THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE
Human beings have been migrating since they learned to walk. None of us would be who or where we are had this not been so. The merging of cultures has informed every aspect of our lives. This is particularly evident in our food and Fatt Pundit is a fine example of culinary migration.
In the late 18th century, many Chinese immigrated to Kolkata in search of a better life. They brought their culinary skills and it was this that gave them success. Now, over 200 years later, Huzefa and Hamza Sajawal have continued this culinary journey and brought Indo-Chinese cuisine to London, first in Soho and now in Covent Garden.
The mix of Indian spices and Chinese cuisine is a match made in heaven, beginning with cocktails. A guava chilli sour and a birds-eye margarita (£11) both added heat and spice to the classics and much for the better. With these, a few orders of momos is essential. Steamed dumplings with spicy chutney are mouth-wateringly good. Chicken with soy, garlic and spring onions (£6) is delicious but kid goat with garam masala, cardamom, ginger and garlic (£6.50) is a real showstopper. The spicing is superb.
The menu is based on small sharing plates and 5 or 6 dishes ranging from £7.50 to 15.50 is recommended.
Crackling spinach (£8.50) is a signature dish for good reason. Crispy spinach with yogurt, date and plum sauce and pomegranate sings with flavour and adds a touch of the Levant to the Indo-Chinese. Crispy okra salt 'n' pepper (£7.50) has crunch and savoury heat. Sticky sesame vegetables (£9) are an example of what Fatt Pundit does really well; the art of sticky sweet. These fritters with a sticky ginger glaze are like candy! An absolute must.
Bombay chilly prawns (£13) are another gorgeous sticky sweet, with green and red capsicum adding a burst of freshness to the beautifully cooked shrimp. Monkfish Malabar curry (£13) was the richest curry ever. Pure cream, sweetly spiced with a big chunk of perfectly prepared fish.
Honey chilly duck (£14) is a take on the Peking classic, served with pancakes and matchstick cucumber. The duck is crisp-fried and coated in another soy based sticky sauce. Unfortunately, this left no flavour of duck at all. Playing with classics is tricky because we all have expectations.
Crunchy Jersey Royals (£6) spiced up the spuds with chilly, garlic and coriander but Bing bread (£4) was doughy, perhaps from being too thick.
Lady Kenny (£7) is inspired by a Bengali sweet. 2 crullers made of a light paneer are soaked in pure sugar syrup. The lady clearly had a sweet tooth!
Vegan sizzling brownie (£9.50) is a masterpiece! A dark chocolate brownie with a scoop of Madagascan vanilla ice cream is served on a hot iron plate. Our most excellent waiter then poured copious amounts of dark chocolate sauce on top. It sizzled and bubbled like chocolate lava. A dream!
I booked a table for tonight!