Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Tayyabs: A Classic

There are some restaurants I have been going to for such a long time and which are so well known that I never get round to writing about them.  What could I possibly say that has not already been said about such institutions as Brindisa, for example.  Tayyabs is one of those places.  I take it for granted that people know about it (and its more canteen-esqe cousin, The Lahore Kebab House).  If you want to go for a curry then surely people know to skip on by the fluorescent-coloured curries of Brick Lane and on to the real deal around Commercial Road.

That said, Brick Lane still seems to be thriving.  The restaurants remain packed, people seem to like them. So perhaps one more review of Tayyabs will be useful.  Maybe, just maybe, people will realise there is another type of curry house out there.  One where the curries are not classified solely by heat. Where it is about the curries rather than oversized flagons of Cobra and spicy onions. Where ordering a saag paneer rather than a beef vindaloo proves you are a "real man". 

And so, with some visitors over from West Virginia who were curry virgins (seriously!) we headed down from Liverpool Street, past the bright lights of Brick Lane, to Tayyabs. With beers dutifully bought along the way (Tayyabs is BYOB only), we joined the queue.  Despite having tripled in size over the last decade, there is always still a queue! 

We started by sharing the lamb chops - meat marinated in spices for what must be at least a year, then cooked over coals.  The Fashionista and I constantly argue over whether they are better here or at the Lahore Kebab House (I prefer the latter), but needless to say they are excellent in both! You cannot go to Tayyabs and not get the lamb chops.  We also shared some veggy pakora, okay but someway behind Glasgow's finest, a city where kebabs are a distant second to pakoras in late night revellers' choice of booze sponge!

Original and cumin seed poppadoms with mango chutney and yoghurt and chili sauces.

A Tayyabs Lamb Chop

Veggie Pakora, not Tayyabs at its best

On to the mains, we had the "dry meat", another Tayyabs classic.  Beef cooked in a rich sauce until it has all but evaporated, leaving you with tender meat, coated in a kind of curry reduction.  We also shared karahi bhindi (okra), not everyone's favourite vegetable, but I think it works great in curries, saag paneer, spinach and paneer cheese, and a chicken curry.  All full-flavoured, deep, rich curry. Spicy, but not sweat inducing.  Mopped up by some freshly cooked garlic and peshwari nan.  This is what curry should be like.

Half eaten portion of Dry Meat

The Karahi Bhindi (Okra)

The Saag Paneer
For desert, the girls had the mango kulfi - Indian ice cream made with evaoprated milk and double cream.  Rich and creamy, but refreshing after the curry.

I am sure most of you have heard of, and eaten in, Tayyabs. Most people in London have. However, if you have not, I beseech you, ditch Brick Lane. They do not deserve your custom.  Head a little further East and you will be rewarded tenfold.  There really is no comparison.
Tayyabs on Urbanspoon


  1. I had never heard of Tayyabs before this weekend (shame on me) but I saw it on this map of London's best places to eat then googled some reviews and found this one. Which I agree with wholly! I hope Tayyabs isn't spoilt now though - now new people like me are going to be going there regularly!

    1. Glad you had a good time Ella! Did you have the lamb chops?


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