Chowpatty beach bar

London is doing a pretty unimpressive interpretation of summer at the moment (*she types as she checks the temperature gage which still says 16 degrees C).

Which is a pity, because if the weather was more sprightly I’d be spending a lot more time here.

The novelty value of a mock Indian beach bar next to the Thames can’t be underestimated.

Chowpatty each Bar is the product of the contemporary curry masters of Dishoom.  Their Bombay Cafe in Covent Garden is a place I like lots. This outpost straddles the awkward gap between a pop up restaurant and a semi permanant structure. It’s like the demountable classroom of restaurants and bars. This one has been sitting on Southbank since the beginning of May and will stay until the beginning of October.

Its structure may resemble a lurid stitching together of shipping containers, but it proudly embraces the spirit of ‘Jugaad’. It’s Hindi for making do- so everything inside the space is reclaimed, reused or recycled- whether railway sleepers on the terrace, or walls made from tightly twirled newspapers.
 It’s a very casual place. There are no bookings. You place your order at the bar, find a seat and then return to collect your food from a hatch.

First up; drinks.

You can get a glass of wine (in a plastic cup), a Kingfisher Lager (£4), mini bottles of Pommery bubbles (£10), or lash out for one of their cocktails.

A ‘chaijito’ (£6.50) is a winning and clear combination of muddled mint, lime and chai infused Pampero rum. It also (somewhat disappointingly) comes in a plastic cup, but it’s probably some of the most fun you’ve found in one for a while. 

There’s also a menu of shaved ice drinks which you can have virgin, or pimped with Tanqueray or Ketel One vodka.

Now for the food. Once again, it’s a casual beach bar vibe. So a chicken ruby with naan (that’s a curry for those who haven’t seen enough Guy Ritchie films– Ruby being a truncation of  Ruby Murray/ curry) comes in little take away cups.

Flash fried and battered calimari tendrils, zippy with lime and chilli (£5) is parceled in a similar fashion

If you’re just up for snacks then some of the squid and the samosas would be a solid path-  the samosas emerge as happy little triangles, plump with vegetables and brittle at the corners.

Otherwise it’s hard to go past some of their bread based twists on Indian street food. The Dishoom Frankie is fresh naan filled with a punchy lamb mince and the Vada Pau is fried potatoes in a bun,  gussied up with homemade chilli chutneys- (it’s pretty close to an Indian chip butty).

There’s naan rolls stuffed with bacon, kulfis that beg to be nursed for dessert and a lovely vibe – so long as the sun is out or the temperature is high.

All of this means means just one thing. London summer, it’s time to get your act together.

Chowpatty beach bar
May 13th – Oct 4th
Monday – Friday: Noon – late
Saturday – Sunday: 10am – late
Queen Elizabeth Hall Terrace,
Southbank Centre,
Belvedere Road,
London SE1 8XX
Nearest tube – Waterloo or Embankment

  1. Its a pity they imported the dishes and the concept (partially?) but not the prices:)

  2. Enjoying the beach bar – 2 times out of three I've had to huddle inside from the downpour though!

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