Chaat has a lot going for it. It’s located in the hippest street in ultra-fashionable Shoreditch; it has a charming, engaging young female owner, Shanaz Khan; and unusually, it serves home-style Bangladeshi dishes, not the Anglo-Moghul cooking found in most Brick Lane curry houses.
This is simple fare: comfort food for British diners of Bangladeshi parentage. The menu’s aimed squarely at Shoreditch trendies, with five multiple-choice columns listing dishes in English translation. Keema was the pick of the main courses, the lamb mince pleasingly spiced with cardamom, cloves and cinnamon. Niramish, a Bengali vegetarian dish, lacked delicacy in flavour or texture. A shredded lentil and cabbage dish also lacked finesse, though we appreciated the ‘panch phoran’ Bengali spicing.
Dishes can suffer when they aim for the broadest appeal; a starter of paneer roti wrap, ‘rolled in crisp salad and a hot ’n’ herby mayo’, might have been the creation of a sandwich-chain focus group (looking good, but tasting bland). Not so the own-made dip using naga morich, the world’s hottest chilli on the Scoville scale, which fortunately has been diluted to make it palatable, and provides the right kick for milder dishes.