What: The second London location for Indo-Chinese restaurant brand Fatt Pundit, located on the former Polpo site on Maiden Lane in Covent Garden. The concept is inspired by the food of Chinese immigrants from Canton and Guangdong who settled in Kolkata and Mumbai and began incorporating Indian spices into their cooking - the name being a playful combination of the common Chinese surname ‘Fatt’ with the Indian word ‘pundit’, meaning a scholar.
Who: Fatt Pundit was founded in 2019 by Huzefa and Hamza Sajawal. The pair, originally from Mumbai, are also behind London-based restaurants Bombay Chow, Station 31 and Imperial Lounge, which all serve variations of Indo-Chinese cooking. The inspiration for Fatt Pundit is primarily derived from the traditional cooking and hosting abilities of the Sajawals' grandmother, but designed to still nod to the street food origins of the cuisine.
The food: The small-plates menu features a number of new dishes including crab 65, Fatt Pundit's take on chicken 65 that features crunchy soft-shell crab served with yoghurt flavoured with a symphony of different spices and curry leaves; saffron butter prawns in a coconut Malabar sauce; honey chilli duck with steamed pancakes; and crunchy Jersey royals in a chilli and garlic reduction, and topped with coriander. All dishes are designed to be shared between two, with prices ranging primarily from £7 to £12 per plate. Favourites from the Soho restaurant to feature include steamed momos – spicy dumplings originating from Tibet - filled with either beef, leek and chilli, or kid goat, garam masala and cardamom, and served with spicy sesame and red pepper chutney; crackling spinach, a dish inspired by Chinese crispy seaweed with spinach leaves fried two at a time, dried out for 24 hours to crisp up, and served with a tamarind, date and plum sauce and topped with yoghurt and pomegranate; and sweet and sticky venison coated in a sweet chilli sauce with burnt garlic, and topped with crispy noodles.
The drink: Described as 'an evolution' of Fatt Pundit's Soho site, the Covent Garden restaurant boasts two bar areas and features a new beverage concept overseen by bar manager Gianluca Capilungo. A range of new, 'signature' cocktails include The Hakka Garden, made with peach, passionfruit, vanilla, black cherry and bergamot; the White Tiger, made using Hapusa Himalayan Gin, lychee and elderflower; and The Scholar and the Priest, which combines brandy, black olives and rosemary tonic. A line-up of small batch beers and soft drinks are also available, alongside a wine list that showcases independent and organic producers from countries including China and Lebanon.
The vibe: Open and airy, the two-floor restaurant is a big step up from Fatt Pundit's original location on Berwick Street, which is a rather narrow affair. The restaurant's luxe interiors have been designed to reflect the look and feel of Kolkata, with customers seated on traditional Brentwood chairs or booths, and waiter stations hewn from reclaimed cabinets. Rustic, stripped-back walls are laced with brightly-coloured red and blue Hindi signage; Victorian floor tiles, dark timber polished furniture reference Colonial Kolkata architecture and antique Chinese and Indian artefacts are positioned throughout.
And another thing: Having now gained a strong foothold in the capital, the Sajawals are now understood to be lining Fatt Pundit up for further growth. Rahul Deshmukh, the group's general manager, tells BigHospitality that two other possible openings in the capital are currently under consideration, as well as potential regional growth. There have also been discussions about possible franchise agreements overseas.
6 Maiden Ln, London WC2E 7NA