Nizam’s: Perfection in a Paratha

Kathi Rolls at Nizam’s, Kolkata.

It’s not a difficult recipe: a kabob and thinly sliced purple onion, wrapped in a paratha. Why, then, are excellent kathi rolls so tough to come by? Why isn’t every kathi roll joint in Kolkata – and they are nearly as ubiquitous as sweet shops – as good as Nizam’s?

Kathi Rolls at Nizam’s, Kolkata.

We cannot lay any special claim to having “discovered” Nizam’s, in the way travelers take special pride in unearthing little-known, neighborhood eateries. Nizam’s was a Kolkata institution long before we first wandered in, and will no-doubt be around long after we have succumbed to our Nizam’s-induced heart attacks.

Kathi Rolls at Nizam’s, Kolkata.

In the five-plus years we’ve been making hajj to Nizam’s, the food hasn’t changed one iota. The parathas are simultaneously flakey and chewy, tasty without being greasy. The non-veg kabobs are perfectly marinated and perfectly roasted, and made from the best quality meat. The kathi rolls are served with nothing more than a small bowl of fiery green chilis.

Kathi Rolls at Nizam’s, Kolkata.

The only thing that has changed is the restaurant’s interior, which was ostentatiously painted two years ago, rendering it more colorful, yet somehow habitually dingy and cheerless, as if by tradition.

When in Kolkata, I would have absolutely no problem eating at least one meal per day at Nizam’s, even if I were not permitted to explore the menu beyond the ambrosial kathi rolls. It turns out I am not alone in this devotion.

My friends and I found ourselves in Kolkata last week, after concluding a week’s vacation in Orissa. On our next to last day in Kolkata, we had dined at Nizam’s before catching the magnificent Madhuri Dixit in her comeback film, Aaja Nachle. On our last morning, as we made plans for departure, Linda Joseph insisted that we make Nizam’s our final meal.

And so it was.

Kathi Rolls at Nizam’s, Kolkata.


9 Responses to “Nizam’s: Perfection in a Paratha”

  1. 1 Dee 25 December 2007 at 8:46 am

    Groan!! I am in Kolkata and refuse to eat at Nizam, actually whenever I eat out in Kolkata I fall sick, had Jaalmuri last night outside Vardan Market and I’m sick like a dog.

  2. 5 Gautam 4 January 2008 at 10:19 am

    Who is Ms.Linda Joseph? As a part or full time resident of Kolkata, she is intriguing. Please do ask her to drop in on where a lot goes on about Kolkata gastronomy and memories, as well as on Bengal. Same invite to yourself. There are many places hallowed by tradition that she and you may not know about but are worth discovering.

    Keep an eye on this blog for photos and comments on a Kolkata trip taken recently:

  3. 6 Calcutta wallah 12 January 2010 at 11:41 pm

    I lived in Calcutta in the late 1960’s and Nizam’s kehbabs were famous back then! We always finished our movie night at the Lighthouse Cinema with a visit to Nizam’s. Never once got sick, neither did any of my friends. Tried many times to replicate their kathi rolls but never succeeded. I can still smell the mouth watering aroma from Nizams!

  4. 7 Shadab Tabassum 24 April 2010 at 11:14 am

    i have born and bought up in kolkata and loved Nizam’s kabab parantha. now for last 12 years i am roaming from one city to another country but miss that flavour of Nizam. once i visited to kolkata during this tenure and didn’t miss the opportunity to visit Nizam. i wish all the best to Nizam

  5. 8 Karunakar 17 September 2010 at 4:18 am

    Grew up in Calcutta and have been going to Nizams from 1960 to 1972 and my mouth still waters at the thought of those succulent rolls.

    No roll in the world like Nizam’s.

  6. 9 Joe Roberts 23 March 2011 at 10:55 am

    I used to love Nizam’s. We took our infant son there and he ate well and none of us were sick. I remember their excellent firni for pudding.

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