Chandni Chowk is that part of Kolkata which I would frequent during my Presidency College days. There’s nothing in electronics that one can’t get hold of in Chandni market. Looking at the crowd this Friday afternoon, I easily concluded that despite a booming e-commerce sector, the market had neither lost its charm nor appeal. Situated in one such lane is the age old Sabir’s Hotel. Way back in the seventies, when my father was a post graduate student in Calcutta University, this was a favorite eating out joint for them as well. No fine dining restaurant could get my husband so excited as going to this restaurant. That’s what Sabir’s stands for – a walk down memory lane.
Ambiance – Someone frequenting fine dining, classy and five star restaurants would be appalled at the almost non existent ambiance of this joint. They have two floors. The ground floor is more of a place to eat for singles and friends. Th first floor is the family restaurant. The air conditioned portion of the restaurant is currently under renovation. They have extended the non ac part of the first floor in two portions. Each portion also have three cabin sized rooms with curtains. The seating arrangement is that of typical chairs and tables. Floors are generally dirty. The cutlery is old world. The hygiene of the restaurant is definitely dubious. Lighting is standard. No fancy lights or music here. But the balcony on the first floor gives a beautiful view of the busy market and the gets one acquainted with the experience of old Calcutta.
Food – If there’s anything Sabir is still known for, it is their food. They serve the highly renowned mutton rezala, the taste of which is still irreplaceable. Infact I was quite amused to find them advertising this on their menu card and boards. Items on the menu are limited and one would do good to stick by the dishes Sabir is famous for. We tried out Green salad,Tandoori roti, Mutton Rezala, Chicken bharta, Firni, Cold Drinks and Tea. This place serves the best Tandoori roti in the city – the softness stays the same even after the roti gets cold. Mutton rezala is outstanding as always – the mutton piece literally melts in the mouth. I decided to give Chicken bharta a try by skipping the usual chicken chap and I was delighted with the result. Bharta had four pieces of boneless chicken and a full boiled egg cut into two. It tasted heavenly with roti. Firni was good and tea was decent. Salad was of the standard type. The outlet serves dishes dipped in ghee/butter/oil yet it is easily digestible. Looking at the restaurant, it is evident that hygiene is not one of their priorities but the quality and taste of the food overshadows every other aspect.
Service – The restaurant has carried on with the typical non smiling and business like attitude of staffs. They wouldn’t bother recommending any dish because they are sure of the fact that if one has come this far, they would know what to order. So, they hand over the menu card, take the order, serve the food in minutes and clear the table immediately after one has had the last bite. So while service is very fast, there’s nothing much to expect in terms of courtesy and warmth. Yet I would say they are good for their efficiency.
Pricing – Other than food, this is the parameter that goes hugely in favor of this outlet. They are very moderately priced. For the quality and quantity of portions served, the pricing is completely affordable. For one cold drink, one tea, one salad, one rezala, one bharta, four rotis and one firni, we ended up paying a meager sum of Rs. 571 only including GST.
My rating across various parameters would be –
Ambiance – 2.5
Food – 4.5
Service – 3
Pricing – 5
Overall – 3.8
Sabir is old world charm. There’s nothing fancy or glittery about this place. The only reason why people still choose to flock to this place in huge numbers is because of the food and nostalgia. Please visit this place if you would love to see what Calcutta used to be long back. Just a word of advice – it is better to try out dishes they are famous for else one might end up getting disappointed. Like roti is always recommended compared to biriyani and the rezala here is definitely a must have item.
Link to the review on TripAdvisor is