Fat Boy’s Joint, Crawley

There are times in your life when you have an early morning flight. I really hate them. No one really wants to have to get up ridiculously early and schlep themselves across London in order to get to the airport two hours before their plane leaves. Plane leaves at 9:00? Gotta leave the house at 5:30! Because of this, we smartly decided it would be a great idea to stay at the airport hotel. That way getting from North London to Gatwick wouldn’t be as ridiculous. However, you are then stuck with the problem of where are you going to have dinner? I mean, no one really likes airport food. Luckily, we have amazing friends who live close by in Horsham, so they offered to pick us up and have dinner with us in Crawley, and it seemed like the perfect solution to the problem.

She suggested Fat Boy’s Joint which is an afghani street food restaurant. Then she started stalking the photos online and ran across a photo of their burger. She knew her husband was going to want it. (She practically couldn’t stop talking about it.) So we definitely headed there to get one. The venue itself wasn’t the easiest to find: It’s in some sort of shopping centre area it seems. We did park nearby, but we then had to hunt a bit, but eventually we found it. And it was fairly dead on a Tuesday night which was great for us because we got right in. It’s also quite nicely decorated with wooden walls, and fairly spacious tables (because I’m not really a fan of being squished up in a restaurant).

My friend’s husband was really set on the burger before we arrived, but we did manage to convince him to try the set menu instead. It helped that the owner offered to give us a free burger to try so they can get feedback on it. (Apparently the burgers are still a work in progress, so they want as much honest feedback as they can get). The set menu had a lot of choices, but we opted for the chapli kebabs, the mixed grill, the saag, a lamb karahi, the biryani and a massive naan with kulfi at the end of the meal. We also wanted to get a garlic naan to try it out as it seemed a bit more interesting than just a plain naan. It’s a lot of food, and you definitely don’t go home hungry. Since we had to fly early, we opted to go booze free for the night, and we had a pitcher of the traditional drink with sandalwood (because who doesn’t want to drink sandalwood!) Our friend decided to give the mango lassi a try as well.

The drinks were quite tasty. I think the lassi went down a treat, and the sandalwood drink was refreshing (but a bit sweet), but it was something new and interesting to try.

The food started coming out and filling up the table. They brought out a refreshing salad to start, along with three different sauces. There was some argument over which was the spiciest as I thought it was the dark green, but others thought it was the yogurt. I guess we have different definitions of “spicy”, however, they were all really tasty! The meat was all cooked well and didn’t seem overdone.. The burger was good, but the chips were a bit soggy (and we did let them know about that of course). I thought the spinach side dish was incredibly flavorful.

The biryani was a bit boring to be honest, and maybe we should have opted for the other rice dish, as it came with quite a bit of lamb. (It was the raisins and carrots that discouraged one of our fellow diners.) The giant naan was incredibly massive (like bigger than your head). I really liked it, but it’s quite a crispy naan instead of th chewy ones you get in Indian restaurants, so some of the others at the table weren’t as impressed. The smaller garlic naan was still a bit crispy, but the garlic butter on top softened it up. I think the lamb curry was my favorite, as it had quite a bit of flavor, but everyone else agreed that they liked the burger best. Dessert wasn’t overly exciting, as the kulfi was premade, but that’s quite common in these type of restaurants. Plus it wasn’t really an integral part of the meal.

The owner also chatted with us quite a bit about the concept, and I guess they’re still evolving. They wanted to try to be a bit of an upscale afghani restaurant when they created the concept, but that morphed quickly into street food recipes and recipes from their mother and their childhood. I can definitely see the appeal. My friends definitely want to come back and bring their friends (as it’s nor far for them at all). I mean if I’m in the area, it might be worth coming back to, but it’s not really worth a trip down there for that. (Although when we visit our friends, we are a bit hard up for good places to eat so who knows?) It definitely was much better than airport food, and I’m glad we got to go and give it a try and enjoy a type of food that I don’t eat that often. But hey, if you’re in the area and need something quick, an afghani burger probably wouldn’t be a bad idea…

Food: ★★★☆☆
Service: ★★★★☆
Atmosphere: ★★★★★
Value: ★★★★☆
Overall: ★★★★☆

Fatboy’s Joint
8 The Broadway, Crawley, RH10 1DS


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