Friday 10 April 2009

Tayyabs- The best (and cheapest) Indian food in London?

I visited Tayyabs last night with the Girlfriend. I've been there before, but it was quite awhile back and I didn't appreciate it for what it was. I was more than a little drunk (Who me?) and subsequently, I didn't pay attention to what I was eating - all I can remember taking away from the experience was the sense that whatever I ate was good, it was cheap and it was insanely popular, the packed tables and queues snaking around the restaurant and out into the street outside were testament to that.

Since then, I've got into blogging and since realised that Tayyabs is revered among Food Bloggers, so much so that when I asked for recommendations on Twitter it seemed like everyone has been there, and everyone has a favourite dish.

So, last night, with my list of dish recommendations in my pocket, and dusk fast approaching I strode down Whitechapel High Street with the Girlfriend in tow, pausing only briefly to grab some beers from a handily located off-license. (Tayyabs is Bring your own), and turned into Fieldgate Street where Tayyabs is located.

Even at just gone 7pm, the place was packed out with diners. We were shown to our table, a jug of Water and glasses were plonked down, along with a bottle opener and we briefly considered the menu - cross referencing it with my list of recommendations.

As such, we ordered the following...
Tinda Masala (Baby Pumpkin curry).
Dry Meat
Lamb Chops
Chicken Keema Masala

And finally three Roti (It was recommended I order these instead of rice)....I wasn't sure how many to order - so chanced my arm and plumbed for six. The waiter didn't bat an eyelid and corrected this oversight suggesting that I think again, and halfing my order to a more realistic three.

The Lamb Chops arrived first, red hot and sizzling, coated with spices. They were gorgeous - although as is always the way with lamb chops, not much meat on they benefited from picking up and eating with your hands, something my Girlfriend refused to do - so, obviously in the interests of review I had to 're-visit' her barely gnawed chops and finish them off.
Next came the Roti, I've never ordered these before - plate size flat bread, almost like Naans, but not so 'puffed up'.

Then finally out came the curries. I was incredibly impressed with the 'dry meat', it was really tasty and I'll definitely be ordering that again. The Chicken Keema Masala was also a winner, it was pretty spicy though. Last, but not least the Tinda Masala, probably my least favourite dish of the three, but still very nice....every last bit got eaten.

Finally, for dessert and despite being stuffed silly - we ordered a Mango Kulfi, which came in the form of an ice-lolly and was gorgeous....really creamy smooth.

Now, a word about the service, efficient doesn't begin to describe it - Tayyabs is busy, incredibly busy and the turnaround on tables is a wonder to behold. As soon as my last mouthfull of curry was being eaten, my plate was removed. My Mango Kulfi 'lolly stick' and wrapper, no sooner as I had laid it on the table, an unseen hand materialised from behind and cleared it. The Bill was presented unasked for (Probably the first time I've seen this in any restaurant). And as we got up to leave, our table had already been cleared and prepared and new customers were being ushered into our still warm seats. But, if anything this frenetic energy and buzz just adds to the charm.
It is, what it is.
.....and what it gut bustingingly gorgeous authentic Indian meal for two, the like of which I guarantee you haven't eaten down your local curry house for the bargain price of £28.

I can't recommend Tayyabs enough - if you haven't been, go.


83-89 Fieldgate Street

Tel: 020 7247 9543


Helen said...

It is such an experience isn't it? I'm so glad you liked it (again)! I love the whole experience, the smokiness, the noise, the atmosphere in general - it's rough and ready and so damn cheap!! The best way with the lamb chops is definitely to order loads and yes, pick em up!! I personally love the tinda - although last time I went it was a bit of a let down. Sometimes tayyabs can be a bit variable like that. Still, top of my curry list for sure. I heart Tayyabs.

The Ample Cook said...

That sounds like my sort of place! Food looked really appetising and such good value. Doesn't it make your dining experience so much the better when the service is good?

Great review Dan.

Dan said...

Helen, thanks so much for the recommendations, (Also Liz and Oliver). really helped - so nice to go into somewhere having an idea of what's good. Yeah, it's definitely got atmosphere by the bag full - I shall be visiting again and won't be leaving it so long between visits!

Jan, Thanks!
Yep agreed - the service is cracking but 'brisk' Makes a change not to be kept hanging around.

Merlotti said...

I'd always eat with my fingers rather than cutlery if I was allowed! It all looks and sounds delicious - can you book or do you just turn up?

Dan said...

Merlotti, I think you can just turn up but it's insanely busy - so I think your better off booking otherwise you'll be hanging around for ages - we booked and still had to wait 5 mins for a table to become free.

Culinaryschoolsu said...
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Anonymous said...

I live in Tower House, next door to Tayyabs. Believe me, this is not necessarily a good thing as my fiance and I are always tempted to "nip down for a cheeky Tayyabs" - we can smell it as soon as we open the front door! The best time to get a table is at 5.30pm on a weekday, anytime after that and it's a bit of a joke. Mirch Masala around the corner is also really good, and far less "famous". Their kebab rolls are gorgeous.

Dan said...

Gastrogeek - thanks for the info, I've heard the nearby Lahore Kebab house is another restaurant to be reckoned with, but never heard of Mirch Masala - I'll have to give it a go. It's also interesting that the best (and cheapest) places aren't in Bricklane but in Whitechapel.