syrup/star anais)
tamarind mint julep ( jack daniels/ mint leaves/lime/tamarind pulp/crushed ice/fresh tamarind)
curry leaf and coriander martini ( grey goose vodka/curry leaves/coriander/lillet rose/lime juice)
plantation daquiri ( plantation 5 year old barbados rum/mahini coconut rum,plantation overproof trinidad rum/trois rivieres sugar cane/lime twist/air dried coconut)
It’s my first baby step in starting something bigger so will really appreciate if you come and support me!
Here is a sneak peak of the photo shoot I did, video will follow 🙂
Look forward to see you all on 7th March at Camden!
Cheers,
Shrim