Review of Bong Bong: Spicy And Sweet Trip To Bangla

Sandwiched between South Side Café and the iconic Khane Khaas in Bandra, Bong Bong is an old-fashioned little Bengali restaurant that will give you a cosy vibe if it’s empty, which is highly doubtful. It used to be a takeaway joint earlier but with its increasing legion of dedicated fans, it expanded just a little. By the end of this review you will know whether size really does matter.

We walked straight into the sets of Barfi! There was even a Murphy radio poster and a bicycle. It looked like an archetypal local eatery in a cold-ish region with men in mufflers and monkey caps. But the men were replaced by shall we say modern-age women and the décor looked like enough thought was put into it. Literally comprising four tables in the inner section, the place is small but does not fail to amuse you with its old school cycle (there is one just lazily parked against a wooden wall), posters of famous Bengalis, ceiling-hung dim lantern lights and even a retro radio that plays tunes from the times of Doordarshan in Bangla. The only hitch was that even if you try not to eaves drop, the neighbouring conversations would be audible and the legendary door would make a thudding sound every time someone shut it. Is that how it is in a Bengali home- fast paced movement, fishy fragrance and intelligent talks? We are not complaining, with time the whole atmosphere just grows on you.

For non-Bengalis such as us, we were excited for our authentically modern meal to start. A bite of the Mango Pickled Steamed Fish had me tasting so many flavours at one time. I would call it the ‘soft as butter-spicy-tangy-bursting with spices fish’ that reminded me of the times we would sneakily dig into the second floor dadiji’s achaar jar. It was like going back in time and reliving the good memories. We tried their vegetarian Twin Cheese and Spinach Croquettes that were average, spicy nonetheless. The coating could’ve have been crispier but it went well with the Plastic Sweet Papaya Chutney that you have to order separately. We’d say skip the European dominated dishes and go for the traditional ones. All the hotness in our mouth needed a chilled sweet drink for some cool. Unfortunately, Coke and Sprite were going to be our only saviours – they came in with funky disco light ice cubes. We turned into happy 13 year olds fascinated by colourful light. It was in a glass of Coke! Fancy, yes but did it keep our drinks cold, no. After a huge gulp, we were ready to take on the main course.

The presentation of the dry cooked Kosha Chicken looked fantastic yet simple and its aroma filled the air with cheerful anticipation. The four half parathas that came with it were dipped in oil and as my fellow closet-poet diner said: “From fried starters to oily breads, weight-watchers have a lot to dread.” The parathas were definitely delicious and the chicken too was flavoursome, well cooked and succulent. Service was below the mark because the place is small, the people are many and the menu is promising.

Because we wanted to try their Baked Roshogulla even before we started eating the tuk taks (starters of course), we were willing to overeat as long as our dessert craving was fulfilled. Now usually roshogulla comes without milk, the Bong Bong one came with a creamy milk sauce and sprinkles of nut flakes. It was sweet, light and just what we needed to end our fiery meal on a sweet note. Special mention to the portions at Bong Bong: this meal for two could definitely accommodate a third person.

It’s a charming tiny room packed with Bong culture, this one!

A meal for two at Bong Bong would cost approximately Rs. 1,200.

Address: Silver Croft, 16th Road, Near Khane Khas, Bandra (W), Mumbai

- Sneha Mankani

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