I started my hunt for a good place for Chaat in London with a simple Google search. I consciously wanted to skip the fine dining Indian restaurants and the Bangaldeshi chains pretending to serve and know the Indian cuisine. I found a pretty good option which pretty much checked all the boxes for me.
Diwana Bhel Poori House is predominantly a Chaat place with a menu comprising of proper Indian vegetarian meals and beverages. We ordered three kinds of Chaat, all were very well prepared. They were not spicy and reasonable to the Brit pallet. Most importantly all the ingredients were fresh. Funny thing was that we were the only Indian customers. We were surrounded by Brit couples or families. Certainly quite popular with the Brits.
We saw a lot people going for dosas and the full thaali and enjoying their meals. I personally witnessed a lot of lassi orders as well, which was a big temptation but I held back.
Through the course of our Chaat we noticed everyone have varying alcohol at their table. We ultimately concluded it was a get your booze place. Quite an odd combination to have booze with vegetarian food, but yes there are plenty of people out there with a similar taste.
There was a familiarity in the service as it was very close to Indian service. 1. Abruptly serving the new dish at the vacant spot on the table. 2. Swiftly taking the order in a no nonsense conversation. 3. Quickly whisking off the used cutlery. Felt like home. However some may feel this is sluggish and not polished.
The place also had a buzz and a lot of talking, very similar to the Udupi places back home.
Prices were more than reasonable. Ended up with 3 Chaat for £13. Could not ask for more in the heart of London ?
One bit which stuck to the be most closest to a Mumbai restaurant was the washroom which first leads you to a place where spare furniture is parked, followed by a poorly maintained bathroom. May be we Indians just can’t get it right in this space. There was a uncanny familiarity around its state.
Finally I would recommend the place, enjoyed the Chaat. Don’t get disssuaded by the 3.7 rating on Google. May be a misinterpreted place. There are other options I will soon try out and get back to you
Address : 121, 123 Drummond St, London NW1 2HL
Phone : 020 7387 5556