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Chit Chaat Chai

Restaurants, Indian Wandsworth
3 out of 5 stars
 (James Gifford-Mead)
James Gifford-Mead

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

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A pop-up turned permanent, specialising in Indian street snacks.

This small, independent restaurant on the ‘high street’ of the Tonsleys (an affluent, village-y enclave of streets close to Wandsworth Town railway station), started life the way any self-respecting London restaurant does these days: as a pop-up. As its name suggests, Chit Chaat Chai specialises in chaat (Indian roadside snacks), the best of which were the crunchy puri (small, deep-fried cases made from wafer-thin unleavened bread), stuffed with various fillings, including yoghurt, chutney and pomegranate seeds. The compact menu also features three ‘large plates’, including the highlight of the meal, a lamb ‘railway curry’ (the recipe was apparently used to feed the passengers travelling in Indian first-class carriages). The curry was the kind of dish that would have benefited from serving a day after cooking (or being taken home and devoured the next day). That said, the meat was tender, the tomato-based sauce vibrant and well spiced. Elsewhere, however, the menu faltered, with oily, over-seasoned okra and an odd, ‘sweet-and-sour’ treatment of paneer. Both were distinctly disappointing.

The visual aesthetic – all scuffed concrete floors, exotic Bollywood-esque walls and hard wood surfaces – works well as a backdrop to a busy, buzzy Saturday night service. Yet I couldn’t help but wonder if it would feel, if not exactly unwelcoming, definitely less than cosy on quieter evenings. But prices are refreshingly low (there’s even a bargain-basement lunch menu) and service from the hip young team couldn’t be more welcoming. When it comes to neighbourhood restaurants, that counts for a lot.


Address: 356 Old York Road
SW18 1SS
Transport: Wandsworth Town rail
Price: Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £60.
Opening hours: Monday: 18:00-22:00 Tuesday-Saturday: 12:00-22:00 Sunday: 12:00-21:00
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