One of the hippest and happening areas in Kolkata, Bhowanipore is one place you will find cultural plurality in its most vivid form. From the vibrant intermingling of cultures to the many food joints that are spurring out the best of delicacies, this area is known for its hangout spots and people friendly mindset alike.
There’s much more to Bhowanipore than meets the eye, here’s what you ought to try whenever heading to this hood next:
Balwant Singh’s Eating House aka Balwant Dhaba
Had to start with the legends in the hood, how else could we justify the food scene in the hood.
Pocket Pinch: Rs. 450 for two (approx)
Must Try: Doodh Cola or Fanta, Chai, and the parathas
My Big Fat Belly
One of the new kids on the block; but you can go here without thinking twice. Specializes in American & Italian Cuisine.
Pocket Pinch: Rs. 700 for two (approx)
Must Try: The Ultimate Juicy Lucy Burger, Chicken Wings, Chocolate Mousse
One of the better places for sheesha and sports coupled together. Essentially a sports themed café with live screenings during major sports events.
Pocket Pinch: Rs. 800 for two (approx)
Must Try: Sheesha, Kit-Kat Shake, Mexican Rice, Nachos
Balaram Mullick & Radharaman Mullick Sweets
This sweet heaven is where you should head to if you’re having some serious sweet cravings when in the hood. They have been around since 1885; Yeah that long, so obviously they can’t be doing anything wrong. Sweet out! 😉
Pocket Pinch: Rs. 300 for two (approx)
Must Try: Chocolate Sandesh, Baked Rosogolla, Radhaballavi, Dhakai Paratha, Mango Sandesh
If you’re in the mood for some kickass Bengali food or just looking forward to some quick snacking, this is the place to go.
Pocket Pinch: Rs. 400 for two (approx)
Must Try: Fish fry, Fish Kaviraji, Mutton Cutlet
Sharma Tea House
How can we miss out on Kochuri and Sabzi, right? Well, no words needed for this place if all you want is the good old anytime snack.
Pocket Pinch: Rs. 100 for two (approx)
Must Try: Kachori Sabzi, jalebi, Gulab Jamun, Lassi
One of the old guns in the hood, this lesser known place is known to dish out some really good vegetarian north Indian fare without costing a bomb. Don’t keep your expectations as high as the sky though.
Pocket Pinch: Rs. 450 for two (approx)
Must Try: Dal Makhani, Lassi
The Biker’s Café
If you like bikes, all American food and music, think no more! This is where you should head to without a second thought. Be sure to go with loaded pockets if you mean to settle down with a hearty meal.
Pocket Pinch: Rs. 1100 for two (approx)
Must Try: Penne Pasta, Peri-Peri Burger, Waffle, Club Sandwich
Newest Buzz in the Hood
Celavi as the French name represents “its life”; the place itself offers a proper amalgamation of American café, lounge, multi-cuisine restaurant, live music; bar and an amazing roof-top space to dine and experience the beautiful view of the city.
Pocket Pinch: Rs. 1000 for two (approx)
Must Try: Mushroom Risotto, Mango Mojito, Sheesha
Blink and you’ll not miss this narrow strip of a restaurant with its matt-black frontage, the name painted in possible bright colors. Inside, pared-back, minimal surroundings allow the no-fuss Italian food to do the talking. The LIVE kitchen takes the best of the day’s produce and crafts a menu of bold simplicity, offering just minimal yet authentic Pasta’s & Wood Fire Pizza’s.
Pocket Pinch: Rs. 600 for two (approx)
Must Try: Tiramisu, Ricotta Ravioli, Spaghetti
Touted as the ‘New Market’ of Bhawanipore, this shopping district gives some serious competition to the central Kolkata market. You will find almost anything you need, from clothes and textile materials to iron & steel goods to vegetables and fish. If you are in Bhowanipore, and whether you want to go street shopping or maybe you are looking for that perfect match for the wedding attire that you simply can’t find at the malls, Jaggu Bazaar is where you head to.
Kolkata’s first Mall, Forum Mall has stood the test of time and how! This place introduced Kolkattans to the experience of Multiplex Cinema, High Brand shopping and fine dining. And Bhawanipore is the area where this wonder of a place was built to take the entertainment quotient of Kolkata a notch higher. Forum Mall is where you go when you’re looking for branded clothes, or designer couture and the likes. Entertainment, food, and shopping is what you get under one roof at Forum Mall. Also, this place seems to be the hood’s one of the favourite meet and hangout spots and people just can’t get enough despite numerous other malls propping up at different locations in the city.
Places of Interest
Netaji Bhawan (Netaji’s Residence) is a building maintained as a memorial and research center to the life of the Indian freedom fighter “Netaji” Subhas Chandra Bose in Kolkata. The house, built by Bose’s father in 1909, is owned and managed by the Netaji Research Bureau and includes a museum, archives, and library.
Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee’s house
Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee was a prolific Bengali educator and the second Indian Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calcutta for four consecutive two-year terms (1906–1914) and a fifth two-year term (1921–23). Perhaps the most emphatic figure of Indian education, he was a man of great personality, high self-respect, courage and towering administrative ability. And a visit to his home should be a must for all history lovers and others alike.
This park in the middle of the Bhowanipore area is where most people of all ages go to play or exercise or simply to take in nature’s spectacle. A little known fact is that during the Indian freedom struggle, nationalists of the movement used to address meetings and rallies at this park. Northern park, perhaps, is one of the most integral parts of the socio-cultural aspects of Bhowanipore.
Photographs by Rohan Shah