Campari’s – #AtoZChallenge2016

I’m participating in the #AtoZBloggingChallenge 2016 with the theme – Pins on the Map of my Memory – which is about places that bear a special connection with me for reasons mostly personal!


C for Campari!

If you’ve ever been to Calcutta (or Kolkata, as we now call it) – you’ll know that besides the city’s rich heritage, its’ old buildings, architecture and auction houses, it is the passion of the people here that strikes one the most  – be it their love for football, theatre, literature or food.

In fact, the city is a big hub for foodies. What Golgappas are to Delhi and Vada Pav is to Mumbai, Kathi Rolls are to Calcutta!

Campari’s – a favourite stop for great mouth-watering rolls in South Calcutta, has a deep connection with me since my college days. It is a name that is synonymous with the city itself and always serves as a reminder of what I consider the best when it comes to food on the go. It brings me the magic of friends, fun and exciting times, of happier times when we stole a quiet show at the movies, when college fests were more important than anything, when fashion over-ruled comfort and heartbreaks happened at the drop of a hat, when cold logic could be easily brushed aside by the possibilities of youthful exuberance, when our limited pocket money was saved up for a special roll with that special someone! What bound one through all this was almost always a Campari’s Roll!

An all-time favourite: a tandoori chicken roll!

For those of you who are wondering what a Kathi roll is, let me tell you –it is a unique Kolkata product which consists of a parantha (an Indian bread) stuffed with meat kebabs, slivers of caramelized onions, chillies, a dash of lemon, rolled and held together with butter paper, for a meal on the go!

While I do not think I can call myself a foodie, my love affair with the humble Kathi Roll started when I first arrived in Kolkata, as a sixteen-year-old. In fact, the first thing I discovered about the city was that its’ street food was an integral part of its’ identity. To my young mind, the rolls were perhaps the most fabled of the street side offerings, as I’d never encountered anything remotely familiar before. I was quick to appreciate its’ taste and like countless kids before and after me, I too fell for it!

Throughout the college and university years, when work assignments forced us to make dreadfully long commutes across the city, or we were compelled to skip a meal, a quick dash to a roll joint often proved to be a life saver. The best part about the Kolkata rolls were the fact that they were easy on the wallet, (surprisingly, they still are!) since we were perpetually broke and somehow survived to make it through the month!

As a one-time Calcutta girl, I can tell you, Campari has always been my ultimate food-stop and so it has been for all roll lovers, who’ve concluded an evening of shopping, burdened with their bags, longing for a quick bite and a cold drink. Even today, you’d find the shop packed with faithful customers,  waiting for their turn patiently at their favourite stop to refuel and shop with a fresh burst of energy down Gariahat Road.

As for me, well, I’ve waited eight long years to visit Calcutta and my favourite roll shop and this time, I’m going to take my entire family along to enjoy their sumptuous rolls. Better late than never!

22 thoughts

  1. Campari… heard about it for the first time. It is called Shawarma in the gulf countries… available with chicken and mutton variations, these were our quick bites on the go and they tasted so heavenly too!

    1. Yes, Shilpa, I think you’re right! It is similar to the Shawarma…had them in Mauritius often but the taste is just so different! Both great in their own ways, I guess 🙂

  2. Oh, man, that kathi roll looks GOOD! Here in Curaçao we have a fast food joint (here they’re called truk di pan, which translates to ‘bread truck’) that sells burritos late at night… Best food ever after an evening of beer and fun 🙂

    Great post!
    Guilie @ Life In Dogs (and member of co-host Damyanti’s team, D’s Company )

    1. Thanks Guilie! Glad to see you here! A little different from the roll but they must be very good from what you describe! Yes, I could easily say, nothing quite like an egg-chicken roll after an evening at the shopping district!

  3. Seriously? I didn’t know about that. Never heard it too. I love kathi rolls.. And suddenly when I’m planning to stop everything, why am I surrounded by a gazillion mouth watering stuff?


    1. You didn’t? How come? They are too good…don’t stop before you’ve tried out everything…as they say, resist anything but temptation 😉
      Thanks for dropping by ! 🙂

  4. In 1967 I spent 8 hours in Calcutta ( we were on our way to Tezpur) and can never forget the yummy egg roll ( with a chicken stuffing) we had. It was somewhere on the road and I can still savour the taste when I close my eyes. Do you have any idea what it could have been?

    1. Oh really! Kathi rolls have been around since a long time in Kolkata. You probably had an egg-chicken-roll that left you with a lasting taste! I’m sure there must be places in Mumbai where you’d find them though they won’t taste exactly the same as the Kol ones! (Speaking from my experience in Bengaluru)

  5. Hey Esha! I don’t know about Camparis but this reminded me of Frankies we get here in Mumbai, sounds similar. I am a veggie so I dig the cheese and veggie frankies here. Loved your connecting food with happy memories! Hope you get to tuck in to your fav snack soon…cheers 🙂
    @KalaRavi16 from

    1. Yes, Kala. Pretty similar to the Frankies although they taste somewhat different. Had them in Mumbai couple of years ago! Thanks for your appreciation…yes, a trip to Kol is due this summer…(fingers crossed!)

  6. You made me hungry early in the morning.. I know one thing that Calcutta has some mouthwatering food..and some great places to find’s been a long time since I’ve been there but I plan to eat a lot when I’m there the next time 🙂

    1. You must Nabanita! Kol is a haven of great mouthwatering food of all kinds- sweet and savoury both…Wait for little M to get a little older and take her along to savour all the yummy stuff…she’ll love it too!!!

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