Culinary London: Flavors of Bengal

Authored By:

CIEE London

Of the many ethnic communities contributing to London's diverse culinary landscape, Bengalis are significant in both the size of the community and also it's own unqique history. Bengali is believed to be the second-most spoken language in London with over 70,000 native speakers residing in the city. The community itself traces its roots back to two countries of South Asia - the state of West Bengal in India, and Bangladesh to the east of the border. Quite naturally, Bengali cuisine, of both the Indian and Bangladeshi kinds (yes, there indeed are differences!) has found increasing popularity, not just within the community itself, but also amongst other Londoners and foreign travelers to the city. Here's taking a look at some of the most interesting and popular hotspots for Bengali food in London.

1. Graam Bangla, 68 Brick Lane - When it comes to Bengali food, Brick Lane is the spatial gift that keeps on giving, serving up mouth-watering mains and desserts, alongside equally exciting street food options! Samosas, bhortas, and dry fried dish platters bring alive the flavours of the streets of Bengal from both sides of the border right in the middle of East London, promising to transport visiting foodies on a culinary journey. 

2. Nanna's Biryiani Restaurant, 14 Whitechapel Road - A variation on a Persian pilaf, biriyani is a mixed rice and meat dish historically originating from Muslim communtities in South Asia. Nanna's Biriyani serves a variety of biryiani dishes pairing the rice with several meat, prawn, and fish options. Their menu also boasts of succulent, grilled, meat-falling-off-the-bone shammi and sheekh kebabs. 

3.  Chourangi, 3 Old Quebec Street - An ecelectic blend of traditional recipes with ingredients unique to Bengal revamped with a touch of modern culinary techniques, Chourangi offers a quintessentially fusion fine dining experience. The dessert menu featuring sweet treats such as baked sondesh tarts and pistachio sweetened milk cake dumplings is to die for!

4. Amar Gaon, 50 Brick Lane -  The nondescript-looking diner set up in 2011 by a Sylheti owner offers a delectable range of spicy fish and lamb curries, the traditional rice-and-meat-based biriyanis , and street food options like chaat and phuchka. At a convenient walking distance from Spitalfields market and the many vintage shops of Bricklane, its location is as much of a treat for its visitors as its fare is for their palettes. 

5. Kolapata, 222 Whitechapel Road - If homely meals served in a simple setting constitutes your idea of comfort dining, then Kolapata would be the place go. Starters like Prawn puris  and haleem (lentils cooked with minced meat) are their specialties alongside more popular Bengali curries, fried fish, and pilaf rice.