Thursday, February 16, 2012

Bhut Jolokia, Guwahati

Bhut Jolokia
Zoo Road

The 3rd restaurant to be opened in the city by Chef Atul Lakhar, after King Chilly & Khorikaa both of which I loved.

Bhut Jolokia just opened earlier this week (9th Feb 2012) above Baskin Robbins on Zoo Road, at the same location that earlier housed Subway.

As long as you can get past the stench emanating from the open sewer in front of the restaurant, you can be assured that the 2 minutes of holding your breath will be worth it.

The interiors are completely cane and bamboo. There are a lovely set of photographs ling both walls and they capture women cooking and eating in rural Assam. They have been beautifully shot and are so appropriate for a restaurant of this kind.

The menu is a long one and has a lot of items similar to that at Khorika's, but a shorter list of Khorika variations. Prices are similar to Khorikaa and much cheaper than King Chilly.

Since we visited very close to the opening date, the kitchen wasn't completely equipped and a lot of items that were on the menu weren't available at the restaurant, like the Khorikaa, roast pork etc

We ordered 2 veg akhaj (thali for 60Rs each)  that came with unlimited rice. Khar, Yellow & black dhals, Aloo pitika (bhartha), 2 fresh vegetables which were a cauliflower carrot mix and cabbage on the day we visited and kheer. Kharoli (mustard paste), bamboo shoot pickle and jalphai (Indian olives) pickle, were on the table and we were also served slices of gondhoraj (the fragrant lemons of this part of the country) and green chillies.

The panitenga (rasam like dish) which I was very eagerly awaiting, since I first tasted it at Khorikaa last week was missing from the thali when it arrived. When I quizzed the waiter, he said that Assamese only have panitenga during lunch and never during dinner.

The thali itself was so good, for the first time, I actually ate up all my vegetables before I even looked at the non-vegetarian sides that I had ordered. The Ari fish fry (80Rs) was soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. For the first time in an Assamese restaurant, I was actually able to eat the skin of Ari fish (I normally find it undercooked and smelly, so I tend to discard it, but here it was nicely crisped without being burnt). The fried chicken (100Rs) was succulent and definitely not dried out like some variietes that I've eaten here. Lightly fried with just onion, green chilli, ginger, garlic and turmeric.

The crowning glory however was the pork and Naga Chilly (Bhut Jolokia) curry. We had steam coming out of our ears, water running down our eyes, tissues stuffed halfway up our noses and we just couldn't stop eating!

The husband is not a great fan of Assamese food as he tends to find it underspiced (and the lack of rotis makes him feel his meal is incomplete), but he's quite happy with Bhut Jolokia and if we weren't moving, we would have been eating here quite frequently given how close it is to our home here in Guwahati.

Yes, I got so busy licking my fingers and feasting on my last few jalphais, I couldn't be bothered to take out even my phone to click a picture of the non-vegetarian sides. Quantities were more than sufficient for both of us and we actually had to get the leftover chicken packed.

The bill? - A princely 420Rs.

I am going to miss North Eastern food when we move and I'll have to keep bugging my friends here for recipes and to courier some local ingredients to me :)

Rating : 4 / 5

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