I was on the hunt down for a pocket-friendly restaurant as we were going to commend the big birthday bash ahead of time for my ‘male-companion-in-need’. A casual search in Zomato gave me away glorious reviews of Lokahaar– the restaurant with quintessential Bengali cuisine specialty.
On the off chance you are not familiar with Jodhpur Park rear way, it is hard to find this eatery. A prior phone-call to the official bistro number is highly recommended to get the apt direction.
Finally, when we got the opportunity to stand in front of this neat and small restaurant at late evening, the simple and clean entrance made a decent impact on me.
Once inside we discovered that the bistro was mostly empty barring one table. Here, a group of three was discussing something in quieted tones. From there bored-to-death expression I suspected that they were sitting tight for the foods to arrive for quite a while.
Now the below-mentioned points will quickly sum up what I loved most about this authentic Bengali diner-
The illustrious menu
From jhuri alu bhaja to chingrir chop, from lau ghonto to chitol peti– the illustrious menu of Lokahaar can sweep any gourmet Bengali off his/her feet, in spite of the fact that you may not get what you have requested for. The birthday-boy was eager to dig into some hot, hot motorsutir (peas) kochuris, but the courteous server apologetically informed us that kochuri was not available. So we settled for a main spread of polau, luchi, dak bungalow chicken, chicken kosha, cauliflower roast with chingrir chops and three glasses of chilled lemon soda as starters.
The luchis/polau/chingri chop
The polau had the right balance of sugar and ghee (clarified butter) – thus making it a cherished dish accordingly containing yellow rice, cashews and raisins. The chingri chops (prawn croquettes) were daintly fried and had meaty shrimps to bite on. We didn’t have any left-over oil on our finger-tips subsequent consuming the fried fritters. So that was a plus for me.
The luchis were fluffy, moderately hot and stuffed. I failed to recognize the ingredient of the stuffing (so did others), but it had a touch of sweetness- thus making those padded, rounded, feathery beauties irresistible.
The tidy interior design
The wall décor of Lokahaar is beautifully adorned with pat-chitras and paintings of Bengali divne beings influenced by Jamini Roy.
Cleanliness scores high on my check list when it comes to eating out. I make a leeway to it only when the food is exceptionally good. Anyway, at Lokahaar, the painstakingly masterminded seating design made the interior of the bistro spacious and breezy.
The aggregate bill came up close to Rs.1050 and we were fulfilled. The foods were easy-on-the-pocket. On the off chance you (like me) are in the belief that a total bill of dining (for a gathering of maximum 4) must not cross Rs.2000 at any reason, then Lokahaar is the place to be.
Not-so- good parts
The humongous time slip between submitting the order and actually being served made us almost loathe our decision to visit Lokahaar. We had a fresh group of fellow diners at the next table. They, likewise, vented out their frustrations uproariously in the wake of being made to sit tight for almost 45 minutes before having the starters. For us, the main course was delivered close to one hour later since the time of ordering. The fear of further delay desisted me from requesting a dessert (khir was my choice).
The tastes of gravy dishes were bland
The roasted cauliflowers came into thick gravy. I have never eaten roasted phulkopi before, so it perplexed me as connecting up the two terms ‘roast’ and ‘gravy’ seemed too far-fetched. But the genuine sin was the insipidness of both dak bungalow chicken and chicken kosha. Both tasted bland and it occurred to me as if, the chicken pieces were boiled first independently and then tossed into generic gravy. The only expansion for the duck bungalow dish was- it had scrambled egg embellished on top of the gravy.
Though few dishes and the homely ambience of Lokahaar were palate pleasing and alleviating respectively, the lethargic serving of foods was quite a killjoy. I don’t know was it a one-off incident or not, but I might not visit this eatery in any time soon as time is precious!
Whether you are coming from Gariahat or going towards Dhakuria from Jadavpur 8B, take the lane that is bang opposite to ‘Tandoor Park’. Keep strolling straight and you will discover three consecutive narrow roads on left-hand side. Take the fourth one, seize few more steps straight, and you will locate Lokahaar standing out in the right-hand-side path.