Chawk Bazar is named for a 400-year-old bazaar in Bangladesh, and serves south Asian cuisine with a focus on Bengali food and desi brunch, using only halal meats.
The idea here is to make traditional Bengali recipes more relatable by presenting them elegantly in a fusion style.
Graphic patterning and bold light fixtures make the small 30-seat restaurant feel modern and fresh.
Chawk’s Platter ($19) is a chunky board of south Asian fusion “tapas.” Items like a crispy fish cake of shrimp, haddock, crab and halibut pan-fried and drizzled with a spicy mayo surround a pile of crispy fried potato shreds sprinkled with a spice masala.
Bihari kebob sees beef sirloin marinated overnight in a special Bihari blend of mustard oil, paprika, chili powder, and other seasonings cradled in a pocket of house flatbread.
To put it bluntly, it kind of feels like a Bengali taco, the meat tender and warmly spiced and the bread soft, a complementary salad of sorts on top refreshing.
Popcorn shingara are Bengali street food versions of samosas, oblong rather than triangular, stuffd with potato and green pea, and served with a nice bright green sauce and a tamarind and tomato red sauce.
Phuchka fills delicate crispy semolina shells with a thick green pea and potato stew topped with cilantro, onion, green chili and shaved egg white. Pour a little thin tamarind sauce into one of the cups and pop the whole thing in your mouth for multiple flavours and textures at once.
Lamb kachchki biryani ($15) is a traditional Dhaka-style dum biryani that cooks the raw meat and the rice together. With a giant chunk of lamb, potato, boiled egg and thickly sliced rings of red onion, this fragrant dish is definitely a less commonly seen style of biryani.
Letka khichuri ($15) is listed on the menu as being plated on a “risotto-style lentil rice,” their way of interpreting khichuri (a lentil and Kalijeera mixture) for the uninitiated.
A bone-in lamb shank languishes on top, draped in a viscous, slow-simmered tomato, onion, and house spice blend sauce.
Halwa puri ($12) is a representation of traditional Bengali breakfast, house flatbread puri served with typical stewed chana masala and the two halwas, as well as the same veggie medley, house achar pickles and two eggs your choice of style.
The poached breakfast ($13) consists of three luchi flatbread topped with a stewy veggie medley and poached eggs, served with sweet carrot gajor halwa and semolina sooji halwa, and fresh fruit.
Full-flavoured drinks include pineapple or lychee iced teas.
The environment is very unlike many others around here, certainly not any of the takeout chain joints or other casual cheap places in this strip mall.