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Indian food in London

A friend told me there are some great Indian places around London, even something nicknamed "curry street"? Suggestions are appreciated, I will be all over the city doing the touristy things but my friend lives in Kent.

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  1. London....Curry, yes lots of good curry Brick Lane is the "curry Street", Easy tube stop, good curry buffet. The area also has a saturday/sunday market with a wide rang of ethnic food carts and stalls. Go hungry so you can feast..Tube stop is Aldgate East.

    Also a good Curry place in Earls Court..Actually an excellent variety of ethnic foods around Earls Court..As a friend explained, The united Nations bus stopped at earls court and everyone got off and opened a restaurant -- or a food store and a cleaner and laundry

    1. do a search jocks - there is a lot of detailed discussion on these boards about indian food in london, which will point you in many directions!

      3 Replies
      1. re: abby d

        "A lot of detailed discussion" is kind of my problem right now....

        Just arrived in London from San Francisco, know very little about regional differences in Indian food, and have been tasked with finding "awesome Indian food" by my boss (as foodie as a non-foodie can be: he loves to eat)

        We will be working until dinner, are on a spending account and have been traveling around the UK (N.I.) eating, no offense, bland food to our dismay. Tonight will be our reward for hard trip.

        Can anyone help?

        We are near Old Street and City Road and can take a taxi.

        1. re: Mr. S

          quilon is an indian place that's quite fancy but still v tasty? it's in westminster tho...

          1. re: Mr. S

            If I was in the Old St area, I would go to either Needos, Tayyabs or the Cafe Spice Namaste. There is some disagreement on this board about Tayyabs, but I think it is very much better than the vast majority of "curry houses" in Britain. Needos is similar (the chef/owner used to work at Tayyabs) but gets better reviews, and sounds like it isn't as crowded. Both of them are Pakistani/Northwest Indian restaurants, and they are close to each other - a short taxi ride or 20/30 minute walk from Old St. I haven't been to Cafe Spice Namaste, but it looks good and gets good reports. It's a bit further away, but still pretty near. None of these are smart in any way if that matters.

        2. Ditto - read the boards, there ae endless discussions on this. And if you want decent Indian or Pakistani food, avoid Brick Lane ...

          3 Replies
          1. re: Theresa

            Thanks for your kind and temperate words of warning about brick lane, I shall forward it to the Indian family that took me to dinner there straightaway..

            1. re: penche

              lol penche are you saying that the food must have been good because an indian family took you there?? once some americans took me to mcdonalds - definite proof that mcdonalds is the best place to get american food

            2. re: Theresa

              Agreed - avoid Brick Lane, tourist trap and not great at all. Nearby though there are some good places - Tayaabs, Needoo etc. As Abby d points out, there are endless threads on this topic.

            3. I think since your choices in London are huge, maybe it would help to know if you're looking for high end, a bit fancy of a restaurant, middle of the road etc. There's just so much to choose from. You've already been told about Brick Lane but maybe your friends had a favorite there.

              1. IMLI - Indian tapas in soho district

                1. The majority of 'Indian' restaurants on Brick Lane should be avoided if you are after good food. A couple of Bangladeshi places on Brick Lane are fine though. Gram Bangla (JFores has posted extensively on this place) is one. The other I can't recall the name of but I think was a hole in the wall canteen-type place with photos of Indian/Bangladeshi wrestlers all over the walls. Some Bangladeshi friends took us and ordered what they knew was good.
                  Totally depends on what regional cuisine the OP is interested in. If he is after generic 'curry house' cuisine invented by Bangadeshi restaurateurs in Britain, then Brick Lane would be OK. But 'curry house' cuisine is NOT Indian food.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: medgirl

                    'But 'curry house' cuisine is NOT Indian food'

                    i have worn my fingers silly posting this point over the last umpteen years ... sister, many thanks for joining the cause.

                  2. Jocks: Don't be discouraged---you must go to Brick Lane..just to see what Brick Lane is all about...follow these fellow chowhounds recommendations and you'll probably get some fine meals, but you still gotta see Brick Lane...Two or three blocks cluttered and jammed with restaurants, food courts, food stalls, an art gallery, a couple street fair type places with, it seemed, lots of cheap clothes. Didn't make a count, but it seemed there were 80-100 places to get some sort of food, some with only two or three menu items, some with pages of menu items. Must be at least 500, maybe a 1000 different plates, bowls, dishes and platters of stuff some cook has prepared for us. Go, spend some time, talk with some of the vendors, taste some samples, maybe it ain't all the best, greatest, most authentic stuff to come out of a kitchen, but it's a place a true foodie would never pass up. Out of the hundreds of dishes available, there is surely 3 or 4 or even more that you would enjoy, recommend or even come back for in a few days, if not, near the underground station there is a McDonalds where you can eat, and reportedly they provide the very best American food.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: penche

                      Brick Lane is a fun stretch, but more for its hipster atmosphere these days rather than any genuine Bangladeshi atmosphere. For that, walk about 10 minutes down to the area around Whitechapel tube. Living in that place for a year left me horribly bitter towards lots and lots of things so it's not exactly my favorite place these days, but give it a shot. If you walk Brick Lane and you think you just saw the Bangladeshi East End then you are well off the mark. I can't afford to live on or immediately off Brick Lane (nor can I get anywhere near affording it) so imagine 6 person families living in tower blocks on Vallance Rd.

                      All in all, go for the hipsters and not the Bengalis. It's best to go for the Sunday market. Just wander around with a few cans and take in the atmosphere. Note various Limster posts for reviews of those market stalls. For eats directly on Brick Lane I'd point you towards Gram Bangla, but it is just about the most "not for everyone" place I've ever reviewed on the London board (maaaaybe New Khybar UK would top it by a slim margin) as it's practically a Bangladeshi men's club which can be super uninviting towards women and Bangladeshi food is a bit love it or hate it (they slip dried fish or dried prawns into practically anything they can. Their mixed veg even!)

                      Eh, I love it though. If you do end up going to the area then both Needoo and Lahore Kebab are quick walks away for good "Pakistani" food. It's a bit watered down and the menus border on the curry houses standards but they've got authentic karahi dishes and good grilled items. Avoid Tayyabs. It's more expensive, it's a nightmare to get into at times and the quality is far lower.

                      You're not being a food snob if you recognize regional differentiation in a cuisine. Hell, Jay Rayner borders on food snob all the time, but he has a particularly difficult time recognizing regional differentiation...

                      BTW can I chime in with a last second rec for Dishoom on this? I'm still dying to try this place and it's got to be my first destination when I get back to London.

                      This thread is swinging dangerously close to a board move or deletion so let's push things back to the realm of actual restaurant recommendations. There's also a growing Indian street food selection out in East Ham and I'd bet money they Wembley is mirroring it somewhat.

                      1. re: JFores

                        I'm a fan of Shalamar on Brick Lane and love their mutton Byriani with bones.
                        Their dhal is lovely too.

                        1. re: bleep75

                          Same owners as Gram and their Friday lunch biriyani is good.

                    2. Howler, you are the ultimate champion of Indian food on Chowhound!
                      I guess the general lack of knowledge about what constitutes Indian food is annoying only to people of Indian heritage who care about food. When I was a kid, we knew 'Chinese food' to be some kind of sweetish orange glop served with oily fried rice. Nowadays we are able to sample regional Chinese cuisine and learn about how people in different parts of China really eat. Hopefully Indian food will see a similar renaissance.
                      I guess Howler and I are hardcore Indian food snobs. But knowing the huge regional variation of cuisines throughout the subcontinent, it is heartbreaking to see it reduced to generic 'curry' in the West.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: medgirl

                        That's not being a snob, that's just being hungry for something even better and refusing to settle for anything less than delicious. It's what draws many chowhounds here.