Eat this: Little Kolkata

A taste of Calcutta comes to London as authentic Bengali food moves from supper club to a permanent restaurant.

30 August 2018
asiandessertindianmeatrestaurant openingrestaurantsseafood
  • The Gist: Bengali specialities served as sharing plates
  • The Chefs: Co-founders Prabir Chattopadhyay and Biswajit Deb Das
  • Location: 51-53 Shelton Street, London WC2H 9JU
  • Food in 5 words: Spiced flavours and bold textures
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How did we get here?

It started with supper clubs held byco-founders Prabir Chattopadhyay and Biswajit Deb Das. After moving to Britain in 2006, Chattopadhyay found himself longing for the taste of home and began cooking familiar dishes using his favourite traditional spices and ingredients. His fellow British-based Calcuttans soon joined to enjoy his Bengali-style feasts, and from there the supper clubs were born.

Little Kolkata proved a success, with all its events fully booked.The most recent, Monk and the Fish Supper Club, was held in April 2018 in celebration of Bengali New Year. Hosted by Davy’s Wine House, Holborn, it brought a typical Calcuttan festival to central London, alongside traditional West Bengali eats.

Now these supper clubs are being spun into a fully-fledged restaurant in Covent Garden, which is centred on authentic Bengali cuisine, inspired by Chattopadhyay’s upbringing in Calcutta and Das’ ancestral roots in Bangladesh.

What’s different about it?

While home-style Bengali eateries feature throughout Brick Lane, Little Kolkata presents the classics as a more contemporary offering.

The menu is designed around the different types of food available in eclectic Calcutta, taking cues from street munch, canteen grub, home-cooked meals, Bengali wedding menus, temple food and age-old Mughal recipes. It also maintains the communal and familial nature of the supper club with sharing plates. Classic dishes will include ilish maacher deemer, spiced roe from the hilsa family – a popular fish speciesamong Bengalis.

There are also specialities such as sautéed chicken liver, garnished with generous amounts of spice and fresh chillies, which can be accompanied by homemade truffle paratha (flatbread).

You’ve got to try...

Maacher cutlet, a piece of cod served with kasundi, a regional condiment made from fermented mustard seeds.

Sparkie also likes...

Traditional concepts on the dessert menu, such as the Calcutta mishti doi, a fermented sweet yoghurt, and the cardamom coffee brownie with rose icecream, which is inspired by Calcutta’s famous Swiss patisserie, Flurys.

Go if...

You want to dig into the regional specialities of Bengali Indian food.

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