I am making my first post under this name (I think). I used to post a bit before becoming a lurker, and now I hope to participate more.
About Tayyabs: I have recently read some reviews around the internet, which make dining there sound like a sort of unpleasant experience: crowds, long waits, jostling, and general discomfort.
I am a food lover, but have health problems, and I'm always looking to maximize my comfort when on the road. So, can I eat at Tayyab's without being jostled or standing in line for a long time? If so, what would be a good time to do that? We will be in London from Saturday night through early lunch on Thursday.
I assume one cannot reserve there; is that correct? Is there a good time to get there for dinner to avoid the lines?
If not, can you make another suggestion for tasty Indian that is not high end?
We are staying at the Apex City of London Hotel. I chose this location for comfort and budget, not eating. We plan to travel to eat, but want to mostly stay near the center of London.
I was loving the idea of the lamb chops at Tayyab's.
Wow and more wow! Quite a memorable meal. We had booked for 7pm on a Wednesday and good thing because the place was absolutely packed. We had a small wait, but then were seated at a table by the front window. The host was understandably busy, but was very responsive. I also found the service to be good, although they were quite busy. We started with the lamb chops, deliciously spicy and tender, followed by the dry meat (not dry at all, but so so moist) and the baby pumpkin curry (have never seen that dish on a menu, had to get it and would order it again, yum!). Rice and garlic naan were average. Did not BYO, so we ordered a pitcher of sweet mango lassi which was good enough to be dessert. My chair was facing the enormous queue that snaked around the inside of the restaurant, and it took a while for me to get used to the dozens of hungry eyes watching me suck on my lamb chops, but it was worth it! Oh my, I will be dreaming of those lamb chops until our next trip to London.
I so appreciate everyone's help. We will try Tayyab's, booking or showing up early, not on Saturday night. We will only be in London for 5 nights beginning on Saturday.
I may also try the Apex restaurant, but figure I'll be spending enough time in the area and want to get out and about. I haven't been to London in 7 or 8 years. But the meal deal information is good to have and I will keep check.
Thank you all and I will report back. Right now I'm going to ask a Saturday night question of the board.
Get there early as Chris and Snoop would advise.
I went to Lahore last night as I'd only ever been to Tayyabs and it was an interesting comparison. Firstly, it was significantly less busy, although still fairly bustling at 7pm. We didnt book and didnt have to wait at all. It was also much more relaxed in terms of the waiting staff. Out of our party of 5, two turned up 15 minutes late and noone seemed to care, whereas in Tayyabs we would have been shot for such a faux pas. one of the waiters even stopped for a 5 minute chat about cream soda with one of my friends who had brought it to drink with his meal. why he'd brought it I really dont know... our meal wasnt rushed and I'd almost go as far to say we had to wait too long to get the bill at the end.
Food wise, the Lamb chops were more expensive (about 8 quid), thinner and dryer than the tayyabs version. I think the marinade was less spicy but still very good. The sikh kebabs had less of the fresh shock of green chilli which is evident at tayyabs, but my friend had the kahari kebab dish which was a medley of sikh kebabs,onions, sauce. I liked that a lot. Chicken tikka was solid. the chicken kebabs (minced) were ok, but lacked the sweet meaty bite of the sikh kebabs. The sag aloo and sag keema were both huge dishes, really spicy and slightly sweet spinach. Aloo paratha was good with a decent filling of spiced veg and potato. Nan a bit dry and tired. One friend thought the aloo paratha had too much ghee on it but i'm no expert.
throw in a few mango and pistachio kulfis and it came to £70 for 5 of us which wasnt bad value at all.
Don't disregard the restaurant at the Apex (especially as they always seem to have their own/Toptable/Opentable offers available. Not bad at all on my couple of visits. Don't think it is open at weekends 'tho (in common with many City places).
Tayyab's is what Tayyab's is; eat early and try to book (good luck if it's a Fri/Sat night). If you have a particular need re your comfort then let them know in advance, best not to 'phone in the middle of lunch or dinner service.
I've never had to queue when going on a weekday before 18:30. From my experience the queing starts around 18:45-19:00. They take reservations too, so if you make a reservation at 18:00 just to be doubly sure, you should be fine.
If you do find it too much on the day, you can always go down the road to Lahore Kebab House, which is pretty much as good and has far less problems with queues.
Deb - you can book, although I always turn up and queue. They seem really nice people so I am certain if you ring up and talk to them they will look after you, However, it is a crowded place, table space is tight and they turn the tables - in away that is what makes the place what it is and gives it character (as well as great food).
We don't ever feel uncomfortable, but it isn't a place to linger over a long meal (hours). They won't rush you out, but they will serve quickly. Give it a go I am certain you will enjoy it.