Launched on 26 May, the exteriors of Project Hilsa restaurant look like our national fish - Hilsa. It has a tail and dorsal fins just like a real life Hilsa fish, which is high in demand among food enthusiasts.
Located near the Mawa Ferry Ghat in Munshiganj, the restaurant has been creating buzz among the food enthusiasts and city dwellers. People from surrounding areas have also been coming to the restaurant since it was recently launched.
The open kitchen of the restaurant is equipped with modern kitchen tools and devices. Besides presenting the food nicely, the restaurant offers a playzone for kids and car parking facilities.
This modern-looking restaurant, with its outlook, has added a new dimension to Mawa Ferry Ghat.
According to the restaurant authorities, Project Hilsa is one of the biggest restaurants of the country and its open kitchen allows the customers to witness how they maintain hygiene and quality assurance factors first-hand.
Sukanta Saikat, CEO of Project Hilsa, told The Business Standard, "Around 350 people can dine here at a time. We proudly claim that we are the only restaurant in the country that carries such a wide range of Hilsa items on the menu."
He added that it will take them some time to ensure better quality. "Hilsa is our tradition and the restaurant is based on that tradition. We are comparatively new but are under extreme pressure from the customers. We will try to overcome the shortcomings and get better with time," the CEO continued.
At Project Hilsa, visitors can taste around 14 Hilsa items such as paturi, shorshe ilish and fried Hilsa among the vast menu with more delicacies. Thai and Indian cuisines are also available at the restaurant along with fresh juices and beverages.
However, since its launch, the restaurant has been receiving mixed reviews in terms of both the price and taste of food.
What's on the menu?
Needless to say, various Hilsa-themed items dominate the menu of Project Hilsa. The restaurant owners also plan to open a buffet with various other Hilsa items including bhapa ilish, Hilsa malaikari, Hilsa bhuna, smoked Hilsa, Hilsa khichuri, fried egg Hilsa, Hilsa dopiaza, Hilsa curry, panikhola, etc.
Customers can buy the fish and order their favourite dishes to be cooked live in the open kitchen. They can also buy individual pieces of Hilsa at Tk200 per piece.
However, the price of the fish changes everyday. Usually, per kilogram of Hilsa costs around Tk1,800 to Tk2,000 at this restaurant, exclusive of 15 percent vat and 10 percent service charge.
Sayeda Jannat came to eat at Project Hilsa from the capital's Uttara. When asked about her experience, she said, "I got to know about this restaurant from Facebook as many of my friends checked in here and uploaded photos. Entering the restaurant was a big hassle as it was crowded and the quality of the food is disappointing. But I liked the interior as it is a good place to take photos."
Project Hilsa is open from 12pm to 11pm everyday. Customers have to wait in long lines to get in. Upon arriving at the restaurant, we ordered a few Hilsa items which tasted like any other ordinary restaurant. We had to wait an hour before we could place our order and preparing the dishes took even longer.
How to go to Project Hilsa
If you plan to go to Project Hilsa by bus, local buses head towards Mawa from Dhaka's Jatrabari every 20 minutes, which will take you directly to the restaurant. The bus fare is around Tk100 to Tk150.
The journey takes around 45 minutes to an hour depending on the traffic.
If you take a private car, the expressway on The Mayor Mohammed Hanif Flyover is your best route to the restaurant as this expressway is usually less congested.