‘Deboned’ Hilsa Festival Love affair with the Hilsa becomes less thorny

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Kolkata: When we talk of the Bengali palate, the Ilish (Hilsa) fish is stuff for folklore. The sheer variety of what one fish can be transformed into is fascinating, with one thing in common – if done well, Hilsa can beat most cuisines, be it for the hardcore fish enthusiast, or those who dabble in choosing fish as a special occasion treat. For these, a trip to the quaint Chapter 2 outlets in Kolkata is an absolute must, especially with the ongoing Hilsa Festival at the two outlets of the restaurant adding a special zing to the Kolkata Monsoon.Also Read – Good News For Ilish Lovers in the City of Joy, Kolkata’s First All ‘Deboned’ Hilsa Festival Is Here

We visited the Chapter 2 outlet nestled in a quiet by- lane off Southern Avenue in South Kolkata. The place is small and cosy, with tables spread over the ground floor and a mezzanine. Quite a few tables for a place which isn’t that large, but navigation isn’t a problem.

Another USP for Chapter 2 is the live music they provide. It can get a little loud at times, but the crowd seems to thrive on that.

Hilsa Chapter 2 Kolkata

Chapter 2 Brings Kolkata’s First All ‘Deboned’ Hilsa Festival

The Hilsa Festival, currently underway, serves you six delectable versions of the venerated fish – the Hilsa Sizzler, the Grilled Hilsa Steak, Smoked Hilsa, Hilsa Fingers, Baked Hilsa and the Anglo-Indian Mustard Hilsa Curry.

We were served three of these – the Hilsa Fingers, the Sizzler and the Baked Hilsa. And it was case of one being better than the other.

The Hilsa Fingers were the traditional batter fried version, with four pieces to a plate, with a superbly flavoured dip, a combination of mustard a special mayonnaise mix, which combines the signature sting of mustard with the creamy tang of mayo. The fingers are crunchy and full of grated and deboned Hilsa. Coupled with golden French fries, it primed the palate perfectly for the next dish.

The bake came with slices of garlic bread and a perfectly browned layer of cheese on the fish adding to the flavours. The proportion of the cheese sauce is just right, not overpowering the taste of the hilsa. The difficult job of de-boning the notoriously thorny Hilsa has been done to perfection in all the dishes.

The sizzler comes in steaming, supplemented with grilled vegetables and a scrambled egg that adds to the mix. The crunchy veggies and the fluffy egg perfectly complement the hilsa. Once again, the taste is near-perfect, and the portions quite good. Our favourite dish from among those we tasted.
The cost of Rs. 950 is a constant for all the dishes and for the ones we tasted, it was value for money, keeping in mind the cost of the fish in the market, as well as the time taken to prepare such dishes. Serving time can be up to 20 minutes, but then, no good thing in life is either cheap, or comes quickly.

Food: 4.5/5
Ambience: 4/5
My recommendation: Hilsa Sizzler
Verdict: Must-visit for all Hilsa and fish lovers, can convert others as well.

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