Cho Asia

90 Lower Richmond Road, London, SW15 1LL, United Kingdom

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Parminder Singh had a long association with the Indian Accent restaurant group. Originally from the Punjab, he cooked at the mothership in Delhi before moving to its branch in New York and then opening Indian Accent in London, which was sadly a victim of the Covid pandemic. After doing private catering for a time, in January 2024 he launched Cho Asia in Putney, which serves pan-Asian dishes. This is a 57-seat restaurant on the busy Richmond Road. 

The wine list had 18 labels and ranged in price from £28 to £65, with a median price of £32 and an average markup to retail price of 2.5 times, which is very fair. There were no vintages listed but sample references were I Castelli Pinot Grigio at £28 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for £10, Domaine Dupree Chablis at £48 compared to its retail price of £19, and  De St Gall champagne at £65 for a wine that will set you back £43 in the high street. Beer was Asahi or Kingfisher. 

Lamb chops (£16) were somewhat Indian in style, marinaded and grilled and served with a mint dip. The flavour of the meat was fine but the chops were cooked a bit too long, so there was no hint of pinkness when they were cut open (13/20). Crab 65 (£14) was soft shell crab with a wasabi sauce, though I doubt that freshly grated wasabi root was involved here. Indeed the wasabi flavour was distinctly subdued to the point of near invisibility (12/20). Garlic pepper prawns (£13) were good, the shellfish nicely cooked and there being a decent kick of pepper (13/20). 

Thai green curry (£11.50), in this case vegetarian, was very good. This had plenty of distinct Thai spices in the sauce and tasted quite authentic (14/20). Sea bass Malabar (£14) had a fillet of sea bass in a sauce, but although the fish was cooked all right the sauce was quite bland. This dish should classically have a rich, creamy sauce with coconut milk with curry leaves with some tamarind sweetness, but it lacked enough of these distinct flavour elements (12/20).  A som tam side salad had raw green papaya but lacked the fiery chilli bite that characterises a typical som tam, so it just came across as rather bland (12/20). A variation on butter chicken (£12.50) with grilled chicken breast was good, the sauce suitably rich with gentle spice, the chicken itself nicely cooked (14/20). Bak choi (£5.50) was rather disappointing, cooked for too long and on the soggy side (11/20). Fried rice was fine.

We tried two desserts.  Rice pudding with jaggery (£7) was harmless enough and not excessively sweet (12/20). Berry compote (£7) had plenty of pistachios but was oddly lacking in berries, so it was missing the sharpness that the fruit would have brought for balance (11/20). Coffee was from Douwe Egberts, a large industrial Dutch coffee supplier. A speciality coffee supplier would be nice, but this is just a local restaurant and so perhaps demand for good coffee is limited.

Service was excellent, and it proved impossible for me to get a bill, so we just left a tip for the staff. If you ordered a typical amount of food for two and shared a basic bottle of wine then you might spend something like £60 or so per person. Cho Asia delivered some good dishes, but for me the concept seemed rather confusing. I am not sure why you would take one of the more talented chefs in India and get him to cook Thai and Chinese food with the odd Indian influence. It is like somehow you open a restaurant and miraculously had the good fortune to hire Anne-Sophie Pic as your head chef, but then ask her to cook pizza instead of French food. I’m sure she could do that and do it well, but would that not be a waste of her talents?

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