Taking its name from Chowringhee, the oldest quarter of Calcutta, Chourangi's menu explores that area's unique culinary tradition, influenced by centuries of overseas trade. Once settled inside the restaurant, with its soothing music and relaxing ambience, it is hard to believe that you are just yards from Oxford Street and Marble Arch.
Our visit was during Durga Puja, one of the most important annual Hindu and Bengali festivals; it celebrates the victory of the Goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasura and so symbolises the victory of good over evil. Chourangi chef/restaurateur Anjan Chatterjee had created a special menu of dishes inspired by the festivities of Calcutta, so we had to try some.
We started with the Prawn Cutlet with Coriander & Creamed Mustard Dip from the main menu, plus the Calcutta Fish Fry from the special menu. Both were generous portions, perfectly cooked, with a crisp, gently spiced coating. The mustard kasundi was particularly interesting; a traditional Bengali accompaniment to deep-fried dishes, it brought a welcome contrasting sharpness and depth.
A quick mention here for the poppadums; ethereally light and crispy, we had a mixture of plain and their Smoked Chilli version which were delicious. Smoked over applewood and with a touch of chilli, they had an almost charcoal-grilled flavour.
For our main courses, we again selected a dish from both the regular and the special menus. The Daak Bungalow Chicken Curry with a tomato and cashew nut sauce spiced with fenugreek and mace was comfortingly smooth and creamy, not spicy but with a pleasantly tingling residual warmth. The Durga Puja special BNR Mutton Curry, spiced with black cardamom, tamarind, ginger and radhuni (or wild celery) seeds was, for me, the perfect curry for when the temperature starts to dip and the nights draw in. Tender, slow-cooked meat and a rich, thick sauce, scooped up with a selection of breads: Calcutta Naan, Tandoori Paratha and Tandoori Roti.
Just too full to try the Baked Rosogolla from the special menu, we shared a Saffron & Pistachio Kulfi to round off a lovely meal. If you get a chance, head over and try the Durga Puja menu, which is running until the end of October. I particularly recommend that mutton curry.
Book at https://chourangi.co.uk/
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Deputy Editor, Chatting Food London: Amanda David
Amanda David is a freelance food writer specialising in London’s restaurants, bars, exhibitions and events. She is the Events Editor for London Cheapo and a regular contributor to Palate Magazine.
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