What an interesting dinner pop-up, by invitation only, was enjoyed by all who were lucky enough to be invited by Sharmila Basu Thakur to her place.

Now Sharmila is not only a very good cook, but is also a trained classical dancer, editor, writer, designer of garments and gifts and much, much more. She has a wildly eclectic group of friends and on Saturday, total strangers were invited to partake of a lovely meal with interesting and diverse company. Although most of us were unknown to the others, but once the ice was broken, we had a superb evening together. There were those from the NGO community, a popular Bengali actor, an on-line media specialist, a photographer, a poet, and the wife and daughter of one of Bengal’s favorite stars among others present.

Naturally we discussed the current movie scene, poetry, songs, fashion and travel whilst enjoying Sharmila’s hospitality.

As an ice-breaker, we were offered Sharmila’s home-made red wine which was so good that many of us ordered several bottles from her. The dinner commenced with appetizers of creamy and hot Jacket Potatoes with Cheese and Corn. These were polished off as soon as they got onto our plates. This was followed by a delicious Pumpkin Soup with Chili Oil on the side. We were then served a good helping of Smoked Chicken Pate served with Toast after which we received an interesting and tasty Salad with Hung Curd and Herb accompanied by Bread Rolls. The pièce de résistance was the Pork Curry with Steamed Rice entrée which was so tender and appealing that most of us had second helpings. Finally, feeling totally satiated, we were treated to Panna Cotta in shot glasses for dessert.

The evening then continued to Tagore poetry readings from the guests interspersed by Rabindrasangeet beautifully sung by Sujoy, and discussion on current affairs.

If you are ever so lucky to be invited by Sharmila, I would strongly suggest you immediately accept her invite, because you are unlikely to have such a delightful and totally unexpected evening with strangers, who turn into your friends over a 2-hour meal, interspersed with interesting conversation and wine.