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Indian in London--seeking recs for New Yorkers

erica Mar 8, 2009 01:41 PM

Please forgive the repetitive subject. I am helping out friends who will be in London later this month who will be lodging near the Barbican area. They are ready and willing to travel for great Indian food. Do not need fancy trappings. Do need wonderful food. (Indian food in NYC is not good at all, sad to say)

Also would love to hear suggestions for food markets, shops, ethnic restaurants in the surrounding neighborhoods.

I would be so grateful for a few suggestions. Many thanks. erica

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  1. s
    streetfoodie RE: erica Mar 8, 2009 03:19 PM

    If your friends are looking for more traditional northern Indian, I'd strongly recommend Hot Stuff in Stockwell. It's definitely not the place to go for fancy atmosphere but if your priority is tasty food, it's tops.
    http://www.eathotstuff.com
    I'm not as much of a fan of Anglo-Indian/modern Indian restaurants, so I'll leave those recommendations to others.
    Also, I'd recommend avoiding the tourist traps like Brick Lane (some OK South Asian grocers there but the restaurants are terrible).
    As a side note, having lived in both north-west India and NYC, I can say for sure that there is excellent Indian food in NYC (better than I've found in London, in fact - but I've only been in London for a year so I haven't been to a lot of the hole-in-the-wall type places). If your friends need help finding good Indian have them post to the NYC boards. :)

    3 Replies
    1. re: streetfoodie
      zuriga1 RE: streetfoodie Mar 8, 2009 03:28 PM

      This is not the place to discuss NYC Indian food, but I'm surprised you found it better than what's in London. I have just the opposite opinion. Maybe my taste buds weren't fully developed when I lived near NYC. :-)

      1. re: zuriga1
        erica RE: zuriga1 Mar 9, 2009 05:52 AM

        SF: I have never found great Indian food in NYC. (Yes, I have been to Spicy Mina!) But that is not what I am looking for now:

        My friends are traveling to London, so I am seeking great Indian food in that city at the present time.
        Many thanks for the responses so far! Please keep them coming!

        If you know of any other great Asian spots (not the ultra-high-end, though) please post them too.
        They are willing to travel by tube!

        Thanks again!!

        1. re: erica
          j
          JFores RE: erica Mar 9, 2009 06:04 AM

          Silk Road in Camberwell is incredible for Xinjiang style Chinese food (basically Chinese interpretations of Uighur food. Unless you meant the British usage of Asian.) NY only has two Uighur restaurants and neither of ours are the Chinese influenced style (one is REALLY Uighur and one is Uighur done the way you'd get it in Uzbekistan or Russia.)

          P.S. Spicy Mina isn't very good. Horribly inconsistent and not Bangladeshi at all. She was really good at one point, but that was like a three month period a few years ago. WAY too expensive as well. Her prices are insane compared to ei. Ghoroa.

          Camberwell is harder to reach. Northern Line to Elephant and Castle from which you take the 12 bus for about 10 minutes towards Dulwich Library. East Ham is about 20-25 minutes on the Hammersmith and City Line and Brick Lane is 15 minutes. I wouldn't be surprised if the walk from Whitechapel Tube to Gram Bangla or Tayyabs would make the trip longer than going to East Ham. Make sure they know that 5-10 minutes of tube malfunction time have to be factored into nearly every tube journey in London.

    2. j
      JFores RE: erica Mar 9, 2009 03:53 AM

      If you're willing to travel (and you are on the Hammersmith and City line anyway) then you really should make your way out to Thattukada. Thattukada is an amazing Keralan restaurant in East Ham which is only two blocks from the tube. The food is incredible and the people who run it are as well (I went in past closing the other day and instead of being turned out I was told that the place is always open for me, I was given a bottle of wine (which they wouldn't take money for and made me finish in one go), and everyone was just great.) The menu is pretty much divided between the actual written one and the immense unwritten one. You've got incredible stuff on the former (even their basic chicken curry is well above average. Also, all of their breads are made by an in house master.) The latter is where you can really strike gold though. You can order a whole (very very large) fish fried and then steamed in banana leaves for only 12 pounds. It is massive and will easily fill two people. They also have Keralan crab curry, fried mussels, the veg thali (3.50 with unlimited refills on rice, dals, etc) is great, etc. I can't say enough positive things about this place and I really recommend you spend the extra 10-15 minutes traveling rather than skip it. Far too many visitors to London give it the treatment that tourists give to Queens and Brooklyn.

      A bit closer is Gram Bangla which is probably the best Bangladeshi place in London. It's on Brick Lane and its the only establishment on the street that still serves edible food. Meals tend to be a bit pricier than Thattukada (which is perpetually 7 to 9 pounds per person seemingly regardless of what you get) but they have some great stuff. It's not fancy and it's basically a Bangladeshi men's social club, but the food is very authentic, spicier than most expect, and great (it's basically what you'd get in someone's house.)

      Also, NYC has great Indian food. It's in Queens. The Bangladeshi there is better than any I've had here except for Gram Bangla. New York's scene caters almost exclusively to South Asians so it's generally not high-end, it's low priced, and it's immigrant directed. That also means you generally have to get on the 7 train or F train to get it.

      The areas around both places are extremely South Asian and while they're not as concentrated as the Bangladeshi areas you find in parts of Queens and Brooklyn, they're certainly more diverse. East Ham has a massive South Indian and Sri Lankan population while at the same time have loads of Pakistanis, Gujaratis, and Bengalis. Not exactly luxury food markets, but I really enjoy Queen's Market (on Green St) and East Ham Market. I do all of my shopping between them, but they're really for groceries. Down the block from Thattukada there's also Lahore Lahore Eh which serves up some really good Pakistani food. Tayyab's is a notch above it, but Tayyab's is also packed at all times and in a constant state of rush. Lahore Lahore's rogni naan is freshly made, buttery, and delicious. Their kebabs are above average without reaching Tayyab's levels.

      6 Replies
      1. re: JFores
        s
        Sharmila RE: JFores Mar 9, 2009 06:12 AM

        After Justin's wonderfully extensive write-up on Thattakuda, I headed there two weeks, and really enjoyed myself. We have the devilled fish fry for starters. Very tasty, though a huge portion. I particularly liked the squid and mussels in this, and the crispy onions added an extra dimension. We didn't then venture into more seafood related dishes, primarily because the table next to us got served some lovely looking channa (with the small black channa) and some paneer masala and I immediately experienced a hankering for dishes in the vein of my own vegetarian Indian mothers dishes. Both were still great, with a real kick to them. The paratha were fantastic - flaky, buttery and all you would want to mop up some yummy sauce with. We also had the butter chicken, which I wasn't keen on, but my companion liked. It was just a little too rich for me. The mango lassi's were great - so good I had two, even though this probably resulted in me getting full far too quickly.

        I will definitely go back - I want to try the whole fish next time. I don't suppose anyone off here has ever been to Thrill of the Grill in East Ham? I think I shall, if only for that truly fantastic name.

        1. re: Sharmila
          j
          JFores RE: Sharmila Mar 9, 2009 06:29 AM

          Thrill of the Grill Kebabish on Green St? That one is incredibly good. Opposite Baburchi. The one of East Ham High St is eclipsed by Lahore Lahore Eh which is top dog for kebabs and Pakistani stuff on that stretch.

          1. re: JFores
            s
            Sharmila RE: JFores Mar 9, 2009 08:38 AM

            Great. It is the one on Green Street. I shall definitely get down there and try it out.

            1. re: Sharmila
              j
              JFores RE: Sharmila Mar 9, 2009 01:26 PM

              The lamb chops there are as good if not better than those at Tayyab's and its cheaper. I love Kekbabish because it's open till 2am or later and it's very local for me. The seekh kebabs are also very good. The chicken stuff is so-so so I tend to stick to lamb, but the locals seem to really like the chicken. The paan guy kitty corner to Kebabish with the stall built into the 1 pound pizza kebab shop is actually really good at his craft, btw.

        2. re: JFores
          daveena RE: JFores Mar 9, 2009 05:46 PM

          I was also inspired by JFores' posts to make the trek out to East Ham, and loved Thattukada. The immediate neighborhood reminds me of the neighborhoods the 7 runs through in Queens - lots of colorful storefronts with a high percentage of ethnic restaurants - for those of us who prioritize food during our travels, and who take advantage of the opportunity to explore less-touristy neighborhoods in the pursuit of ethnic foods not available in our home cities, I think it's a must visit.

          For me the appam was a knockout. I traveled in Kerala for a bit last year, and fell in love with these lacy on the perimeter, fluffy and tender in the middle, coconutty, slightly fermented rice batter pancakes. I have never, ever seen them in the US. I used it to soak up the tumeric stained, coconut infused sauce of the fish moilly.

          I also enjoyed meals at Gram Bangla, and at the Indian YMCA.

          1. re: daveena
            p
            Peter Cherches RE: daveena May 9, 2009 06:10 AM

            If you're looking for appam in NY go to any Sri Lankan place--they're also called hoppers.

        3. p
          pj26 RE: erica Mar 9, 2009 04:00 AM

          I think it goes without saying you should head to Tayaabs - not far from Brick Lane. There are plenty of other threads on the board talking about it. It's not too far from the Barbican - jump on the Hammersmith and City line to Whitechapel (about 10 mins).
          It's BYO and you can eat really well for about £10 a head. Highly recommend the lamb chops and dry meat curry.
          Another favourite is Maida on Bethnal Green Road (at the eastern end of Brick Lane).

          3 Replies
          1. re: pj26
            j
            JFores RE: pj26 Mar 9, 2009 06:05 AM

            Maida drifts towards the realm of overpriced Indian Chinese. Also, is it still open after the brawl in which the waiter died?

            1. re: JFores
              p
              pj26 RE: JFores Mar 9, 2009 07:37 AM

              Indian Chinese? Interesting description - certainly not the Maida I was speaking of. One of the few reviewers I would trust agrees: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyl...

              And just to clairfy, Tayaabs is no more than a five minute walk from Whitechapel tube, so certainly closer than East Ham! It's also a pretty interesting area to walk around with plenty more to see.

              1. re: pj26
                j
                JFores RE: pj26 Mar 9, 2009 01:30 PM

                Maida on Bethnal Green Rd, right? Most of their main dishes are Indian Chinese as far as I remember. Pretty much everyone that was in there when I went was eating Indian Chinese stuff as well. It advertises itself as Bengali, but practically nothing on the menu is Bengali (and the name is flour in Hindi rather than in Bangla which would be moi'da.)

                I'd be willing to challenge the sights bit. East Ham's stores are arguably a lot more interesting and exotic, the area sports London's only large South Indian (specifically South Indian) temple, and the mix of South Asian groups is unlike what you'll find anywhere else in London. That's if you include the Green St stretch as well, of course. But then again, if you're only judging Whitechapel on Whitechapel Rd then it's a bit bleak as well (aside from the nice bit with the sailor's alm houses, the bell maker, etc.) Brick Lane's quite fun as well, though it's a hipster mob scene half the time now.

          2. zuriga1 RE: erica Mar 9, 2009 06:10 AM

            Some of us here have enjoyed a Chinese/Indian place called Dalchini. It's right at the Wimbledon Park Tube station - not really all that far to go on the District Line.

            9 Replies
            1. re: zuriga1
              j
              JFores RE: zuriga1 Mar 9, 2009 06:30 AM

              Dalchini is apparently quite good (same owners as Spice and Ice in Croydon btw.) I need to give it a shot.

              1. re: JFores
                zuriga1 RE: JFores Mar 9, 2009 08:54 AM

                We were there a year or so ago and had a good meal. It certainly was a culinary adventure for me. My son loves the foodie I've become since living in the UK. :-) I'll be in NY this May but won't have time to venture off to your favorite borough haunts. It's a quick trip. One day.....

                1. re: zuriga1
                  j
                  JFores RE: zuriga1 Mar 9, 2009 01:31 PM

                  Shame you won't be able to make it out. Regardless, the city has some great stuff as well (especially Fujianese and Dominican.)

                  I've been meaning to make it out to Dalchini, but I'm very far east and I think Wimbledon is very far south so it's been a hard one for me (I go to Croydon pretty often, but I don't eat at restaurants when I go so I don't have the incentive.)

                  1. re: JFores
                    zuriga1 RE: JFores Mar 9, 2009 03:26 PM

                    How long would it take you to get to Earl's Court? From there, it's not too far down to that northern part of Wimbledon. That said, it might be a long way to go from the Far East.

                    1. re: zuriga1
                      j
                      JFores RE: zuriga1 Mar 9, 2009 03:35 PM

                      Mmm. 30+ minutes to Westminster and then another bunch to Earl's Court. It'd be under an hour and a half. I'll have to give it a shot. I'm currently so broke that I've been going to Thattukada every night because I can't even afford groceries (I've had 18 pounds in cash for two weeks so I've been running up my credit cards on Thattukada literally every day since groceries ran out. They take card now!)

                      Giving this post a food spin, I'd really love to get to Chuan in Acton sometime in the future. My first meal there was my favorite Sichuan in London so far. Also, I need to get to the quite well known one in Earl's Cort which randomly popped up on the radar because of its Chinese language handwritten wall menu items. What's the name of that one again? No 28 Chinese Restaurant?

                      1. re: JFores
                        limster RE: JFores Mar 9, 2009 03:48 PM

                        It's No. 10 Chinese Restaurant. Some recent posts from Ibrahim.Salha and gang: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5288...

                        1. re: limster
                          s
                          Sharmila RE: limster Mar 10, 2009 05:19 AM

                          I want to go to No 10 too, as it sounds good from Limster's posts. It's also near work! I went to Chilli Cool on Leigh Street in Bloomsbury a few weeks ago and I really really enjoyed it. The spicing was definitely a few notches higher than Snazz and say, the Sichuan dishes at Gourmet San. I also liked the atmosphere - it was full of Chinese students and young people who obviously attend UCL et al and it was very relaxed. I really enjoyed the spicy poached beef - seriously addictive. The dry fried green beans were also the best version I've had in London (and I think also better than the ones at Red Chilli in Manchester). Service was pretty haphazard, but in a rather amiable way. They do close the kitchen early though, so it's not the type of place to stumble into after 9pm I think.

                          1. re: Sharmila
                            j
                            JFores RE: Sharmila Mar 10, 2009 07:48 AM

                            Noting Chilli Cool for a future visit! Maybe tonight...

                            1. re: JFores
                              t
                              t_g RE: JFores Mar 10, 2009 09:50 AM

                              yeah do it and pls report back

            2. erica RE: erica Mar 10, 2009 11:49 AM

              This is such great information! I am planning a trip myself in May so it will come in handy. Many thanks.

              To be more specific..the flat is in the City, easy walking distance from the Barbican.

              1. p
                pellie narc RE: erica Mar 11, 2009 06:26 AM

                If near the barbican area, for curry make sure to go to Mehek on London Wall and for cheap and good curry go to Tayyabs...do not go to brick lane for curry!

                Cay Tre on Old Street or Viet Grille on Kingsland Road for Vietnamese.

                Also Champor Champor for Malay in London Bridge area...

                Enjoy!

                2 Replies
                1. re: pellie narc
                  j
                  JFores RE: pellie narc Mar 11, 2009 02:59 PM

                  What's wrong with Gram Bangla on Brick Lane? Its' the only edible South Asian on the stretch (and it's the best Bangladeshi in London IMO.)

                  If you regularly attend the Malaysian embassy's Ramadan food event in NYC than I don't know if you should bother with Malaysian, btw (outside of Malaysia pretty much. Amaaaazing event that they do annually.)

                  1. re: JFores
                    limster RE: JFores Mar 11, 2009 03:45 PM

                    On a day to day basis, the Singapore/Malaysian food that I had in the US pales significantly in comparison, and I haven't even tried the Malaysian student Canteen operated by the Malaysian embassy that Howler has recommended.

                2. p
                  pj26 RE: erica Mar 11, 2009 08:39 AM

                  The Cinammon Club have opended up a new place in the City called the Cinammon Kitchen - a not so stuffy version of their Westminster restaurant. Got a good review in this morning's Metro so could be worth trying.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: pj26
                    zuriga1 RE: pj26 Mar 11, 2009 10:26 AM

                    Ah, I wondered if they were related. Cinammon Kitchen was on the Restaurant Week list (see other thread).

                    1. re: pj26
                      j
                      JFores RE: pj26 Mar 11, 2009 03:00 PM

                      I've seen some not so nice reviews of Cinnamon Club by a lot of posters that I trust very highly on here. It's also about 3 times more expensive than any place listed so far.

                      1. re: JFores
                        p
                        pj26 RE: JFores Mar 12, 2009 02:30 AM

                        RE: Cinammon Club. So what if it's three times more expensive - it has really good food and is a great experience - it's hardly comparing apples with apples?! And the Cinammon Kitchen is less expensive than the Club version.

                        1. re: pj26
                          zuriga1 RE: pj26 Mar 12, 2009 03:54 AM

                          I know that the Cinnamon Club is not a favourite among some people here, but I really enjoyed a meal there. When they have their special deals, it's well worth a try. Maybe I just like 'different,' and that's what they offer, plus a fantastic, beautiful setting. Food is like art, and we'll never all agree about some places.

                          1. re: zuriga1
                            p
                            pj26 RE: zuriga1 Mar 12, 2009 05:30 AM

                            I agree - Cinammon Club great, but I also love Tayaabs - it's just a different experience!

                    2. p
                      Plantie RE: erica Mar 14, 2009 02:47 AM

                      I also agree with street foodie that Hot Stuff is good, make sure you either book or get there really early though. We had a great experience there, they were full but the manager didnt want to loose our custom so he talked to the landlord of the pub on the corner & we ate our food in there! Its was a unusual experience but we really enjoyed it.

                      If you want proper Indian food you need to either head to Southall on the train (it can be caught from Paddington Station) or Tooting (on the Northern Line tube), they are both known as Little India due to the huge Indian population that have gathered in these areas. The food is cheap & authentic in both places and especially in Southall its like going to another country for dinner. The pub by the station, called the glassy junction even accepts payment for drinks in Rupees!

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Plantie
                        j
                        JFores RE: Plantie Mar 14, 2009 06:44 AM

                        Southhall and Tooting are both completely unnecessary trips for a short stay in London. Both have no truly notable restaurants anymore (not counting the Sikh gurdwara in Southhall which isn't a restaurant) and the population in Tooting is mostly Sri Lankan now. Kastoori has pretty much died. The pickings are far more diverse in East Ham at this point and the population is more legitly Indian. Southhall's great for the sites and sounds (and pictures), but it's a really nondescript area when you're not taking into account its ethnic makeup and the restaurants are nothing special. The groceries are good, but it's an expensive train (not even tube) ride from central.

                        1. re: JFores
                          p
                          Plantie RE: JFores Mar 14, 2009 07:38 AM

                          TBH, i think the food there is great. Each to their own i guess. What you spend on the train fare from Paddington to Southall, you save on how much you spend in the restaurant ;-)

                          Im off to Kerala this year for my holiday & i spotted a Keralan Restaurant in Tooting the other day on the tube replacement service (Grrrrr) so we're going to give that a try before we go, then i'll be able to tell you if its proper Indian food ;-)

                          1. re: Plantie
                            j
                            JFores RE: Plantie Mar 14, 2009 07:51 AM

                            Give Thattukada a shot. It's the best Keralan I've ever had. The entire gang in there can also give you loads of advice on Kerala (as they have with me.) BTW, I think I know which place you mean in Tooting and I think it says Sri Lankan and Keralan and is actually Sri Lankan owned (as most of the places are. Ei. Assai Dosai near Green St is like this as are many of the Chennai Dosa places and such.)

                          2. re: JFores
                            zuriga1 RE: JFores Mar 14, 2009 07:49 AM

                            Personally, I would only send tourists to Tooting if they want to see what a South London neighbourhood looks like... certainly not for the food.

                        2. erica RE: erica Mar 16, 2009 02:50 PM

                          I want to thank everyone for contributing such good information. My friends are on the way to London with this thread printed out...

                          I will be heading over in May, so will be sure to ask many questions before then! Thanks again!

                          14 Replies
                          1. re: erica
                            erica RE: erica Mar 17, 2009 06:58 AM

                            Just to get a jump on my own planning, and because I love to discuss food, which of the north Indian places has great tandoori dishes? Again, points for ease of travel from Barbican area...

                            1. re: erica
                              j
                              JFores RE: erica Mar 17, 2009 09:03 AM

                              Tayyabs near Whitechapel tube or Green St Kebabish.

                              1. re: JFores
                                erica RE: JFores Mar 17, 2009 11:15 AM

                                Those pics on the Tayyab site looks GREAT!!!!!! This is very exciting! I have to do some reading and come back...our trip will be in May..friends who I began this thread for are in London now..thank you JFORES!!

                                1. re: erica
                                  zuriga1 RE: erica Mar 17, 2009 01:54 PM

                                  I hope you have the same great weather in May that your friends are enjoying now. Keep us posted as to what they ate and where!

                                  1. re: zuriga1
                                    erica RE: zuriga1 Mar 17, 2009 02:07 PM

                                    Will do!

                                    1. re: erica
                                      erica RE: erica May 7, 2009 08:16 AM

                                      My friends have come and gone and I am headed to London next week for 3 days only. I have a dinner reservation at St. John.

                                      One dinner will be at Tayyabs. Can someone please confirm whether they are open on Sunday; there are no hours or days listed on their site.

                                      I would like to have tips on ordering at Tayyabs..(we will be three persons).

                                      Many thanks to all who were so helpful to my friends. They raved about their meal at Tayyabs so that is at the top of my list!

                                      I also want to have one fish and chips experience. Is there one that you all recommend that might be open on Sundays? Rock and Sole and Golden Hind are names I've read about...recommended?

                                      1. re: erica
                                        erica RE: erica May 9, 2009 11:14 AM

                                        I would be grateful if the hounds in London could offer some ordering advice for Tayyabs..

                                        Many thanks! (My friends reported seeing large platters of some kind of meat chops passing by and said they looked awesome! (????)

                                        1. re: erica
                                          m
                                          medgirl RE: erica May 9, 2009 03:03 PM

                                          Hi Erica,
                                          Order the lamb chops and sheekh kebab definitely. They will all be brought along on one big sizzling platter depending on how much you order. You can order some naan or roti to eat with the meat. I think their dry meat curry is meant to be nice, though I haven't tried it myself. I just fill up on their grilled meats. The chicken tikka and some sort of grilled white fish pieces as a starter (fish amritsari? I can't remember what it's called) are also nice. I guess lamb chops and sheekh kebab, followed by dry meat curry, would be the ideal order, with whatever carbs you fancy (rice or bread).
                                          Jay Rayner's rave review (will tell you what to order!!):
                                          http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyl...
                                          The full menu is on their website: http://www.tayyabs.co.uk/

                                          1. re: medgirl
                                            erica RE: medgirl May 10, 2009 04:48 AM

                                            Thanks, Medgirl. I found some pics here, and mention of a spring lamb special. This blogger was not wowed by the lamb chops, though:

                                            http://www.worldfoodieguide.com/index...

                                            We plan to go very early, around 5pm, on a night when we have theatre tickets. I hope we can avoid the worst of the crowds and that they will have all menu items at that time.

                                            1. re: erica
                                              m
                                              medgirl RE: erica May 10, 2009 05:42 AM

                                              I'm not much of a lamb chop kinda girl myself. The Tayyabs' chops are probably best dealt with by hand and mouth alone, without knife and fork. They are not substantial and can be a bit dry. My husband adores them. I prefer the sheekh kebab and chicken tikka and the fish. The fish can be hit and miss, sometimes perfect, sometimes too dry. The service can sometimes be a bit brusque because the waiters are these young Pakistani guys who think they are too cool for school. They have these little PDA things they take the order down on and always seem like they are rushing, but don't be taken in by their act, just take your time and enjoy the food!

                                              1. re: medgirl
                                                erica RE: medgirl May 11, 2009 02:05 PM

                                                Thanks very much! Is there any other kind of chop? I ask because my friends said they saw some large chops pass by quite a few times and wondered what these were..(??)

                                                Is it possible to reserve a table?

                                                1. re: erica
                                                  j
                                                  joolsd RE: erica May 16, 2009 10:25 PM

                                                  Yes, I believe it's possible to do so through their website. To be honest I've always found the best time to have a meal there is as a late lunch on a weekday. It's usually half-empty, so there's no chance of the alarming experience of your table being cleared and made ready again before you're even out of your chair.

                                                  And I believe they only serve lamb chops... The only thing other thing I can think of as far as bone-in meat there goes is their lamb shank?

                                  2. re: erica
                                    m
                                    medorand RE: erica May 18, 2009 11:20 AM

                                    Just went to Tayyabs last Saturday night. We reserved for 9:30pm and got seated at 10:00pm. Do not attempt that line! We went on Wednesday night and left after standing in it for 45 minutes without moving. It wrapped around the entire place twice on both occasions. I am happy to say that it was worth the hype and the wait. I agree with many of the comments. The tandoori lamb chops are incredible. Not much substance to them but lots of flavour. The fish masala is nearly as delicious, but could have been more moist and seasoned. Everyone at my table adored the dry meat and sag aloo. The latter was the best I've ever had. The naan was kind of greasy and dried out- definitely not cooked to order. That was my main complaint. I highly recommend Tayyabs. I was really impressed. Perhaps take the others' advice and go at lunch, but definitely book ahead and expect to wait!

                                    1. re: medorand
                                      erica RE: medorand May 20, 2009 01:18 AM

                                      We went to dinner yesterday at 5:30pm and we were so glad we had arrived early--the place was packed with people waiting by the time we left just before 7pm! I had managed to book online from the US but that was not necessary because we went so early. I will write full report of our 28 pound (for 3) dinner when I get back to NY this week! What a place!!!

                            2. j
                              juniorworm RE: erica May 9, 2009 04:25 AM

                              Does Thattukada have dosa? It looks fantastic but I've got a terrible dosa craving going on.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: juniorworm
                                limster RE: juniorworm May 9, 2009 09:46 AM

                                We had their appam dosa, which is flatbread like, fluffy on one side and crisp on the other. It's outstanding, but as you know, different from the masala dosa that is perhaps a bit more commonplace. (General note: one of my Indian colleague pointed out to me that dosa is a category, not a specific type of bread.)

                                1. re: limster
                                  p
                                  Peter Cherches RE: limster May 9, 2009 10:11 AM

                                  I'd technically call dosa a crepe rather than a bread, and yes different flours can be used--the basic dosa is rice (and maybe lentil?) flour, while the rava has wheat flour, etc. I've never heard of appams referred to as dosas, though. I believe the dosa is originally from the Udipi region of Karnataka (as is the uttapam), and the appam is either from Sri Lanka or Tamil Nadu originally.

                                  1. re: Peter Cherches
                                    limster RE: Peter Cherches May 9, 2009 10:26 AM

                                    Woops, it was a thattu dosa, not a appam dosa (which doesn't exist), thanks for pointing that out. But it's apparently Keralan; I know Keralans who lay claims to dosa too, just different types.

                                    1. re: Peter Cherches
                                      howler RE: Peter Cherches May 9, 2009 02:06 PM

                                      actually, 'rava' is semolina.

                                  2. re: juniorworm
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                                    JFores RE: juniorworm May 9, 2009 10:27 AM

                                    They technically don't do dosa HOWEVER I've seen families order it. You can ask when you get there and they might do it or they might not depending on how they feel. If they say no then you can walk down the block to Vasanta Bhavan. You pass it on the way from the tube to Thattukada.

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                                    Peter Cherches RE: erica May 9, 2009 06:16 AM

                                    Has anybody been to Saravanaa Bhavan? It looks like they have 2 London branches. They're part of a Chennai-based chain, and their Manhattan branch is my favorite South Indian in NY.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: Peter Cherches
                                      limster RE: Peter Cherches May 9, 2009 09:48 AM

                                      Jfores has been I believe. I've only had their badam kheer for dessert at the East Ham branch and it was merely ok, could have been less oily and the saffron fragrance more delicate.

                                      1. re: Peter Cherches
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                                        JFores RE: Peter Cherches May 9, 2009 10:26 AM

                                        Nope never been. Been to Vasanta Bhavan which is on High Street North in East Ham, though. I don't believe they're related (Spring Wind vs some other sort of wind?) Vasanta Bhavan has the best dosas I've had in London thus far (rava masala at least.)

                                        1. re: JFores
                                          limster RE: JFores May 9, 2009 10:30 AM

                                          Is Vasanta Bhavan the place with black awnings and and dark glass in the front? That's the place where noticed some Desi Chinese stuff on the menu. West side of High North, bit further north from Hyderabadi Spice.

                                          1. re: limster
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                                            Peter Cherches RE: limster May 9, 2009 04:08 PM

                                            The Saravanaa Bhavan branch in NY makes fabulous thalis that are the closest in taste to what I remember from trips to South India, so the London branches should be worth a try (not for me though, since I have more pressing fish to fry).

                                            1. re: Peter Cherches
                                              Ullal RE: Peter Cherches Jun 12, 2009 02:27 AM

                                              The East Ham branch of Sarvanna Bhavan is superb. The cheapest and most satisfying South Indian meal you will have. The idlis are soft and the best you will find in London and I recommend the onion, tomato and chilli utthappam! It's to die for.

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                                        Peter Cherches RE: erica Jun 12, 2009 04:33 AM

                                        Between Tayyabs and Gram Bangla is there any particular reason to consider one over the other for lunch beyond the comments already made about those two? I'll probably head to Whitechapel/Brick Lane area on an afternoon to hit the galleries and wander around. Do they both offer their full menu at lunch? I do love lamb chops. Also, anybody know if Gram Bangla does mughlai paratha? In New York, at least, it's only available from Bengali-owned restaurants.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: Peter Cherches
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                                          medgirl RE: Peter Cherches Jun 12, 2009 02:43 PM

                                          Tayyab's would be my choice: it is a restaurant, whereas Gram Bangla has more of a canteen atmosphere. I also find Gram Bangla's prices unreasonable. I think Tayyab's is much better value. Tayyab's offers Pakistani Punjabi food, with really good grilled meats and meat curries. Gram Bangla is Sylheti food, and Sylheti food can be a bit of an acquired taste (my family are of Sylheti origin). Gram Bangla does not cater to the mainstream, Tayyab's does. So if you are looking for something different, give Gram Bangla a whirl. But if you are after a surefire winner, go to Tayyab's.

                                          1. re: medgirl
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                                            Peter Cherches RE: medgirl Jun 12, 2009 03:10 PM

                                            Thanks--and I learned a new word, Sylheti.

                                            1. re: Peter Cherches
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                                              medgirl RE: Peter Cherches Jun 13, 2009 01:15 AM

                                              Sorry for not explaining what Sylheti meant: most Bangladeshis based in the UK are from a northern region of Bangladesh known as Sylhet. Most of the 'Indian' restaurants in the UK are run by Sylhetis, but do not offer Sylheti cuisine. I'm sure you could find Mughlai paratha in one of the restaurants in Brick Lane: just look at the menus or ask inside.

                                              1. re: medgirl
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                                                Peter Cherches RE: medgirl Jun 13, 2009 02:17 AM

                                                I looked it up after your post. I wonder if that's where the proprietors of NYC's notorious 6th Street restaurants come from.

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