One of Kolkata’s oldest bakeries, at The Lalit Great Eastern Hotel, established in 1830, has been awarded the Culinary Heritage Recognition plaque by the Kolkata chapter of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). Asia’s first luxury hotel, The Great Eastern Kolkata has a beautiful structure, rich history, and a great legacy of visitors, delectable food, and the iconic bakery. The Lalit Bakery is the oldest traditional bakery in the city that offers authentic sweets, multi-cultural selections and has lived through decades of changes and revolutions.
David Wilson, who built Wilson’s Hotel, opened the bakery in mid-1830 before he built the hotel, which was inaugurated on November 19, 1840. It was the only popular bakery for Britishers. To keep the sense of history about the hotel, the huge Side Flue bakery oven, which replaced the old beehive oven, has been used in bits and parts in the present bakery. Back then, there used to be a multiple shops or a departmental store on the ground floor. To quote Rudyard Kipling’s description of it in The City of Dreadful Night, “a man could walk in at one end, buy a complete outfit, a wedding present, or seeds for the garden, have an excellent meal, a Burra peg and if the barmaid was agreeable, walk out at the other end engaged to be married”.
Today, The Lalit Great Eastern Kolkata is not just a great luxury hotel in the city, it is a heritage landmark as well. Famed for the longest consistently operating hotel for a span of 165 years, this heritage hotel and has been given different names like the “Best Hotel East of the Suez” and the “Jewel of the East” by its popular guests that include the likes of Queen Elizabeth, Rudyard Kipling, Mark Twain and several imminent personalities from the 19th century. The striking architecture is a mix of Victorian, Edwardian, and Contemporary styles.
On receiving this recognition, General Manager, Mr. Dilip Mishra said, “We are both humbled and grateful to receive this recognition by INTACH. The Bakery is a special part of the city’s culinary experience. Our high teas to other gourmet/bakery delights are frequented by locals and visitors in the city alike. We hope to continue the legacy and raise the bar for our patrons.”