I was disappointed when I heard Tabun Kitchen on Berwick Street had closed down earlier this year, but having recently visited Fatt Pundit – which has taken over the vacant spot – I was pleased to have a new lunchtime favourite in Soho.
Boasting an impressive Indo-Chinese menu, this is fusion food at its finest. There are influences from Bhutan, Nepal, Tibet and parts of India, as well as the Hakka people. Originating from Kolkata, the Hakka people migrated to India from the Chinese province of Canton, bringing with them their culinary treasures. Combining traditional Chinese cooking techniques with the vibrant spices of India, the results are something both new yet familiar. Indo-Chinese is now an integral part of Indian cuisine, but has yet to be explored in the UK.
Playfully named Fatt Pundit, it’s a combination of the common Chinese surname ‘Fatt’ with the Indian word ‘Pundit’, meaning scholar. The main draw here are the Momos. It’s a common starter in Tangra: hearty steamed dumplings packed full of flavour coming straight from the steel steamers. They’re served with a spicy chutney and are made with a range of meat or veg fillings; I tried the chicken, which is fantastic. Would certainly love to give the other Momos a go and with a designated Momo station at the front of the restaurant, hungry people in Soho can get their Momo fix any time of day.
The menu is extensive with veg, seafood, meat, game and poultry options. Signature dishes include the Shredded Chilli Venison, which was allegedly made famous at the legendary Leopold cafe in Mumbai; if you’ve read Shantaram, you’ll know the cafe. Served with dark soya, it’s delicious on the mantou bread (Chinese steamed bun) it comes with.
The Hakka Paneer Lettuce Cups has excellent texture and a great little kick thanks to a hint of chilli. The Stir Fry Bream Curry is another one not to be missed. It’s cooked in a lovely rich coconut sauce with plenty of turmeric and curry leaves bringing the dish to life.
The interiors, much like the Momos, are influenced by Tangra – Kolkata’s Chinatown. Expect exposed concrete walls with splashes of red and blue to reflect the street signs of the area. All of which is complimented with paintings of the ‘Fatt Pundit’, of course.
For more information visit www.fattpundit.co.uk