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8 December, 2019 04:12:05 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 8 December, 2019 06:10:24 PM

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A place to taste true Bengali food

FAISAL MAHMUD back from Gazipur
A place to taste true Bengali food

If you take a walk through Tok Bazaar in Kapasia upazila, you will probably find it as one of those small countryside markets that are so common across the country. But under this commonplaceness lies something extraordinary: a local restaurant, at a ten-minute walking distance from the marketplace, serves 60 types of bharta (mashed vegetables or fish with spices) and 40 types of bhaji (stir-fried or deep-fried vegetables and fish)!

This hidden gem of an eatery, aptly named Niribili, is sure to give you gastronomical delights once you taste its variety of dishes and delicacies.

The ambience

 The restaurant is surprisingly decent and clean for a countryside eatery.

It is a one-storied colourful building surrounded by trees. The parking space is large enough to accommodate around 10–12 vehicles. Two roundtables are set at the balcony outside the main restaurant. Inside, there are around 25 tables in three rooms. A corner room is partitioned into multiple cabins to offer privacy to the customers. At each table, there is a clean water jug, clean glasses, and a tissue box.

Surprisingly, this eatery is in the middle of nowhere. There are no tourist destinations nearby to attract visitors.

Despite its uncommon location, this eatery has started to draw a set of loyal customers. Its impeccable service and the taste of its dishes have become a buzzword among food-connoisseurs. So, you are likely to find a group of food lovers in and around the restaurant when you visit it,

 

The food

 Of course, an eatery is defined by the food it offers. The speciality of the restaurant lies in its offering of bharta and bhaji.

Niribili offers around 60 types of bharta, including aloo (potato), begun (aubergine), three types shim (bean), dherosh (okra), chichinga (snake gourd), korola (bitter gourd), lau (bottle gourd), tomato, shorisha (mustard seed), peyaj-morich (onion and chilli), roshun (garlic), kumra (pumpkin), dhone pata (coriander), four types of kachu (taro), badam (peanuts) around seven types of shutki (dried fish), eight types of mach (fish), and many more.

It also offers around 40 types of bhaji and spinach, including palang shak (spinach), pui shak (Indian spinach), kalmi shak (kang kong), danta shak (stem amaranth leaf), pat shak (jute leaf), badhakopi (cabbage), chalkumra (wax gourd), jhinga (ridge gourd), patal (pointed gourd), sajna (drumstick), shapla (water lily), kachur doga (stem of aroid), among others.

These food items are available on a daily basis. The prices range from Tk. 10-50. One small plate of bhaji costs Tk. 20, while one small plate of bharta costs Tk. 20. A large plate of bhaji costs Tk. 20 and a large plate of bharta costs Tk. 50. You can also try the chef's special bhaji and bharta package, comprising 10 different types of bhaji and bharta, that costs only Tk. 100 each.

The restaurant also offers unique food like shutki bora, machher paturi, bali hash (duck), and kabutar (pigeon) bhuna. It also serves eight types of achar (condiment). One can even buy a bottle of condiment at Tk. 200.

The restaurateur  

The restaurateur, Tota Mia, takes pride in what he does. “I love preparing many of these food items with my own hand. I don’t consider it as only a business. Rather I love to feed people a gourmet meal,” he said.

He also said that the restaurant was previously located at Tok Bazaar, but he moved the restaurant to his own house seven years back. “This is my own house. It’s a bit far from the public place. But it gives the customer a homely environment. I don’t just want them to have food. I want them to have an experience. I want them to feel the hospitality,” he added.

Besides the idea of the unique serving of so many bharta and bhaji, Tota Mia said that bharta and bhaji are unique preparations belonging to Bangali cuisine. “Every Bangali loves bharta and bhaji. Those are a Bangali’s soul food. When I first opened the restaurant nearly 20 years ago, I started serving over 10 types of bharta and my restaurant became famous for that,” he added.

“So, I thought of taking the venture to a new level. I planned to create over 50 types of bharta and wanted to serve those on a regular basis. You have to understand that it’s not easy. It’s not like making a paste of every vegetable, or fish, or dried fish. You have to prepare the spices; you must know the art of mixing it with your ingredients and perfect the amount of salt,” he said.

Tota Mia also said that preparing bharta also needs excellent craftsmanship. “If you don’t find the colour or texture of the bharta beautiful, you will lose your appetite,” he explained.

When asked how he prepares the huge amount of bharta and bhaji every day, Tota Mia said that his whole family is involved in this business. “My wife, sons, daughters, and daughters-in-law all prepare the bharta. The process starts from 4am in the morning."

The restaurant closes around 11 pm. So, it is pretty much operational all through the day.

“The restaurant attracts people from different parts of the country. President Abdul Hamid is my regular customer. Whenever he visits his constituency in Kishoreganj and goes there through the Tok Bazaar route, he visits my restaurant and indulge in my bharta and bhaji”, said Tota mia proudly.

EA

 

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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