Three Iconic Kolkata Restaurants Obtain Heritage Labels | Calcutta
Three iconic Kolkata restaurants – Mocambo, Kwality and Trincas – are set to receive the prestigious heritage label from the Indian Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (Intach) this Sunday. These popular Park Street restaurants will have a heritage plaque on their entrances telling patrons and passers-by that they have been around for at least six decades and that they embody the city’s spirit and culture.
Intach bestowed the honor on them in December 2019, along with 13 other restaurants in Kolkata, but the plaque unveiling ceremony has been delayed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. “Fifteen restaurants had received the heritage label but due to the pandemic, the ceremony was delayed. Now that the restaurants have opened, we thought it was a good time to celebrate the industry and lift the spirits, ”GM Kapur, Intach Calcutta coordinator, told reporters in early September.
The first three restaurants in the City of Joy (as Kolkata is historically known) to receive this honor have been in business for over 60 years, and their menus have remained more or less unchanged, with a few additions over the years. Both Kwality and Trincas changed their menus, with Trincas introducing live musical performances and a full menu in 1959 and Kwality introducing a range of North Indian specialties to its menu a few months after it began operations in 1952. Mocambo, however, has remained unchanged, both in terms of the menu and its decor.
Trincas shares close ties with singers and performers like Usha Uthup, Biddu Appaiah, Savages, Flintstones, Checkered Tricycle — a band that had Indian rock veteran Nondon Bagchi as drummer — Beat Four, Benny Rozario, Toto Wallang, Eve, Jenny, Linda and Flore.
On Mocambo’s menu, the word “H” can be found next to some dishes, such as devil crab, chicken Kiev, and chicken Tetrazzini, which means “Legacy” and means dishes that date back to the restaurant opened in 1956.
These Park Street restaurants have also been recognized for introducing legions of Indians to the wonders of jazz music through their live performances.
Park Street, Kolkata’s popular destination home to all three restaurants, has been featured extensively in movies and television. Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan is also known to have a sweet spot for this neighborhood and the many restaurants that line this street. “Calcutta was the epitome of celebration at that time across the country. Trinca’s, Moulin Rouge, Mogambo (Mocambo), Grand Hôtel, Blue Fox. Louis Banks, Pam Craine… ahhh… such delicious days, and partying nonstop… ”the actor said in a blog post in 2019.
Other popular restaurants currently on track to receive their heritage plaques include the famous College Street Paramount sherbet store and Indian Coffee House. The latter was a haunt of students and intellectuals in its heyday, and continues to be ventured into by writers, poets and filmmakers to this day. Allen Kitchen, Niranjan Agar, Eau Chew, Bhim Nag, KC Das, Nabin Chandra Das, Dilkush, Girish Chandra Dey, Nakur Chandra Nandy, are some of the other iconic restaurants waiting for their plates, representing an eclectic mix of everything from Bengali local specialties with authentic Chinese sorbet delicacies.