Chourangi, a new Indian restaurant in the heart of Marylebone, brings the flavours of Calcutta to London. Through their menu, you can embark in a culinary adventure into Calcutta’s heritage and cuisine, which is a unique blend of British, Dutch, Armenian, French, Portuguese and Chinese flavours that have been forged over a 300-year history. Read more about Chourangi in this review by Adrienne Fung.
The other evening, we had a feast for kings at the newly opened Chourangi, a restaurant that specialises in Calcutta cuisine. Located steps away from Oxford street, Chourangi offers city goers a haven for sophisticated food and drink. The restaurant was started by chef turned restaurateur, Anjan Chatterjee, in partnership with fellow entrepreneur, Aditya Ghosh, and celebrates the unique flavours of Calcutta. The port city sitting on the Eastern edge of India has a rich history with a cuisine deeply influenced by European, Mogul and Chinese settlers. While it’s easy to class Chourangi as just another Indian restaurant in London, the unique nuances of Calcutta shine through.
You’ll find classic dishes scattered across the menu from biryani to delicacies cooked in the Tandoor oven, however Chourangi offers a fresh take leaning into the spices and flavours of Calcutta. You’ll also find plenty of exciting plates not seen elsewhere. Chef Jolly, a celebrated Indian chef, consultant and judge on Master Chef India, brings his two decades of industry experience to Chourangi.
With an all-star team leading the way, Chourangi offers a vast menu full of crowd-pleasing dishes that are both unique and familiar at the same time.
We had the chance to meet Mr. Anjan Chatterjee that evening who offered us equal parts hospitality and lessons in history. There was a deep sense of pride for him to be able to bring the food of his hometown to central London. Every detail in the restaurant from the décor to the menu has been handled with the utmost care and thought. It was important to Anjan that Chourangi stayed true to its roots and accurately depicted his vision of Calcutta’s diverse, melting-pot identity.
The restaurant ambiance is warm and inviting with contemporary touches reflecting the architecture of Calcutta. The center of the room boasts a well-lit and well-stocked bar to remind patrons that Chourangi also has an impressive cocktail menu. I tried the “Date Above the Clouds”, a cocktail made of bourbon, Amaretto, egg white, lemon juice and Jaggery syrup while my friend had “Her Majesty” with Ghee rum, flavored honey water, lemon and vanilla. We both enjoyed our drinks which were balanced, refreshing and expertly made. These cocktails could rival those of any top notch cocktail bar in the city.
When it came time for food, Mr. Chatterjee told us to leave it up to him which is always a promising sign. Not long after, our table began to fill to the brim with a spectacle of plates.
For starters, we were served Chingri cutlets made of prawn, steamed blue swimmer crab prawn parcels, banana leaf croquettes, lotus stem and sweet potato chaat as well as chicken malai tikka. We loved the Chingri cutlets that had a pleasant, fiery kick from the chilies. The patties of spiced prawn were delicately fried and nicely paired with a creamy mustard sauce. The perfect type of drinking food. We also enjoyed Chourangi’s rendition of chaat, one of my favourite dishes to order. The thick, crunchy lotus chips offered great texture to the dish. I also really enjoyed the use of sweet potato which added an organic sweetness to the chaat.
Both the crab prawn parcels and banana leaf croquettes were interesting dishes we’ve not seen before. The croquettes were well executed and perfectly enjoyable, although if I had to pick between these and the Chingri cutlets in a battle of fried starters, I’d have to go with the cutlets which offered a bit more punch. The steamed crab prawn parcels were unfortunately our least favourite starter of the night. While I had high hopes for the dish, it didn’t quite stand up to all the other strong flavors on the table. The chicken malai tikka was tender and flavourful; all in all a successful dish. The use of mango ginger heightened the dish with sweet, peppery notes.
For mains, Mr. Chatterjee served us the slow roasted Welsh lamb, tiger prawn malai curry, Calcutta lamb biryani and black dal. Additionally, there were sides of baby potatoes, mango-mustard aubergine and a bread basket containing an assortment of Calcutta naan, paratha and tandoori roti. As I said before, a real feast for kings!
We loved the slow roasted lamb cooked gently with yoghurt, green cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and mustard oil. The meat was fork tender and the delicious sauce was perfect for mopping up with a warm piece of paratha. We also really enjoyed the coconut prawn curry. The juicy prawns were generously coated in a sweet curry sauce I could eat over and over again.
The biryani was rather interesting with the addition of quail egg, rose petals and saffron though as a purist when it comes to biryani, I still prefer the home cooked version served in a big pot with only a few simple ingredients over more refined restaurant takes. The black dal was rich, creamy and delicious. Yet another dish to be cleaned up by the bread basket. The sides of potatoes and aubergine were great accompaniments to the meal though one might argue not necessary given the onslaught of food.
We enjoyed the meal at Chourangi and only wished we had a few more people to help us tackle the bounty of dishes. Most menu items range from £10-£20, a nice mid-range option in the area. To get the most bang for your buck, I recommend going with a group in order to try a nice variety of dishes. There were winning dishes across the starter and main sections, making Chourangi a place I’d be happy to revisit.
Words and photos by Adrienne Fung.
Disclaimer: Adrienne was a guest of the restaurant. All opinions are her own.