Koshe Kosha is play on Bengali word "Kosha" which means meat cooked with spices for a long time. On our Kolkata visit, bilingual poet and translator, Kiriti Sengupta, had invited us for a traditional Bengali lunch at this restaurant near Hatibagan.
We were in the general area since morning and were exploring Kumartuli. From Kumartuli, we took a shared auto that dropped us at a walking distance from the restaurant. The restaurant is well known, so in case you are looking for it, you can directly ask people for Koshe Kosha. That works better than any other landmark.
We arrived at the restaurant right at time and Kiriti-da was already waiting for us there. Along with him were two friends, Prabir and Shouvanik. The restaurant was a tiny place with only a few tables. It was done up in Bengali style with several traditional Bengali artifacts and designs.
If I am not wrong, the pattern on the wall is an Alpana pattern and usually has some religious significance. It is pronounced "alpona" in Bengali. The left-most object is a cowry shell holder. Cowry shells were used as currency once upon a time in China and India.
Here is a tradition haath pankha that adorned the wall close to the entrance. Notice the bright colours and patterns. We loved the decor. It added to the authentic feel of the place, along with, of course, the food that was about to follow.
Kiriti-da had already briefed the restaurant staff and dishes started to arrive as soon as we reached and took a seat. The first dish to arrive was Bhetki Fry,which was served with chutney and kasundi (Bengali mustard sauce). Bhetki, also known as barramundi or Asian seabass, is very popular in Bengali cuisine as well as in Thai and Goan cuisines. The flesh is mild flavoured and we didn't find any bones in it. It was quite tasty, though the serving was big and we initially thought that that was the lunch. But we soon learned that it was just the starter. :)
Next, the server brought out five plates of yellow rice, or Pulao, and five quarter plates full of a curry that looked absolutely heavenly. We soon learned that it was called Kosha Mangsho (Tenderized mutton in a spicy Bengali-style dark gravy). It tasted as great as it looked. The mutton was tender and well spiced. The Pulao was fragrant and well cooked. We simply loved it though the portions again were large. I think one Bhetki Fry and one Kosha Mangsho with Pulao is enough for two people. We had one each and yet finished it. Though we felt stuffed later.
The Kosha and Pulao were served with Anaraser (Pineapple) Chutney which was good, but we only managed to taste it as we were too full. In the menu, this chutney is listed under the dessert section, so may be if you order lighter meal, you can wrap up your lunch with this chutney.
Overall experience of the restaurant was great and we really are thankful to Kiriti-da for taking us there. If you are looking for authentic Bengali cuisine, we would definitely recommend Koshe Kosha. Going through the menu it appears that if you are moderate eaters, the meal with one starter, a Kosha, Pulao, and a dessert would cost a couple around Rs. 700/- which is not bad at all, considering the quality of food and the experience.