When we found out that our local high street curry house (Amirah’s Kitchen) was being permanently closed and a new Indian street food restaurant was opening in its place, I was not too pleased. There are already a large number of ‘small plates’ and ‘sharing plates’ concept restaurants dotted all over London. But while tapas works in Spain (presumably where the inspiration came from originally) because they keep it relatively low priced so you can order in bulk, in London they cost a minimum £9-£11 per plate of minuscule portions of food that, while delicious, leave you poorer and still hungry after an evening out.
Which is why I was pleasantly surprised to check out the menu outside Chit Chaat Chai‘s front door and noticed how reasonably priced it was. The small plates (street chaats section) were all priced at £5-£6 per portion.
We picked a Sunday afternoon lunch time to try it out.
Inside, the decor is clean with pops of bright colours. Walls are adorned with Indian street art forms of the South. The decor is quite minimalistic but at the same time refreshingly different to an Indian curry house. The best bit about it are the toilets (sorry, no pics) where they have covered it with old Indian posters and etiquette charts popular in schools. Nothing like a blast from the past!
For drinks, we ordered a Mango Lassi and a Chaat Masala Lassi (£3 each). They came in cute little milk bottles. The Mango Lassi was top notch but my Chaat Lassi was under-seasoned.
From the street chaat section, we ordered the Pau Bhaji (£5); sort of a mashed mixed vegetable curry served with buttered brioche and a fresh salad medley of tomatoes, red onions, and cucumber. Having eaten this dish countless times as a child on evenings out with my folks in Delhi, it certainly brought back sweet childhood memories. I must say at CCC, they made it near perfect! Well done guys!
Another great dish from the section was the Amritsari Fish Pakora (£6.50). I was delighted to see this on the menu of a restaurant in London and simply had to order it. Lovely flaky pieces of succulent fish enveloped in mildly spiced batter, without the greasiness. It was easily the best dish for us that day. Superbly cooked and I could have easily ordered heaps more.
We also ordered the Kolkata Kati Roll with Paneer. To me, this was probably the least impressive of the lot. Nothing wrong with the dish itself, but being a Bengali, and having devoured a zillion kati rolls from our local fish market back home, I felt it lacked a certain spiciness and zing. Sorry guys!
For mains, we shared some Lamb Railway Curry, yellow Tadka Dhaal and some rice. The curry was awesome, very much like home. The yellow dhaal was competent, but I would say our other local The Chutney probably makes the best yellow dhaal in the area!
Chit Chaat Chai is a welcome change to the high street scene of Wandsworth Town. It’s churning out some good food, some great atmosphere and fun staff thrown in for good measure. Judging by their Instagram popularity, they make really innovative cocktails as well. Next time, we will definitely order more of the street chaats and try their cocktails as well. To me, their streets chaat dishes are definitely their stand out section and they don’t need to bend to the ‘curry’ expectations!