Posted on Monday, 25th July 2011
According to the Chor Bizarre website, every city in India has its own special “Chor Bazaar” which translates as “Thieves Market”. Apparently, all kinds of wares can be found at these markets, from furniture to fabrics, pearls to periodicals, carpets to cutlery, with some of these making their way to the market without the knowledge of their owners.
This sense of eclecticism thus forms the backdrop of the décor at Chor Bizarre, so named as a play on the words Chor Bazaar. There is an eclectic mix of items “where nothing matches but everything goes” at the restaurant, and the idea is based on a sense of “finery, frivolity and joie-de-vivre”.
The original Chor Bizarre opened in Dehli in 1990 and the London sibling opened in Mayfair in 1997. The menu is fun to read and includes a number of ‘playful starters’, ‘street’ snacks (chaat), tak-a-lak curries, tandooris and other dishes.
My wonderful sister (check out her blog Food Porn Nation) and I dined as a guest of Chor Bizarre. Purani dilli ki papri chaat (£6), a dish of crispy semolina and wheat biscuits, yoghurt, tamarind chutney, ginger and hot spices was delectable. The biscuits provided a crunchy texture to the lovely mixture of sweet chutney, cooling yoghurt and yummy spices. This was a lovely dish.
Dakshni crab cakes (£8), white crab meat flavoured with South Indian spices was delicious with lots of flavoursome crab meat. The delicacy of the accompanying coconut chutney worked well with the crab.
Prawn tak-a-tak (£8.50), again cooked in South Indian spices was pleasant with a well made spicy sauce. However the prawns were of an average quality. The dish was accompanied by a North Indian spiced gram flour bread (missi roti) which worked a treat in mopping up the sauce.
Hand-dived pepper king scallops (£8.50) seared with spring onions, garlic, cherry tomatoes and crushed black pepper was decidedly bland. The spring onions were also a touch underdone. This was a mediocre dish.
To the mains, and tandoori lamb cutlets (£20) were nicely cooked, leaving the lamb tender and moist. Some of the spice mix seemed to crumble on the surface of the lamb, but it yielded a good flavour.
The prawns in a king prawn masala (£16) were poor and tasted rubbery. But the sauce, with its flavoursome richness, was delectable if not particularly hot.
Plalak makkai (£7.50), finely chopped spinach with corn kernels, garlic and tomatoes was very well made. The finely chopped spinach gave way to a creamy texture, and there were lovely hints of garlic flavour coming through from mixture.
Pistachio kulfi had that wonderful creamy dense texture that makes this such a winning dessert. The flavour of pistachio wasn’t particular strong, but it was yummy nevertheless.
Despite the dubious quality of the prawns and the dull scallop dish, the food was very good and there were lots of yummy flavours to be had. Chor Bizarre is a mid-range Indian restaurant that produces satisfying food in interesting surroundings and fairly reasonably priced given its Mayfair location.
Food rating: 3.5/5
Price range: About £30 – £35 per head. Excludes drinks and service.