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Nov 13, 2012 02:02 AM

One Indian meal: Indian Zing, Bombay Brasserie lunch buffet, Tayyabs, Roti Chai...?

The problem with Chowhound research is that options multiply exponentially.

I know these places are all over the map (both of London and of Indian/Pakistani cuisines). My partner is an avowed carnivore; I do love a good meat curry but my heart belongs to vegetables.

Where would you send us for one meal this weekend, knowing we probably won't have the courage to request off-menu options?

Had been fixed on BB because we're staying just down the road, but can't shake lingering uncertainty...

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  1. I'm pretty sure the consensus will be the Bombay Brasserie, particularly given its convenience and quality.

    You mention Tayyabs and it is worth considering quite how different the experience you will have outside the food. If the idea of queueing for a while with a beer while dodging waiters carrying plates of food then cramping onto a shared table for a conveyor belt of food sounds like your idea of hell then I'd avoid it. For us sometimes we will be in the mood for that sort of thing, other times I'd rather roll around the corner to the Delhi Grill. It's certainly a fun experience but if you're going to be tired and won't be bothered with what is a fairly substantial trek across London then I'd avoid.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ManInTransit

      I hear you on the convenience front - I've had to curb my natural tendency to travel, Napoleon-like, on my stomach when the young one is in tow. That said, I've certainly dragged him hither and yon in search of good food in just about every city we visit. :o)

      It's been quite a while since we've been to Tayyabs. We've tended to opt for Lahore the past few years, but have been disappointed on recent visits. So casting the net a bit further right now; but you're right, even between Tayyabs and Lahore there's a significant difference in elbow room and level of frenzy (I don't mind frenzy at all, but being hustled out the door as soon as one is done eating is unpleasant).

      Still moderately curious about Zing, which would be a pretty easy 25-minute commute. It sounded fantastic two years ago, but haven't heard more recent raves.

      1. re: Kelly

        Ah so you know what you're in for at Tayyabs.

        I can't advise on Zing or Roti Chai, hopefully others can help. Quilon and Trishna might be worth considering.

    2. go to quilon and get the lunch veg thali for yourself. and congratulations on realizing that there is sooo much more to veg dishes in most indian cuisines than in the meat. your husband can get the meat thali.

      being indian, they'll welcome your kid. same sort of price point as bombay braseerie (they are in fact both taj restaurants).

      2 Replies
      1. re: howler

        The joker in the pack! :o) Same price point must mean they do their set lunch at the weekend? That's rather cool, and rather unusual (at least from Brussels/Paris perspective, where prix fixe are M-F only). Should I call and check, as that would be a rude awakening if it's only a la carte?

        1. re: Kelly

          Actually they have a set lunch everyday, which includes a thali option.

      2. I would say another problem with CH on Indian/Pakistani food is that no one seems to live in the West (Howler K&C is central). Areas like Southall and Wembley massive very large, very well established Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi populations. It is a slightly more affluent areas than the East End (Brick Lane, Whitechapel, East Ham etc), but not in lose proximity to the city so there are not hordes of bankers and students looking for a cheap curry. They are also hard to get to with worse Tube links than the East. However, if you are in the area The Brilliant would hold its own in the list above, and I am certain there are many undiscovered gens - JFores needs to move west.

        6 Replies
        1. re: PhilD

          Yah I've wondered about that. I went to Southall, and presumed it must be the biggest Indian population in London.

          1. re: brokentelephone

            I was all over southall etc when I got here in 2000, but nothing was extraordinary. Then I realized why - unlike eastham, say, most Indians in southall are second/third generation. And they've come from east Africa rather than the motherland.

            1. re: howler

              Howler - yes, much of the Indian immigration to the UK in the early 70s relates to the communities being expelled by the racist African regimes in Kenya and Uganda.

              In your approximate neck of the woods, I believe Tangawizi at East Twickenham (just over the bridge from Richmond) cooks Indian food in an East African style - although I'm not sufficiently knowledgeable to confirm this. Had a decent enough meal there a couple of years back. The youngish owners are, almost certainly, second generation and were very welcoming to this single diner. My only criticism is that the place is overly dark - I had to get up and move away from my table to get enough light to read the menu, let alone see what was on my plate.

              1. re: Harters

                interesting. another indian via east afica is haandi in knightsbridege, fyi.

                1. re: Harters

                  This is quite interesting. I thought Kastoori was the last of its kind, at least within centra*l. Out East you can get some specifically East African Gujarati dishes at City Sweet Center and a very cheap place on Romford Road that starts with an R. Rohul, Rohit, etc. Something like that. Their set lunch is 3 quid for a truly unreasonable amount of food (only a few curries, but then it comes with like 6 roti or rotla plus they offer you more for free if you finish those.)

                  *Note: I realized after I posted this that I called Tooting "central" and then I gave it a thought. I think I accidentally call anything outside of Zone 3-6 East or North London that...

            2. re: PhilD

              Admittedly I have a huge untouched reserve of places in Hounslow and Wembley including a Punjabi place and a Sinhalese place which I've been meaning to get to. Otherwise the areas have seemed pretty barren largely due to the factors noted by howler. The population in the West is largely 2nd or 3rd generation Punjabi (East African or straight from India), 2nd or 3rd generation East African Gujju and more recent Southern arrivals (largely Sri Lankan Tamils.) Wembley is pretty impressive, but nothing I've had out there was stellar. A Gujju place called Tulsi was only alright and the meals I had in Southall were distinctly average. I'm more curious about Hounslow as immigration directly to the area seems to be experiencing a huge second wave of late.

              Around my area (Forest Gate/East Ham) the population is a bit more mixed. For one, it's majority Pakistani in my immediate vicinity, but this Pakistani population has various components. There's the freshy portion as well as 2nd and 3rd generation kids, but the community seems to use largely the same businesses. Same goes for a lot of the Gujarati places I know where young 2nd or 3rd generation East African Gujarati kids are actually getting vada pao and dabeli in queues alongside very recent immigrants. Finally, East Ham is overwhelmingly Southern despite being only down the road while Manor Park returns to a more traditional Punjabi/Gujarati mix reminiscent of earlier days.

              I have a hard time ever getting to places out West because I have all of that at my finger tips here (including Punjabi places if I go to Ilford which is only a short bus ride from here.) Anytime that I crack and I can't eat another South Asian meal in a row after 2 weeks without western food I just end up at Green Lanes via the Overground at Barking.

              I'd probably have to second Quilon on this thread if it is going to be restricted largely to central.