Floatel – India’s only 4 star Floating Hotel has something very unique for its customers this Pujo. From the 26th through the 30th of September, Kolkatan’s will get to experience the first-of-its-kind Bhoj which will entail Bengali preparations influenced from Awadhi and Mughlai cuisines (established by Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, during his exile in British Calcutta) as well as the larger Raj Bari’s of the city. This special offer will be available  24x7 at Flotel’s restaurant ‘The Bridge’ from Shasthi through to Bijaya Dashomi with Baul music, magic shows and gifts galore as accompaniment to this exotic menu.

In honor of this forthcoming festival, the charming and ever gracious Subha Pal, proprietress of Flotel invited a few of her friends to experience this sumptuous meal laid out by her ever-thoughtful staff for  ourdining pleasure. What gave the meal a pleasant twist, was the wonderful view of river boats and launches passing by with their curious customers who looked longingly at the bounteous spread on the table and occasionally waved rather shyly as their boats sailed by.

Once seated, we were offered two varieties of ‘welcome drinks’ – Ganga Bilashi Gandharaj Ghol and Kaancha Aamer Pora Sorbat. The Gandharaj Ghol was a unique blend of sweet and sour and just hit the spot, thus most of us ordering a second round! This was followed by a myriad of salads which we skipped as the starters kept our gastronomic queries flowing. Can you conceive of having a Bengali Pujo Bhoj made in Mughlai style?  Well, this was it! The genuine article. A harmonious blend of two culinary kitchens combining disparate yet complementary palates in perfect synchronization!

The Mutty Lal Siler Priyo Macher Kobiraji and Lokhnoiee Thunda Murgh Sheekh were accompanied with Aloo Jhinge Posto, Nawabi Handi, Dhokar Dalna, Sona Moonger Dal Rai Kishori among others. The guests kept the questions flowing for the staff on hand on how the dishes were prepared and what ingredients were used to obtain certain flavors.

For the main course we were served dishes from the various Raj Bari’s of Kolkata such as Aam Kasundi Paturi, Prince Dwarkanather Badam Bata Murgi, Ram Chandra Sil Barir Malai Chingri, Nawab Wajid Ali’s Special Biriyani, Begun Basanta and various varieties of Bhaja. All were accompanies by rice and a variety of breads.

Finally when we had reached bursting point, the myriad of desserts were rolled in including -  Raaj Bhog, Bhola Moirar Dorbesh, Bowbazarer Rabri, Nobin Moirar Mishti Doi, Lady Gini, Hate Mara Makha Sandesh (my personal favorite), Komola Bhog and Aam Sandesh.

A big vote for thanks to Subha for inviting us to this veritable feast and for constantly re-inventing the Floatel − whether through its food, artistic performances, its art gallery or theater. This is surely one Durga Puja Bhoj which should be on one’s list of ‘things to experience’ this year!