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Mar 22, 2012 01:58 PM

Brick Lane (London) Indian Restaurants

We were advised to check out Brick Lane if we wanted Indian food choice in London. OK! Now I have got choice coming out the samosa...any favourites for ChowHounds?

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  1. There is a great deal of choice re good Indian food in London, but Brick Lane aint it.

    This post may help or there are quite a number of others

    JFores has posted a lot , especially on East Ham and he knows of what he speaks.
    It's worth going a little bit further East believe me.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Paprikaboy

      Is it really not possible that one of the innumerable Indian places on Brick Lane isn't (at least) really good?

      I used to live around there and tried a few of the more famous places and thought they were all absolute trash, but shouldn't there be one or two hidden gems? I mean, 8-9 of them won Indian Restaurant of the Year (undeclared source/year).

      1. re: brokentelephone

        The whole stretch is pretty much the same bog standard trash except for a couple of Bangladeshi places. Gram is excellent. Sabuj Bangla (closed in 2007 or so) was also excellent. It seems like the legit Bangladeshi places were temporarily pushed out for a bit but now they're coming back. There's another one near Gram Bangla on the other side of the road and even the place at the corner of Whitechapel Rd and Brick Lane (opposite The Clifton) serves more Bangladeshi food now. "Feast" or something like that on Whitechapel Road near the tube also has a pretty extensive Bangladeshi menu.

        Indians don't live there.

    2. Thanks Paprikaboy

      As stated above, I'd recommend you go further afield. If that's not possible and you're in town for a short time than you'd be better off going to Indian Zing, Dishoom or even Needoo. Brick Lane is terrible for Indian food, but there is one exceptional Bangladeshi restaurant called Gram Bangla. However, enjoying it is very much dependent upon your openness to Bengali food and the degree to which you like fish. Their fish chutney, lothia shutki with green yard beans, dal and karela and potato are all literally as good as a Bangladeshi mother would generally make. I ate there today (for the first time in nearly 2 years) and it was excellent.

      1. Thanks to all who have responded: we are doing a rethink after reading this cautionary tale. I should say that the folks who recco'd Brick Lane are not really into Indian food themselves and admitted it was 'the vibe" of the area they had found intriguing.

        5 Replies
        1. re: LJS

          Whilst doing the rethink, don't discount Brick Lane. As you say, there is the "vibe".

          Brick Lane is a smaller version of the "Curry Mile" in my area of Manchester and I would always suggest tourists visit there - particularly if they do not have a concentration of a south asian community at home. True you are not going to get traditional cooking and, yes, you are going to get an Anglicised version of a Bangladeshi interpretation of Punjabi food. But it could be a lot of fun for an evening.

          1. re: Harters

            But the vibe isn't Bangladeshi. You go to Brick Lane for the market, the clubs and the bars. The half of the road that's actually quite Bangladeshi is a ghost town by comparison. Brick Lane has exploded as a tourist destination (and my primary first round of drinks on a night out spot) but not because of the Indian side. It's extremely hipster, Spanish, Italian, etc on practically any given night.

            1. re: Harters

              I'd go along with that Harters. The food isn't absolutely authentic Bangladeshi, but that doesn't mean you can't have an enjoyable meal and a good night out. The last time I was in Brick Lane (last year) I went midweek with friends - the Lane was packed, mainly with groups of prosperous looking young Londoners - and we were squeezed into the Sheba, where we all (much travelled, experienced restaurant goers) enjoyed our starters and mains (mine was my customary Bangladeshi favourite, Shatkora Chicken). After that the staff gave us the bill and bundled us out rather unceremoniously, but we weren't complaining. For a sweet I had a really nice lassi in a cafe further along. I'd definitely go for the vibe and the authentic Anglo-Bangla food. Oh, and don't forget a pre-prandial pint of London Pride in the Pride of Spitalfields!

            2. re: LJS

              There are however some good food stalls there at the weekend, there is a separate thread on this. Your friends are right though, the area in general has a 'vibe' - trendy hipsters, cafes with good coffee, vintage shops, art galleries etc.

              1. re: pj26

                Last time we were down there, we went in great place for coffee. Can't recall the name but in a yard just off the main drag, with a handful of businesses in it. Sort of place that looked as though you'd be OK smoking illegal substances in the evening. Took me back many, many years. Good coffee.

            3. The only good food on Brick Lane is the 24 hour Beigel Bake. Goood but not what you are looking for. Go with the Bangla or try Needoo.

              6 Replies
              1. re: doced

                OK I have a similar question, and think I've done enough research from all the Indian food threads to narrow it down- could I ask for your top pick(s) between Needoo, Moti Mahal, and Indian Zing? Thanks in advance.

                1. re: cactuschowdah

                  Of the three, I've only eaten at Moti Mahal on trips to the capital. I think it's probably the best Indian restaurant I know in the country. Their current set menu is an absolute steal.


                  1. re: Harters

                    Harters - have you tried Lasan in Birmingham? I felt it was far better than Moti.

                    1. re: PhilD

                      Not yet, Phil. We keep saying we must have a couple of days in Brum but we just havnt got round to going (at least as a couple - I've was there for a military history conference last weekend)

                      1. re: Harters

                        When you do i suggest Indian for breakfast, lunch and dinner, to me it is the UK's indian food capital. I know Leicester and Manchester would dispute that but i see Birmingham as more affluent and Brum's Indian community more concentrated than Greater Mancheter.

                        1. re: PhilD

                          Nah, I wouldnt dispute Brum's claim to fame as the curry capital - surely the invention of the balti is sufficient to claim the crown.

              2. Thanks for telling the whole story...Brick Lane is back on the list to visit...not a lot of Indian food to be found in our town (Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada). The closest we get (unless we make it ourselves) is a small pinch of curry powder in a lobster roll-very exotic!