Monday, January 16, 2006

brick lane

curry has recently become britain’s favourite food. i’ve discovered that many londoners head to a place called brick lane (a five minute walk from the aldgate tube) to get their curry fix from any one of the twenty plus “indian” restaurants (they are all bangladeshi-owned actually) on a ten block strip interspersed between indian grocery stores, sweets shops and video libraries. i picked up 3 hindi movies on dvd (salaam namaste, black and garam masala) for £10 on my way to dinner with h, joy who was visiting from new york and joy’s british indian friend manish who brought us here. it doesn’t really matter which of the restaurants you eat in on brick lane, it’s hard to distinguish one from the other. and in fact now i can’t even remember the name of the place we ate it. i think it was called preem but i’m not sure.

the meal was very unbelievably ordinary. we got off to a promising start with onion bhajis (onions deep fried in a spicy gram flour batter) and kingfisher beer but then it was all downhill from there especially for me, the only vegetarian. the boys thoroughly enjoyed the vindaloo which was fiery hot. i tasted just a bit of the gravy in bravado despite warnings and was thoroughly shocked at how many red chillies must have gone into the dish. my mouth was on fire and my ears were burning as they do when i eat something too spicy!

if it hadn’t been for the pineapple raita that came with my very average vegetable biryani, i would have had to suffer the burns much longer. apparently they even serve a more spicy vindaloo called “paal” but it’s not on the menu in case a non-desi sues the restaurant!

dessert was not bad actually. we popped into a “sweet meats” store where freshly made rosogollas, kala gulab jamuns, rasa malalis, chumchums etc tempted us. we got one of each and quickly polished it off. the sweets were overpoweringly sweet but very enjoyable nonetheless. i may not be returning to brick lane any time soon for anything other than the dvds.


Blogger Amy Sherman said...

Lee claims there is one good place in Brick Lane, but he can't remember the name of the place. I'm sure he could find it again. We also liked Standard Indian Restaurant, 23 Westbourne Grove. That neighborhood has a lot of interesting restaurants to choose from. We had a tough time choosing one. Khan's is supposed to be good too.

6:14 pm  
Blogger gs said...

i have a list of good indian veg restaurants kept somewhere in my archives. i will try to dig it out and send it to you. i am not impressed with bangladeshi restaurants.they provide an apology of an indan veg meal.

6:08 am  
Blogger artismarti said...

Brick Lane is not a place I'd recommend for good Indian food. It's mainly Bangladeshi restaurants, so the food is hardly authentic Indian. Here's a tip: Avoid any restaurant with the name "Tandoori" or "Balti" in it. We learnt this the hard way! :)

Some of the best Indian fare I've had is at "Jashn" in Wembley. Highly recommend it. Although it's only vegetarian. They have a branch at Woodgreen as well (You have to reserve a place) which does meat. The food there is just like Bombay food. Can't ask for more!

11:33 am  
Blogger Lulu said...

thanks, artismarti! i'm vegetarian so will surely check out jashn soon. i've been dying to try rasa as well, another chain of indian veg restaurants.

5:11 pm  
Blogger artismarti said...

Hi lulu,

Rasa is awesome too. Have been there a couple of times. I've tried the one at Charlotte street, which is more of a sea-food place & the one at Turnpike lane - which is vegetarian only & is very good too.

The other good place for Indian food is Masala Zone. They have several branches.

Thanks for offering to help me with my French. Or should I say - Merci? :)

Maybe we can meet up when you go to Jashn. It's on my way home.

ps. is lulu your real name?


5:33 pm  
Blogger Lulu said...

hi amy,
lee can take us to that one nice place on brick lane when you come visit!!
westbourne grove is very close to my new home so will surely check it out. thanks!

hi arti,
lulu is not my legal name but it has been my identity ever since i was born. and no, i did not make it up for the blog, my grandfather named me lulu.

6:02 pm  
Blogger Fourth Umpire said...

Try Veeraswamy, which is allegedly the oldest surviving Indian restaurant in the country, and Chutney Mary.

10:26 pm  
Blogger Lulu said...

hi fourth umpire,
we did try chutney mary a few weeks back. it was the best indian meal i have ever had. didn't take photos etc so i've been a bit lazy about blogging on it. a friend who came with us to chutney mary also tried veeraswamy last night and he said it was not as good as chutney mary and not as memorable!
by the way - are you rohan from stanford?
still trying to figure out who you are!

11:09 am  
Blogger Fourth Umpire said...

Looks like I've been unmasked.

1:14 am  
Blogger Lulu said...

aha! good to be in touch with you again, rohan! i'm totally amazed how many old friends i've connected with through the blog. hope you are well. i'll let niks and h know that we're in touch!

8:24 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sagar is not bad - one is just off tottenham court road and one off covent garden - have only tried the dosa but the best dosa i have eaten in london is in chennai dosa in wembley - just too far from central london though

11:05 am  

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