Fatt Pundit (Indo Chinese) – London Soho
HALAL STATUS Halal chicken, beef & lamb (prepped & cooked separately) • Alcohol served
In the 18th century, the Hakka Chinese arrived in East Kolkata and settled in Tangra… now the most popular destination in the world for Indo Chinese food.
Newly opened Fatt Pundit in Soho is aiming to clear such confusion by “bringing the taste of Tangra” to London.
Located on the same road as the iconic Islamic centre on Berwick Street, the name itself is said to be a playful take on the “common Chinese surname ‘Fatt’ with the Indian word ‘Pundit’ (a scholar)”.
The restaurant is relatively small and cosy, with 35-covers on the ground floor which includes an alcohol bar close to the entrance, and seating for 15 downstairs.
Fatt Pundit’s decor is minimalist in nature, particularly downstairs, with plastered walls and warm hues combining to create an almost canteen-like atmosphere.
This impression is further strengthened by the single-page menu, whose street food-style dishes include steamed dumplings called momos, lollypop chicken, and Hakka Chilly Paneer Lettuce Cups presented as small plates.
The Guava Chilli Sour was one to remember, with the sweetness of the guava wonderfully neutralised by the heat of the salty-cum-chilli rim which, while left to gently burn the lips, continued to pleasantly linger thereafter. You won’t find very many beverages like this being served at other joints.
While the Kala Kattah Mojito was certainly kala, or black, it wasn’t so much kattah, or sour, as it was masala-sweet. In fact, for anyone who’s had a classic Indian fruit salad, they’ll be reminded of the taste of the chaat masala in this one, which made it quite a unique concoction, with the black salt coming through as an aftertaste.
What made the Mango Scheuzan Rush a far more interesting affair than it would have been otherwise, is the red chilli garnish, which, when had with a deep long swig of the mango, manages to impart some heat while adding an earthy undertone to a semi-thick and relatively sweet beverage.
As for the Cucumber Cooler, then this was a seriously refreshing eye opener, with the combination of the mint and cucumber beautifully offset by the clever use, again, of the apparent chaat masala. Not only did said addition give this a unique identity, teasingly tickling the back of the throat, but also meant that this was one of the best cucumber coolers we’ve had.
Although we would have preferred our freshly prepared watermelon juice slightly more chilled, the other two had a little twist to them which made them standout above the ordinary.
Hence, the addition of the masala in the Thums Up cola was a really interesting touch, and one we hadn’t had before. We also really enjoyed the distinct sweetness of the cane sugar jaggery, as it’s known, in the lusciously thick Mango Lassi.
All meals in Tangra start with these hearty, flavoursome steamed dumplings coming straight from the Steel Steamers, served with a spicy chutney with influences from Bhutan, Nepal, Tibet and other parts of India.
This trio of attractive green vegetable momos were nicely pleated, with plenty of shine, and came with a pair of sauces: red pepper and sesame.
The mushroom within a mixture of other vegetables had a gorgeous texture, almost gelatinous in nature, with the cubes of tofu offering a chewier slant.
In the end, we found that this variety paired up far better with the sesame sauce than its partner.
The chicken itself was finely minced, soft and well seasoned, with a hint of garlic to it.
There was also a touch of heat coming through too; so be sure to have these with the red pepper sauce.
This was an absolute triumph, both in terms of flavour and texture. Smothered in good amounts of sweet yoghurt and sauces, this generous bowl of delicately crispy fried spinach had a candy-like sweetness to it alongside a touch of chilli running through the background.
A good sprinkling of pomegranate seeds added some crunch to a dish that’ll be remembered for some time to come.RECOMMENDED
“Wow! Soooo good,” is how one Lion began his evaluation of this outstanding dish.
These Sticky Sesame Vegetables may not look like much, but whatever they’ve done to the manuka honey to achieve such a deliciously sweet and smoky glaze is quite something.
Not only are these crispy vegetables coated in a rich sticky glaze, but they’re sufficiently chewy enough to render them dangerously addictive. Add to that a touch of heat, and these are just as good as the Crackling Spinach had above. Truth be told: simply too close to call between the two!
Another brilliant starter this Crispy Okra Salt ‘n’ Pepper. What made this another memorable one, was the clever way in which the heat and mild acridity of the sprinkled dry chilli flakes and burnt garlic were tempered by an unbelievably good, fragrant mint sauce.
Covered in a light crispy batter, this was simple finger food at its best!
MEAT + POULTRY
Nevertheless, in terms of the consistency of the rub, not only was it a tad pastey, but also slightly thick and concentrated in places.
As for the pair of thick chops, then despite being relatively pink on the inside and quite tender (they were meant to be presented medium-rare, but were served a touch over medium), these weren’t quite as juicy as their quality warranted.
And because the masala rub only barely offered some heat, the superb mint chutney it came with was, thus, rendered unnecessary, with nothing to play off of.RECOMMENDED
As deliciously textured as the Lollypop Chicken was, with its uber crunchy and slightly oily battered exterior, which we easily forgave given how succulent the chicken was, it was the vibrant orange Szechuan chutney which really elevated things here.
Be sure to properly coat the lollypop in as much of the onion-based chutney as you can to really enjoy the interplay of flavours between the former’s mildly spicy batter and the latter’s sweet and sour tanginess.
The Ribeye Dry Red Chilly split the crowd. The Lion who found this to be “decent” said, that while the strips of beef were “nice and chewy and juicy”, the dish had a sameness to it all, which eventually required the side of rice we ordered to make it more interesting.
The other Lions, however, disagreed; instead enjoying the deep garlicy-sweet richness of the sauce, as well as the almost liver-like iron aftertaste of the tender ribeye. In fact, one simply concluded: “Tremendous!”
Floating in a curry that’s texturised with finely chopped shallots and flavoured by a sweet-chilli soy sauce, were expertly cooked strips of chicken in this Manchurian Chicken.
And while this was a tasty plate of food, it was good without being anything spectacular.
The sweet and smoky depth of the sticky glaze coating these gorgeously plump and meaty prawns was, simply put, amazing!
But it’s the Szechuan chilly, which managed to deliver just the right level of heat, which completed this Bombay Chilly Prawns dish.
Although this Curry Stir Fry Bream was superbly executed, if this is how it was meant to be, then, in our opinion, you might need a side of rice to really enjoy this for what it is.
Hence, while the soft and flaky Bream with its ultra crispy skin was beyond reproach, we did find our initial enjoyment of the semi-thick coconut-based curry, whose buttery sweetness was partially offset by the aromatic pungency of the mustard seeds, gradually begin to wane.
Despite the satisfaction of the warm subtle flavours of the turmeric and curry leaves, we all agreed that this was definitely on the sweet side, with nothing much by way of heat or acidity to balance things out.
And though having this with rice certainly helped, perhaps an accompanying wedge of lime might be an answer to all that sweetness.RECOMMENDED
Lord! With a dish like this Cruncky Peppercorn Crab 65, we need to consider adding another category to our end of year awards: Most Innovative Dish of the Year.
What a cleverly conceived plate this was: colourful, extremely inviting, and crunchy in more ways than one. The pepper crab had a crispy masala batter, with the aroma of the crab coming through distinctly. Equally as crispy was the fried curry leaves, which were delicious to nibble on in their own right.
But what really delighted us collectively was the bed of dried and crunchy sweetcorn, which, being lightly dusted in a subtle masala, delivered that extra dimension. And though it was all unabashedly crunchy, who cares when it’s this darn good?
BREAD, RICE & NOODLES
You couldn’t get a more glistening sheen on a stir-fried noodle dish if you tried; well, not without resorting to the use of Soul Glo or something (think Eddie Murphy’s Coming to America).
Jokes aside, this Stir Fry Szechuan Chicken Noodles was exceptionally executed, with the noodles and chicken strips bang on cue, and the vegetables still retaining that crunchiness. But what hits you first is the deeply satisfying smokiness of it all, followed by a good level of heat, with an edge of sweetness to the whole thing. A classic dish done really well.RECOMMENDED
Bing Bread is readily available across the streets of China, and is designed to be a convenient grab ‘n’ go snack that’s to be enjoyed sans any sauces.
The above image may not entirely convey what follows, but Fatt Pundit’s Bing Bread was, thanks to the effort expended in weaving those layers, as soft and buttery, and as crispy and crumbly as any chapati bread we’ve had.
An absolute triumph and one we’d recommend all the way.
Would have preferred more; but for what it is, it’s well made and quite different, with the burnt ginger being subtle.
Who doesn’t enjoy an indulgent brownie presented in a piping hot skillet?
But the chocolate, which was more dark than milky, was let down by the brownie itself. We expect a well made brownie to be almost rustic in nature, with pockets of soft and squidgy gooeyness distributed evenly throughout. This was altogether more uniform and cake-like in texture.
A decent cake, but no brownie!
Despite one Lion finding the consistency of this Mango Shrikhand to be “spot on”, another, though describing it as having a “lovely moosey [sic] texture”, did consider it to be “a bit on the gelatinous side”.
Nonetheless, no one questioned the flavour of the sweet mango, which was enhanced by the honeycomb crumble and roasted peanuts sprinkled on top.
And this Masala Chai was an extremely good one too. Sweet and luxurious, with the flavour of strongly heated milk coming through soothingly. The ultimate finale to any spicy meal.
- YES/ NO
- DISABLED FACILITIES
- CHILD SEATING
- FREE WI-FI
Fatt Pundit has truly opened our eyes to the potential of Indo Chinese food. We have no qualms in admitting that, up till now, we've considered this style of cooking less seriously than others. No longer! Fatt Pundit has broadened our horizons and opened us up to the true potential of that part of India, viz Tangra.
These guys are serious contenders for bringing something to the table that makes them stand out from the crowded UK Indian cuisine scene.
We have no doubt that there will be dishes on their menu that you haven't encountered before, and all at very reasonable prices given their London Soho location. Go pay them a visit in a hurry and thank us later.
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