Tayyab is an Pakistani/Indian restaurant in East London near the Whitechapel tube station. Having previously lived in London, I always make a special point to come back to Tayyab when I am in town. Tayyab is by far the best Pakistani/Indian food I have had and comes with a very only-locals-know-about-this-place vibe. Tayyab is BYOB (there are numerous Off-License stores along the walk from the Whitechapel station) and unless you call and make reservations the day before or early the day of, you will likely have to cue for a table (reservations are highly recommended). Poppadums with the three classic mango, mint, and chutney sauces begin the meal. The chicken tikka for an appetizer is wonderful and served on the hot plate with peppers and onions. The main dishes are all great (thought not diet friendly given the amount of oil used to prepare them), though I would recommend anything with lamb in it. Make sure to get a homemade naan to accompany the sauces of the main dishes. While I typically do not get dessert, there is a counter on the way out that has the classic desserts of the region.
The prices are one of the key sellers of this place. Appetizers like chicken tikka are around £3.50, mains are around £7-12, and sides like rice and naan around £2.50-3. Even at my most hungry times, an appetizer, main, and one order of naan are overfilling. A full meal can easily be under £15 each. Just remember to pick up wine and beer on the way to the restaurant.
The atmosphere has changed considerably from when I first came to Tayyab years ago. In the past, small rooms to the left and right of the entrance on the ground floor were the only spaces available for dinner. Now, a full upstairs is also available. The decor has also become significantly nicer. Unfortunately, this means a large number of diners are eating simultaneously, meaning that service is slower and sometimes inaccurate. While the staff always try to correct the errors, it is challenging to gain their attention most of the time (we had to get up a few times to grab a bottle opener or waiter for more water). The atmosphere of years ago had better service, but the quality of the food still outweighs the poorer service to keep me coming back.
The dining atmosphere is quite packed and it can become difficult to hear your companions if not sitting close to one another (this is a side-effect of the upstairs expansion as well). If you are looking for a quiet or romantic location, this is probably not the place to meet. However, if you are looking for an informal, reasonable, and authentic Pakistani/Indian restaurant, Tayyab is a perfect choice.
Tayyab's came highly rated from our friend who lives in London. We walked there from Brick Lane so we really worked up an appetite. He made reservations prior to our arrival and I can see how busy they get, even at the time we went which was not really lunch or dinner time. The food here is not the Indian type of food I am familiar with eating. We got some grilled meats Seekh Kabob, Lamb Chops and Chicken Tikka. We also got a mixed vegetable dish and garlic naan. They gave us papadam with some tasty dips. The garlic naan was exceptional. The meats, we asked if they were spicy and they told us no, but my hubby was sweating bullets! Overall, the spices used on the meats were very similar and I did not notice much variation in taste of the different meats. The veggie dish was very oily and I almost forced myself to eat it. I know giving back your food is not acceptable and I did not want to waste any money! So I ate it.
Their website says Punjabi food and you can reserve online before coming in. I am sure this will save you some time.
I would say overall the food was good, but nothing I would go out of my way for again. It's pretty expensive in my opinion. Compared to food in London its comparable, but for me it was a lot for what it was.
I would be more curious to try the curry houses that are just down half a mile from here.
What a pleasant surprise! My friend organised her birthday dinner there on a Saturday night - we were around 12 and it worked out very well. We were sitted not too long after we arrived in a long table upstairs.
Looking around a lot of people were in the same situation as us - big tables, lots of joy and celebration. The place is noisy, there are tons of people but it is a fun atmosphere. The menu is big with plenty of naan, lassi, meat, rice, veggie options
When the waiter took our food and drinks order (for 12 people) and did not take any notes I started ohh no I see it coming it is going to be a disaster. But he surprisingly remembered it all. Impressive
The salty lassi was perfect - not too cold. And the chicken and veggies were tasty as well, not too spicy and on the big portion side. Maybe a bit too oily for my taste.
The food is very good value for the prices. It is a busy place (book in advance) so it was hard sometimes to get the waiter's attention
FYI it is BYOB
In a nutshell: I don't often go to that part of London so I am not sure I will get the chance to go back but if anyone asks me for Indian/Pakistani recommendation I will make sure to mention Tayyabs!
This place came highly recommended and deservedly so. Quick service (although not overly polite) and excellent food, if you're looking for Indian/Pakistani food in London, this is the place to get it.
Fair warning though: bring your own beer.
No clue why this place is as well reviewed as it is. It's not bad, but it's not excellent either.
Lamb chops were mediocre. Chicken curry was oily and not really good. Naan was pretty good, and tarka daal was quite good. Mango lassi was way too sweet and kind of gross.
If this is one of London's best Indian places, I'm really clueless as to how the city gets a reputation for good Indian food.
This was the highlight of London food for me. Some of the best Indian food I've ever had, and my hometown boasts some pretty spectacular Indian cuisine. It's real Indian food, not that the bland knockoff crap you find all over London. The pumpkin curry is so amazing, I don't even know what all to say about it...the complexity of flavors and textures is probably what's most impressive. The service is pretty awful and the wait is absurd, but both of those would have to be a whole lot worse to keep me from going back here every chance I get. We were in London for just one week and ate here for 3 of our 5 dinners, and that still really wasn't enough times in my opinion.
This is Lahore's upscale cousin: equally well known, but dressed with nice decor and a place you would actually take your parents to (but maybe only early- there were a lot of big parties near us where it looked like things could get messy). You can make a reservation online, which is fairly simple, and it's BYOB as well, so you are not missing out on that aspect either. I am not an Indian food expert but everything we had was delicious. Will definitely return again soon.
This felt like the equivalent of a busy dim sum house on a weekend.
Everybody waiting was given a number.
The restaurant is loud and bustling.
We were eventually seated. Ordered some drinks (yes they charge for water) and our order was taken.
The food was ok.
We had chicken tikka masala, butter lamb and aloo ghobi.
None of it really stood out as AMAZING.
It came some highly rated on Yelp that I thought I should give it a try.
I have no idea if this place is really any better than the millions of curry houses on Brick Lane.
I still prefer Hot Stuff in Vauxhall to this place.
P.S. Charging me for tap water? Big turn off.
So, this is a long-overdue review. Really good place to eat w/ a group. Its BYOB and has tasty traditional Indian food. I came to London last summer for only 48 hours for a party and Tayyabs was one of the places we ate before the night of the big to-do. Very much looking forward to returning.
Whenever someone asks me where to eat in London, this is the one place I always recommend. I have been here over a dozen times over 4 or 5 years. Two dozen? Quite likely. Three dozen? Certainly possible. And this place has been around for decades.
You do not want to go to Brick Lane. You want to come here. And BYOB.
You can read the other reviews that talk about the ambiance and whatnot.
I'll cut straight to the point. Here is what you want to order:
1. Chili lamb chops. They come out in a massive cloud of smoke spice. Eat all the grilled onions that accompany them.
2. Dry meat. It is not dry at all. It is delicious. Where were you all my life, dry meat?
4. Urid dal
5. Something else from the veggie list -- okra, baby pumpkin, change it up to spice up your life.
Gluten free notes: I eat here all the time with no problems, though I have not attempted to verify what is or is not gluten free. Papadums are fine (rice & lentil). No naan for you!
The food was very good as many have said. Now, onto why its a 2. If you can't hear your companion, can't get up without moving the entire table, can't have a beer unless you bring it, or breathe due to the smoke....can you really rate it that high?
How about this, it's a 4 if you get it to go and a 1 if you have to suffer in the restaurant. By the way, the service was fairly lame too.
I've been here a few times and the food has unfortunately been a bit inconsistent. When it's good, it's amazing. The stand outs have been the lamb chops, dry meat and sweet naan. They have turned out a bit dry and over cooked on occasion hence only a 3 star rating. Overall, it's good food at a reasonable price but inconsistent.
Very crowded place, we could not manage to get in on a saturday night, make sure you make a reservation before hand
This place is WAY too loud to enjoy a meal. We found ourselves surrounded by groups of 6+ all competing for conversation and the volume was incredible. We ordered the lamb chops (very tasty, not much meat), saag paneer and chicken tikka masala. It was all a bit greasy and spicy for our taste. This was the only Pakistani/Indian restaurant that we tried in London. I would recommend trying somewhere else if you want any attempt at having a conversation.
Food - I really enjoyed Tayyab's when I was in London last march. The dishes are not too heavy, and are very flavorful. My favorite dishes were the tikka marsala and the karami lamb. The naan and paratha were very good too. The sauces/jams add a lot of flavor.
Service - great service with lots of helpful recommendations.
Final thoughts - definitely worth a visit if you're in the area
DISCLAIMER: I DID NOT EAT ANY FOOD.
However, I felt I should review the restaurant based on the experience that made me leave it before having a chance to order. Due to the nature of the food cooked there (in large metal pans, as seen in the pictures on yelp) it is a very smokey atmosphere. Add to that the fact that a lot of the spices associated with the cuisine are quite hot, and you have a recipe for disaster for anyone with asthma or breathing problems. While my friend and I tried to last it out, we both ended up having to ask to be relocated away from the cooking area. Our waiter told us we would have to talk to the manager, who came about ten minutes later. He said of course, and moved us around the corner. Unfortunately, it was still exceptionally smokey and we were both actively coughing. We told him this, and he tried to tell us we were wrong. So we pointed to the inches of smoke clinging to the ceiling. At this point, he offered us a table on the other side (one that we had originally asked for) but we felt put off by the whole experience, and the coughing, so we went back to a standby favorite on brick lane proper.
As a second note, the table beside us also had to leave before they had eaten any food because the woman was allergic to onions. We heard their conversation with the manager (as the restaurant does put you in quite close quarters) and apparently, though the waiter had been informed, they were brought numerous dishes with onions, which they kept having to send back. At that point, no longer trusting that things would be cooked in an allergen-free way for customers with health issues, they chose to leave.
All this being said, loads of people were there and seemed to be enjoying themselves and the food. Also, the dessert bar looks fantastic. BUT if you have asthma or food allergies, maybe you should reconsider.
Amazing, culinary experience just a little bit of the beaten truck of brick.lane. Great meet cuts from grill (OMG - lamb chops - what a blast) and amazing thick sauces :-) very regional so ask waiter for advice and BYOB (no extra charge)
1st time there on my 1 week long London sojourn from Cleveland. We showed up at 945 pm on Friday evening. There was 20 min wait. This place does not serve alcohol , we got some beer from a Store nearby. The turnover was quick and it was packed with patrons at 10 pm.
For appetizers we ordered 'Lamb Chops' & seekh kebabs. Lamb Chops are simply out of this world. Excellently marinated perfectly grilled, just the right taste. We added another order of same. For the main course we got aloo meat, chicken curry, urad dal and ginger naan. They main course dishes were finger licking good as well. Ended the night by getting authentic pista kulfi.
Definitely a gem and must visit if you are in London.
I'm studying abroad in London and our professor took our class here! It was amazing and I'll definitely be going back (if I ever recover from the food coma). Our menu was fixed which was perfect and the servers were so kind and helpful. I loved the chickpea and lentil dishes and rice! The amount of food was a lot but all so delicious.
After all the reviews, I was expecting some great food and it turned out just ok. I was here on a Sunday and ordered the Chef's special Chicken Biriyani. For a dish that is the Chef's special, the presentation was poor and it looked like a heap of rice on a plate. Digging into it, the flavors of the spices typical of a biriyani was almost non-existent, and the chicken pieces were some of the most bone-filled ones I have ever had. That's simply poor for a chef's special.
We also ordered the garlic naan as well as the keema naan and there are no complaints. Very good naan. The mango lassi was also great.
Overall, not terribly impressed, but will come back when my Indian food cravings return.
How the mighty have fallen. As the Vietnamese restaurant Song Que has shown, canteen-style, express food service is an art-form. Unfortunately Tayyabs is victim of its own success. Another one of these East London restaurants that's living off the fumes of a former accreditation of excellence but fails to deliver. I would say the average customer was not raised on a diet of Indian cuisine so experiencing curry is an irregular event (being half-Pakistani I had the stuff coming out of my ears from an early age) and perhaps hard to quantify - my own gf exclaimed how a lamb masala "nearly blew her head off" so there you have it. I had a chicken karahi which was bland (real curry houses offer chicken thigh as is the tradition in the Punjab), the meat rubbery and unbelievably luke warm. My naan was stone cold and my Nan could make better pilau in her sleep. The place is packed to the rafters making it uncomfortable to relax - at one point I had the jacket of a customer dangling in my curry as he was squeezed along an overflowing line. Ok compared to the crap on brick lane people think this is epic but If Tayyabs was in Southall it would be EMPTY. Time to look for a better local curry or just stick to my excellent take out from Samosa.
Once again Taayabs delivers on taste, price and atmosphere.
As usual people are queuing in every square inch of the lobby and pavement outside. I always wonder what these people are doing - if you're coming to Taayabs rule number 1 is to book a table. Rule number 2 is bring a bag of cold beers (it's BYO), and rule number 3 is to have the Karahi lamb chops for starter.
I had the lamb gohst for main with a beautiful, buttery peshwari naan. As on all previous visits, the bill was greeted like a favourite uncle at Christmas. £12 per person for an enormous amount of great food.
Oh dear, I feel like I'm going to write an obit for the Tayyab's I once knew and loved. I've been coming here for at least 7 years. Granted, it had been a while since my last visit but wow, what a miserable experience!
To be fair, the food is still amazing. The lamb chops are still finger lickin' good. The table still falls silent once the food arrives - you can't get it in your mouth fast enough.
But there were two major downfalls this time. We were there on a Monday night. It was not full. There was no queue out the door. There were empty tables. The service was its usual surly self but it seemed worse than usual. They couldn't be bothered to help us make space for the food that was coming out and instead was telling us, quite rudely, to move stuff around. Really? What's the freaking rush?
But the worst was the bottle of water that they leave on the tables. You think it's free but it's actually £2.50. They won't bring you tap water. It's the bottled water or nothing. How cheap can you get that you won't even offer tap water?
A completely disappointing experience and I'm not sure I'll be going back, despite the delicious food. They've become a victim of their own success!!
This is one of the best Indian/Pakistani places I've ever been. I had a couple bits of chicken tikka and they were tender and juicy with great flavors. I also had a chicken tikka saag dish that was appropriately spicy and really delicious. I'm currently on a restrictive diet, so I didn't get to sample the pappadum and naan, but there were plenty on the table, and they looked fantastic.
The place was pretty busy for a weekday lunch, and I was told that by 4:30, it's packed with a line. I can believe it.
Very good food... Service ok... We dined with kids but did not think to ask to make food mild... Had to reorder some dishes twice
Such a let-down. The only thing that this place has going for it is the food. Normally, that would suffice. But Tayyeb proves to be the exception to the rule.
The wife and I booked a reservation here and after a long trip on the tube and a bit of self-induced (for Tayyeb) confusion about how to seat a bunch of parties that were queued up and raring to go, we sat down and had dishes, cutlery, and sauces plopped unceremoniously on our table. Having grown up with Cantonese waiters doing the same thing (but with much more insouciance), we weren't perturbed. Nor were we perturbed when we were told that they no longer did BYOB (great, another bottle of vino to pack for our trip back!). Nor were we perturbed when I asked for a fork and was given a knife (I ended up eating everything with a serving spoon).
What did perturb me was the food. After such inept service and organization, I hoped fervently that every bite of the Karahi lamb chop masala, karahi gosht, garlic naan, and sikkh kebabs would be manna from heaven. Not so. They were all good- the garlic naan was soft, the kebabs were spicy and aromatic, and the main dishes were delightfully fragrant with a hint of heat. But they weren't that good. It certainly didn't warrant the long trip, the slack service, and the utterly self-induced chaos that marked the entire experience.
Oh yes, that BYOB policy? Totally arbitrary. The table next to us pulled a bottle of vino out of their bag and was handed a corkscrew. Unfortunately for us, we had already finished eating. Psssht!
We ordered our food. I leave to use the restroom for around 2 minutes. When I return to the table my chicken tikka masala & mango lassi arrive at the table. What the flip? I seriously had never experienced that quick of preparation which made me 1/2 skeptical (uhh pre-made much?) and 1/2 happy (i couldn't deny that i was super hungry). Did they get the wrong table?
well...the verdict came in when I bit into that tasty chicken with a spicy kick to it and later took a cool sip of the sweet mango lassi. I never thought I was a fan of Indian food in the USA, but Tayyab has me sold. I LOVED IT & I LOVE TAYYAB!
from an American yelper!
Pretty good, but I'm not sure it's worth a tube ride across town to eat here. You'll get really solid lamb dishes here, which I enjoyed quite a lot, but other dishes here didn't impress all that much. Plus, everything was quite oily, as in there were pools of oil in everything, which is OK, but makes you feel like it could be healthier.
Place gets packed but they keep things moving along.
The mango lassi is good an enormous.
Tayyab is nothing special. The wait staff were a bit slow to serve me, had to wait about 10 minutes just to get a menu, even though the restaurant was almost empty. The food was average at best. I tried the Meat Samosa and one of the lamb curries with palao on the side. It's not bad, but expected something far better for London considering the hype around London indian food.
The price is one of the redeeming qualities of Tayyan, for about 20 pounds you can have a filling meal for 2, but if you're looking for a top indian place I'd recommend trying somewhere else.
Delicious! After looking for a curry house online this seemed to be the place to go. We walked in around 7.15 and immediately got a seat for 2. It was pretty cramped, but at least we didn't have to queue.
The servers brought salad and poppadoms. The mango chutney was really nice, not too sweet and the red sauce had a nice kick to it. We ordered quite a bit of food (as usual for an Indian) but the best was the house speciality lamb cops and the saag meat. The curries were full of flavour and there was a lot of meat in each dish. The naan was super light and fluffy and was perfect to mop up all the sauce. We polished off all the food and although I was super stuffed afterwards, it was worth it.
The only niggling point I have is that the service was quite rushed and I definitely felt like they were trying to turn tables over. There was a queue on our way out, but I would have enjoyed a bit of a slower meal. For the quality of the food and the price I will defo be up for making an East end trek for their curries again.
I'm going to be the 100th plus person to talk about the deliciousness of Tayyabs. But please note... Tayyabs is delicious.
This is such a strange place. It's decorated like a club (neon lights outside, bubbles and mood lighting inside) and tucked away on a side street. If you see the crazy throng of people outside, that's the right place. This spot is always packed, especially at night. Don't just walk in, always make a reservation. (They used to not take them, now they do online. Book it.)
But it's the food where this place shines. Cheap, delicious, hot, spicy, mmm. The lamb chops are legendary, the chicken tika masala is delicious (and not overly creamy or sweet like other ones) and the complimentary flat bread, veggies and sauce they put down right as you sit is amazing.
And each meal is about £7 for a small portion and £13 for a large portion. Get some rice and some bread and two small portions for two people and it's seriously enough.
Plus, it's BYOB (or whatever drink you want.) There's a Tesco down the street (when walking out of Tayabs, turn left, you can't miss it)) and no cork fee. Drink wine, drink beer, drink cider, drink it all!
If you can, sit away from the open kitchen. We were placed there last night and every time they cooked up a new dish, the spice hit that side of the room so hard everyone coughed. It was hard to breathe sometimes it was so thick. Still, a delicious sort of way to die and I woke up this morning still smelling like cooked meat. Mmm.
We were there in the evening and they technically close at 11:30. They put down the bill but we weren't ready to go yet. We asked if we had to leave but they told us as long as we paid, we could sit there until Midnight. We paid and that's exactly what we did. Thanks Tayyabs.
There's usually a wait for this place, which signaled to us that it might be a place worth checking out. (That, and our host whom we were renting a flat from had recommended it.)
We walk in and were lucky enough to wait only about 5-10 minutes before we were seated in the downstairs seating area. Note: the downstairs is DARK. I could barely even see what I was eating. We decided to order the chicken tikka masala, chicken keema, garlic naan, and a jug of mango lassi. It seems like only another five minutes pass before everything is brought to us. Super fast service always raises a red flag for me -- either the kitchen is extremely well-coordinated or everything is pre-made and reheated.
Either way, the flavors of the food were decent enough, although it wasn't quite what we were expecting. Whenever we've had chicken tikka masala before, it was served in a creamy, thick, and rich sauce. However, this chicken tikka masala was soaked in a very oily and thin sauce and didn't taste as good as others that we have had (mainly because you would get a mouthful of oil with your chicken). The chicken keema, naan, and mango lassi were pretty tasty, though. For a party of two, we probably shouldn't have ordered a jug of mango lassi, but it seemed to be the better deal as opposed to ordering two individual glasses.
All in all, I've had better. Maybe the Bay Area has spoiled me too much, but Tayyab isn't the absolute worst. The flavors are strong and definitely have potential. The service, though, is a bit rushed at points (re: food arriving five minutes after we ordered). I understand that there's a waiting list of customers, but that doesn't mean that the customers who are seated should be given a quick meal and shooed out the door.
Always amazing food :) service is blunt but who gives a shit when the food speaks for itself :)
The Short: The food here is spectacular. The price is even better. Only one thing left to say: get the lamb.
The location of this place is a little tricky - it is situated off of the main road in a somewhat difficult to find location. While the surroundings are not exactly the most bustling part of the city, the restaurant itself is quite busy most of the time. In fact the place is often very crowded - be prepared to be up close and personal with the people dining around you.
However if you don't mind the coziness, then the rest of the experience will blow you away. While the service is nothing extraordinary, the prices are extremely cheap, which is a welcome sight for London diners on a budget like myself. The food was exceptional - everything we had was very good, although the lamb was far and above the best.
A couple of caveats though: First, they don't serve alcohol so it's BYOB (which, frankly, I see as a plus). In case you forget this, when you get to Tayyab go out the door and turn right. Walk a fair distance and you will find yourself at a store that sells alcohol, on your right. Second, the line can be quite long so be ready to wait or plan ahead and send one of your more amicable friends to hold your place.
Tayyabs is a legend among London curry houses, partly for its food (lamb chops being their signature dish) and partly for their queues because of their no reservation policy
As I don't frequent east London that often, I had never been to Tayyabs but when my Yelp Elite friend visited from LA, she had Tayyabs on her frighteningly comprehensive 2.5 day timetable, it was the ideal reason to make the trek. A bonus was when I discovered that they had started taking reservations
So, it was great to swan past the queue of people waiting to be shown to our table. Fellow London Elite Tirthankar D also joined us and he was able to help to navigate the menu
Their signature masala lamb chops were of course obligatory and we added some tandoori chicken from the grill. The curry section wasn't their strong point and we had a selection
The lamb chops were very good - moist, juicy and succulent given some good charring from the grill and heavy with spice. However, the curries were meh with no strong defining flavours to tell them apart
It was a nice evening with fellow Yelpers.The lamb chops are great but there are better curry houses in London town
When I was first planning my trip to London, I remember people making comments about food in London. How it wasn't too good, or how they were not impressed. However, one of the most overwhelming things that I received advice about was to definitely get Indian food in London.
Lucky for me, my tour guide Yee Gan O. knew all about this and created a mini little Yelp meet at Tayyabs!
This is in a location that's a little bit further than I expected in London, and was a little hard to get to via the Tube, but nevertheless I am super happy that I got to try this place because everything was AMAZINGLY delicious! Definitely have not had Indian food like this in the U.S.
I loved their Naans especially because they had so many different varieties. I also loved the lamb, definitely a must and their curry was just mindblowingly good! I definitely feel like there's a lack of flavor now when I eat Indian food here in the US because it is not the same!
Food was excellent and enjoyed being able to bring my own drinks (save some money), even though we paid for quite a few bottles of water. Service was quick but this place is noisy! If coming with a large group don't expect to be able to hear anyone that isn't right next/across from you.
It's been said over and over... but MAKE A RESERVATION! Lines were long and we were thankful to have our table ready and waiting for us instead of waiting forever. One of the best meals during our visit to London!
Are you on holiday in the UK? Do you wish to experience an authentic British-Indian curry house? Then, from a born-and-bred Londoner who has visited the subcontinent and rather enjoys a curry, heed this advice: go anywhere other than Tayyabs.
The place is a victim of its own success. Lauded in Lonely Planet and by various internet guides, they are unable to cope with the pressure but too greedy to accept their limitations. Rather than capping the copious bookings now heading their way, they accept them all. We'd only been able to make a reservation for 9:30pm (which arguably was warning enough, so perhaps we should blame ourselves) but weren't seated until gone 10pm with no apology given for the lateness, no explanation, no updates. At one point we were vehemently chastised for lurking in the wrong line. When we explained to the harassed waiter that we had been told to stand there by his colleague, and requested his help in speeding up the process, he spluttered an inaudible excuse and vanished into the throng.
And a throng it was. In my entire life, I have never seen so many people waiting to be seated at a restaurant. The place was stuffed to the gills with multiple dozens of increasingly angry (and hungry) customers, whilst irate waiters forced their way through the crowd holding aloft wobbling trays. It wasn't a pleasant environment and hardly made for an appetising pre-dinner scenario. Once we were finally summoned to our table, I discovered that in their haste they hadn't bothered to clear the previous diners' detritus and as such, we sat amongst dirty napkins. By this point we were all feeling pretty sullen but nonetheless selected a large range of dishes, optimistic that this much-praised food would counteract the shoddy customer service and sensation of eating dinner in a refugee asylum.
But it didn't. Because the food is not that great. It's just . . . it's fine. It's ok. It's hard to mess up a curry and these guys didn't mess it up. Considering the portions (we went for small - we shouldn't have - they're the size of a starter) the prices were expensive, but I guess standard for the area, and it's BYOB so that helped considerably. But taste-wise, it's mediocre at best. The peshwari naan was under-seasoned. The saag aloo was made with skin-on baby potatoes - what?! It's my favourite dish and I always order it as a side but this was one of the most flavourless and watery versions I've ever encountered. We were also given the bill without asking for it, sealing the impression that they couldn't wait to get rid of us.
So we queued like cattle, were treated as irritations, surrounded by litter, and all for utterly average food. For the life of me I couldn't tell you why this joint has made it into London's curry lexicon because nothing, NOTHING stood out to make it any better than a single one of the area's ubiquitous Indian and Pakistani restaurants.
To finish, a positive payoff. My flatmate's ex recommended this place and stated unequivocally that it was worth the schlep across town from Shepherds Bush. Our hugely disappointing experience confirmed her suspicions that he is an archetypal pretentious East Londoner, beholden to the Emperor's new clothes, and generally clueless about life west of Whitechapel. This needed to happen. It was a long-awaited realisation. So in a culinary sense Tayyabs may be a total waste of time but hey, every cloud.
Yes, I am joining the masses of people that make the trek to White Chapel for Indian food. The rave reviews for the mango lassis and pork chops at this place really don't lie. And BYOB is a marvelous way to enjoy your perfect beverage while dining here.
Stand out to me was the na'an, of which I would recommend you order at least one per person. The texture was something like a lightweight, delicious pizza crust.
Our dining party also found the vegetarian options very pleasing.
I also discovered a few things I might not have otherwise. Like Indian candy dessert! I recommend the one that looks like a mess of orange Twizzler. Delicious.
Seating situation is weird at this restaurant. Almost all tables are somewhat communal and if you're not comfortable sharing a table with strangers, the crowds they permit to snake around your table pac-man style while waiting will probably feel somewhat overwhelming.
Worth noting, however -- I'm not ordinarily a huge fan of Indian food and I really liked this place.
Excellent food at dirt cheap prices. Always packed
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