Being half Indian and brought up close to both Bradford and Manchester, I was lucky to have so many wonderful curry houses available. Moving to London was a little disappointing as time and time again, I was left unsatisfied with the food served at Indian restaurants.
Tayyabs is a Pakistani restaurant that doesn’t need an introduction to the London food scene. With food bloggers and critics singing the restaurant praises, it has been labelled one of the places to visit for a cheap and cheerful curry without any of the dreadful Brick Lane western curry imitations.
I decided to bring a fellow curry lover along to see if Tayyabs could live up to my high expectations.
In terms of choices, the menu was smaller than anticipated and since the restaurant serves traditional Pakistani curries, most were karahi dishes.
For starters, we ordered the two vegetable samosas at 80p each. The golden crispy pastry had a nice crunch with plenty of vegetable filling, with enough spicing to remind me of my mums home-cooked samosas. The best 80p I’ve spent in a long time.
We also chose the paneer tikka as I’m a huge fan of the cheese, whether it’s served on its lonesome or in a curry. However, this dish didn’t fare aswell as the samosa, with the paneer overcooked and the tikka coating being un-memorable (especially compared to Gymkhana’s offering).
You simply cannot visit Tayyabs without ordering the infamous lamb chops that the restaurant is renowned for. Arriving on a hot platter and steaming up my camera lens, the aromatic spicing could be smelt throughout the restaurant.
At £6, the lamb chops are one of the more expensive starters served on the menu but priced fairly because of the generous portion size and beautiful flavour. My only complaint was some of the lamb chops served were smaller and had more gristle than meat.
For the vegetarian main course we ordered Saag Paneer, which didn’t seem to be available on the menu.
The curry had plenty of subtle spicing with enough paneer to feel satisfied however, had too much of bitter, earthy aftertaste which was unfortunate.
Seemingly craving spinach, my curry of choice was the Saag meat, which didn’t consist of as much spinach as the vegetarian alternative. I personally preferred this curry as there was a lot more flavour, better spicing and had much more depth, tasting similarly to the curries I grew up with.
Tayyabs was a pleasant experience but one to avoid if you’re expecting a relaxed, intimate setting as the service can feel rushed and cold. However, the prices are reasonable and although the dishes aren’t perfect, it’s decent enough.
– Tayyabs, Whitechapel