Londoners are spoilt for choice when it comes to Indian restaurants, from street-food vendors to fine-dining establishments and everything in between. However it may have come to the attention of those well-versed in Indian cuisine that much of the country’s regional fare actually remains unrepresented. In particular, that of eastern India, which includes the gastronomically rich state of West Bengal, home to the city of Kolkata.
Seeking to fill this gap is the inexhaustible Indian hospitality group Speciality Restaurants Ltd who will be adding to their 130-strong portfolio with the launch of Chourangi at 3 Old Quebec Street in Marylebone (a stone’s throw from the highly anticipated Mexican restaurant Kol from Santiago Lastra on Seymour Place).
Chourangi, named after a historic district of Kolkata, marks the group’s London debut and promises a menu of authentic Kolkatan food. While full details have yet to be revealed, it is likely we can look forward to variations of traditional Bengali dishes that include machher jhol, a traditional spicy tomato-based curry; kosha mangsho, a rich mutton curry; and plenty of luchi – Kolkata’s signature deep-fried flatbreads. Oh! Calcutta, one of the group’s other Kolkattan outlets, is also known for its shukto – a vegetarian dish featuring a variety of gourds that give it contrasting sweet and bitter notes.
Sweet treats play a large part in Bengali dining and the area is renowned for an unusual dessert of fermented sweet yogurt called mishti doi, which is one of the region’s largest culinary exports. Chomchoms (or chum chums) are another favoured dessert in Kolkata – small sweets crafted from flour, sugar, cream, saffron, lemon juice and coconut flakes – and roshogullas are balls of cottage cheese and semolina dough dipped in a sugary syrup that are often served as a post-curry palate cleanser.
Hopefully Chourangi will join the ranks of Covent Garden’s Little Kolkata, showcasing the little-known delights of east Indian cuisine.