Mmmmm That's SWEET!
Mishti specialises in melt-in-the-mouth Bengali sweets. But that doesn't mean that savouries have been left out
Mishti believes in authenticity and quality. Photos: K. Murali Kumar
DID YOU know that last year the population of Bengalis in Bangalore was as much as 1.7 lakh? And, that a large portion of this lives in the Indiranagar-Koramangala area? This is just one part of the research conducted by Vasudev Rao and his wife Vidia Rao, before they invested a large part of their savings, on their retirement, in Mishti, the Bengali sweets outlet in Koramangala.
It wouldn't be a good idea to call Mishti, another Mom and Pop store; for, though the Raos have absolutely no business experience, their approach is truly professional. The food they serve is absolutely authentic and the dιcor, classy. "We have always believed that if you take care of two things authenticity and quality you will do quite well," points out Vasudev Rao, while a stream of customers keeps the glass doors of the outlet swinging.
The Bengali connection came from Vidia, who grew up in Calcutta, and always wanted to start a food court on retirement. When her plans to start one did not materialise, friends suggested a Bengali sweets shop. And then began the yearlong research for customers, for cooks, and for authentic ingredients.
The cooks are from Kolkata, brought for exorbitant pay packets, a decision that has put pressure on the margins, but not on the prices at Mishti. The ingredients are sometimes from Kolkata, especially the gur, rather the nolen gur or the date palm jaggery. The key ingredient in any Bengali sweet is the milk, or the channa (the yoghurt portion after splitting the milk), and the search for the right quality of milk was a long-drawn affair that ended in a village on Kanakapura Road.
From the channa you get two varieties of sweets the rosogolla and the sandesh. While the rosogollas (and the chamcham and rasmalai) are boiled in sugar syrup towards the end of their preparation, the sandesh and the amrut khumb, jalbhara, shankh sandesh, and so on are rubbed with sugar before other flavours are added.
The specialty of Mishti is its sitabhog, an authentic Bengali sweet if you ever saw one. Resembling rice or sevai with tiny gulab jamuns, it is actually channa mixed with rice flour and rubbed through a sieve. It falls straight into sugar syrup and is then seasoned with cloves and bay leaf. Leaves you clamouring for more.
Another USP is the fact that you get sweets made with nolen gur for a much longer time of the year than you get even in Kolkata. Vidia says that this is possible only because of Bangalore's weather, which lets the gur remain fresh for a longer time. So, in June, unheard of in Kolkata, you get nolen gur rosogollas, which are such a relief from the sugary ones you normally get. The gur has its own flavour and does not make the sweet half as rich as sugar does. Adds Vasudev: "You have Bengalis buying nolen gur sweets from us to take to Kolkata!"
The place also has savouries such as the singharas (samosas stuffed with not just potatoes and cauliflowers mixed in Bengali masala, but also peanuts), vegetable chops (fiery vegetable cutlets with beetroot and carrot), radhaballabi (dal-stuffed pooris served with aloo dum) and kachoris. Malpuas (sweet pooris) with rabdi are another Mishti specialty. A Kolkata paan bhandar, just outside, adds to the atmosphere.
Bengalis have taken so much to the place that the Raos now keep a small counter with Bengali magazines and newspapers. And, they propose to start a Kolkata chaat counter soon.
Mishti can be contacted on 56683935.
- Ambience: Authentic Bengali
- Speciality: Nolen gur rosogollas, subject to availability
- Service: Good
- Wallet factor: Reasonable
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