The British curry house has a fond place in the hearts and minds of my adopted countrymen, starting right back from 1810 when the first restaurant opened in London, so much so that Chicken ‘Tikka Masala’ is oft referred to as Britain’s national dish.
And nowhere are the curry houses more prevalent than the East London of today. Brick Lane has long since been a mecca for those on a curry hunt, but I I implore you to take a short walk down Commercial Road and make for the bustling Lahore Kebab House. Those in the know will agree with me, there are but two contenders for Best Curry House and they are Tayyabs in Whitechapel or the one that gets my vote, Lahore Kebab House.
We are a party of 10, here to let our hair down after what has been a hard slog of a week, armed with supermarket spoils of wine, bubbly and beer and some prodigious appetites. Being the bossy boots that I am (sometimes less affectionately referred to as a control freak) I’ve commandeered the menu and am ordering volumes of food for the table, with help from our helpful waiter, who is viewing our rowdy party with no small amount of amusement.
The lamb chops are a must and within minutes of arriving on the table, the plate is empty & the clamourings for more orders of these begins the second people have tasted it. These are moist, fragrant and unusually for a meal out, taste just as good cold as they do hot. This I only know because a lone chop was buried underneath a Paratha, it certainly wasn’t given the option of getting cold, they were eaten too fast!
Other great orders (big pat on the back for me) included the Paneer Tikkas, Chicken & Seekh Kebabs, and at one point I was sorely tempted to cancel the more traditional mains and simply continue with the diet of flavoursome grilled meats with soft chewy Paneer to complement.
But we persevered and a large complement of popular dishes bearing traditional names of Bhuna, Jalfrezi and Korma arrive swiftly after, with some of the best Dal Tarka I’ve ever tasted (Mum, if you’re reading this, shaking your fist at how I never eat your dal, then sorry, but it can’t compare)
The queues are snaking out the door here, but unlike Tayyabs, there is no hint of reproach as we rowdily plough through our meal, clinking our glasses, gossiping and making merry and by the time we are ready to leave, we leave 10 extremely happy customers, already planning to come again.