It’s hard not to warm to Chor Bizarre. An established gem (almost literally) in Mayfair, that unlike its cool, calm neighbours, revels in its opulence and heritage with colour, glitz and glamour in a way that asserts its confidence.
And why not? This Indian restaurant has been in the neighbourhood for over 15 years with a loyal following and relaxed, attentive and friendly service that puts you at your ease.
The name translates as ‘thieves’ market’, hence the feel of Aladdin’s cave and the fact that all the furniture and furnishings are on sale if you ‘make them an offer they can’t refuse’. They also market the restaurant as a photo shoot venue.
My guest and I both tried the Thali, the traditional platter which allows you to try a number of different dishes and offers a range of classics such as a meaty and satisfying lamb kashmari roganjosh; Bhojpuri aaloo, the stuffed potatoes in a rich gravy; and delicious bites of marinaded chicken, gazab ka tikka.
There’s gulab jamun included too, the traditional cheese-based dessert, which, while milky deserts are my nemesis, must be a job well done as I don’t do a bad job of finishing it off.
The downstairs private dining room can accommodate up to 30 people: It’s an intimate space but with cushioned benches down the sides and its own bar that creates a functional and cosy space; and this being Chor Bizarre it offers something distinctive with its red decor, appropriately theatrical Bollywood theme and framed pictures of movie stars along the walls.
It would certainly offer a fantastic alternative for an office Christmas dinner or a corporate entertainment event. And there’s no additional charge for having your own staff and bar person.
Looking around at the other diners, including the expected suits, what I really took away from Chor Bizarre was the relaxed and convivial atmosphere they’ve created in Mayfair while still delivering something special.
The style of this restaurant may not to be everyone’s taste, but the food is good with great service and there will be plenty in your surroundings to inspire conversation. It’s bold, it makes a statement, and it’s hard not to enjoy that.
Tip: Chor Bizarre offers a whole host of different special menu options for a variety of occasions so it’s worth checking out their website or giving them a call – everything from ‘eat like a king’ where you can relive a Maharajah’s type dining experience with a 36 course menu to Indian gastronomical tours and learning more about India spices and food.