Tingama – The name itself piques one’s curiosity. Which exotic language is this, and what does it mean in culinary terms? In reality, the name ‘Tingama’ was inspired by two of the three main brains behind this unique foodland – Piplu’s son is nicknamed Tinga, and since Tinga’s Ma (Shaista Hossain Munia) is the one whose homemade foods are served here, there was simply no better name for it. Tingama’s inimitable persona is not only limited to its name, but has influence on its ambience and 11 course menu that consist of mostly
Bengali fusion cuisine
Hidden gem in the heart of Banani
Tingama is situated almost, in plain sight right in the middle of Banani Road 11, and perhaps intentionally so by the three hosts – Rezaur Rahman Khan Piplu, his wife Shaista Hossain Munia and Rafi Sumon- who only open their ‘show’(as they like to call it) on weekends for six to twenty people who need to make reservations prior to coming. The upside of this is that Tingama is booked exclusively for just that one group of friends! Even if guests choose to go in smaller groups, they can always chat and mingle with maybe one or two other groups of people. The whole place gives a sense of sitting in your friend’s dining room while sharing a lovely meal with your dearest, with even the hosts joining in on the party at times.
A wonderland of food
Walking into Tingama is almost like stepping into another realm – even the entrance is tucked in such a way that it makes one feel like losing his/her present dimension. Once inside, the outdoor balcony is adorned with dim lights emulated with candles where the hosts set out the welcome drinks for all the guests. The guests can then relax outside while the final touches are added to the food at the indoor kitchen next to the dining room. The colour scheme of the whole place is pastel green and bright orange, giving off a very quaint European café feel. The notion that it is situated right in the middle of such a noisy, populated area seems unfathomable given that you are sitting there in a cozy corner enjoying your meals with soothing music in the background just like you would at your own house.
The masters and their inspiration
Munia loved cooking and both she and her husband loved feeding their friends at home – conceptualising this idea of feeding people in a homely environment was what gave birth to Tingama. What sets it apart from mainstream restaurants are a number of factors- their food is completely homemade; the menu changes according to the season – e.g, in winter you could enjoy more pithas and in summer it would contain lighter meals; and last but not the least, the menu is mostly decided by the hosts. Of course, if you have a food allergy or are visiting with children and therefore want less spicy food, Tingama will happily cater to those wishes. As Rafi Sumon stated, “we try to prepare something different that the child can enjoy too, just like we would if our nephew or niece came over for a meal at our home.” During the ‘show,” the hosts keep bringing in the food while you chat and have a marvellous time with your friends and devour delicious home cooked food made with love.
A nostalgic moment
Nostalgia sets in deeply when stepping into Tingama – reminding us of a time when our lives were less frenzied and we would go over to relatives’ homes and while away hours over food and drinks. Granted our lives have become so fast now that we do not have time to spare for such meals anymore – Tingama brings us the solution for that in one cozy and inviting kitchen just waiting to greet its guests with open arms.