You know an establishment is really old when the current owners are unsure about the exact year it opened. The same is the case with Mistimukh. However, they could tell us that the shop has been running in Guwahati for about 72-73 years. It was started by Salilendu Bhaduri around the time he retired from his government job. The shop was initially based out of the Pandu area as Salilendu used to live there. It wasn’t a sweet shop back then; instead he served tea, puri sabji and singora.
After a few years, he moved the shop to a new location, Ulubari. This was at a time when there were hardly any shops or houses nearby. There was a bus stop with only one bus route, Guwahati to Shillong. Around the 60’s, Salilendu Bhaduri’s son Sajalendu Bhaduri graduated from Cotton College and went on to pursue his masters from Gauhati University. However, he couldn’t complete his studies as he had to give time to the shop because by then his father couldn’t look after the shop all on his own.
In 1972-73, the shop shifted to its present location, earlier it was a few blocks ahead, opposite to where Life Pharmacy is situated now. The usual puri sabji, tea, singora were available, in addition to that Mistimukh also introduced sweets made of maida. Around three to four varieties of sweets were introduced. Juicy sweets with syrup were very popular. Among the dry sweets, pedas were a big hit.
Around this time, Sajalendu also introduced boiled cake for the first time. Made with minimum sugar, it sold like hot cakes. The interesting thing about the boiled cake is that the taste has not changed from then and it is still one of their most popular items.
By 2004-2005, it was time for the third generation to take the ‘Mistimukh’ brand ahead and Sanjoy Bhaduri got actively involved in the shop.
Like any business, Mistimukh has also gone through a fair share of ups and downs. They witnessed a decrease in customers when the ‘Bishnuram Medhi Flyover’ in Ulubari was being constructed because people were unable to park conveniently and pick up the sweets they wanted. Although construction is now complete, they still feel that they lose out on a lot of customers because there is no proper parking space. ‘If some parking space is created by the municipal board below the flyover then people would be able to visit the shop with ease,’ shares Sanjoy Bhaduri, present owner.
‘Mistimukh’ has proudly treated Guwahati with first-class traditional sweets like rasgulla, lalmohan and their famous boiled cake for years, and at the same time they have also made some small but necessary changes in order to sustain themselves in the food and beverage industry. In 2010, the shop was renovated, tables were added and some new sweets were also introduced. They recently introduced a new version of the boiled cake without sugar and to their amazement it has received a lot of positive feedback. ‘It has no additional sugar. It only has the natural sweetness from the ‘sana’ or ‘khoya’ itself.’
Apart from sweets, Mistimukh also serves snacks like paratha, dahi vada, rolls etc. The best thing about their savoury items is that all of it is purely vegetarian and they are made without using garlic or onion. Their malai cham cham is also a hot favourite among customers – old and new. Sanjoy Bhaduri says ‘Even if the market condition is damp, we try to make and keep the malai cham cham every day because the customers love it.’
So the next time you pass by the Ulubari area, don’t forget to stop by Mistimukh and try their signature sweets. If you are not a fan of sweets, then you can try out their savoury items which are equally delicious. Also, don’t forget to pack some fresh doi or misti doi, a popular item on their menu that many locals swear by.
By Jadeed Hussain
Disclaimer: The information in the article was provided by the management currently running the shop. We do not claim responsibility for any false claims about the organization or ownership of the same.
This article was first published in Eclectic Northeast December 2016 issue