I am originally from India so I am always game for some Indian food. Sadly, Connecticut doesn’t have that many Indian restaurants. Of the ones I have tried thus far, I find myself recommending the same 2-3 places to everyone who asks. For a proper sit-down experience, I really enjoy Chef Prasad Chirnomoula’s INDIA restaurant in New Canaan (and now his new location in West Hartford). For a delicious fast-food, grab-and-go experience, Gopinath Nair’s Tikkaway in New Haven is a sure bet. Finally, for an in-between experience that is good for casual eat-in or take-out, I highly recommend Royal Guard in Norwalk.
And then, I happened upon Chutni Biryani & Noodle Bar…. totally by accident. It was during a cozy dinner with my honey at Mason-Dixon Smokehouse in Stamford a few months ago… we were seated right by the window overlooking the line of restaurants across the street. What a peculiar concept I thought…. a Biryani AND Noodle Bar…. say what?!
Quite simply, the owner/chef Sharath Dara, wants to serve what he likes to cook and eat! So, with a selection of traditional Indian appetizers, entrees and desserts on the smallish menu… he also offers a handful of Indo-Chinese favorites, three types of Ramen as well as Pork Buns!
I have visited Chutni twice now and have discovered some absolute standout things on the menu. They are quite authentic in flavor as well as spice levels. In many cases, the quality of food is far superior than what you would get even in India. Case in point – the Tandoori Wings which are to die for! So incredibly flavorful…. these are super tender, really meaty and juicy wings. Sharath told me that instead of sourcing frozen chicken wings like many other Indian restaurants do – he is only buying fresh. I am sure his secret marinade contributes to the end result as well but, my, what a difference that makes!
The Gobi Manchurian is yet another winner with its bold flavors that hit all the right notes of spicy, sweet and sour … all blended in perfect harmony.
The Hydrabadi Style Dum Biryani is one of my favorite dishes in Indian cuisine. Chutni offers it in four varieties. I have tried their Goat Biryani and let me tell you, it was really hard to stop eating – long Long LONG after my belly was already super-stuffed. Nice and spicy with perfectly fluffed basmati rice… accented with fried onions, cilantro, raita and that special “shorba” aka. gravy aka. sauce (which is always served with Hydrabadi Dum Biryani)….. this is pure heaven!
The Lamb Chops are another MUST on this menu. Just trust me on that!
The naan here is also quite delightful as well – so light and flavorful. Don’t forget to try the garlic naan please!
As for other Asian influences, I have not tried the Ramen at Chutni… but the pork buns were really quite good. I have yet to try the Chinese dishes on the menu. Going by what I have already tasted at Chutni, I am sure these will be packed with flavor and spice as well.
Chutni offers simple lunch time options for the working crowd in and around Stamford. You get to customize it with your choice of bread (out of six options), and meat entrée (lamb or chicken) and one of five types of sauces – all for $9.99. Online delivery is also available. Equipped with a bar, Chutni also offer a selection of wines, beer and cocktails.
The place is still in its early days yet and is functioning with a handful of front of the house staff members. But they are all very polite and eager to make make sure you have a delicious experience. If your start chatting with Sharath (which is very likely 🙂 ), he will be sure to recommend some absolute must-haves on the menu that day.
Give it a try….and tell me how you like it.
Chutni Biryani & Noodle Bar | Stamford CT