It remains a mystery as to why one can travel by train from Crawley to the Capital and have the freedom of all transport within London for just over £10.00, whereas in Central Scotland…forget it.
Before meeting up with Clive for another bash at the Great British Beer Festival (GBBF), Hector had a few ports of call. Bermondsey is a surprising source of my current Favourite Bier – Septem 8th Day, brewed in Greece. The Pink Floyd Exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum was well worth the £16.00 entry fee. There had to be Bunkers before supping Ale, a return to Whitechapel was foremost in my thoughts for this week. My own review of Lahore Kebab House confirmed that – Dry Lamb – is available there in the second half of the week, tempting. However, Curryspondent Neil had suggested an alternative Whitechapel venue that I should explore – Tayyabs (83-89 Fieldgate St, Whitechapel, London E1 1JU).
Walking along Fieldgate, I was not expecting to encounter such a large venue. Established in 1972, it would appear that Tayyabs has encroached into neighbouring premises over the years. As I entered just after 13.00, a large seating area to the right was empty. I was escorted past a secondary seating area which was full to what may have been the original premises.
The Open Kitchen lay to the rear, I was sat at a small table immediately next to two Chaps who were well into their Curry. I could see twenty plus diners, not bad for a Friday Lunchtime. Bottles of Bier were on many tables, had people brought their own? I saw no Bier List. I could hardly photograph everything.
Punjabi Cuisine – was engraved on the windows, Hector was at home. A Jug of Water and three Dips were already on the table. A Waiter approached with Poppadoms in one hand, a Modest Salad in the other. He offered the Poppadoms, declined, the Salad was placed on the table. The Menu came in an instant and impressed by its simplicity. On any other day it would have been Lamb Karahi, but there it was – Dry Meat – (£9.50) – Tayyabs lamb signature dish. For a brief moment I considered – Large – at £19.00. No, a Starter. For reasons unknown, Shami Kebab (£1.20) is only served on a Wednesday, Seekh Kebab (£1.20) it would be. A Tandoori Paratha (£3.25) would complete the Order.
Only one? – said the Waiter who took the Order. Who orders one Seekh Kebab?
The wait for the Starter was not long. A Sizzling Iron Platter was presented with the Seekh Kebab atop a generous bed of Onions. Ah, the Paratha was here too. No sooner had I completed my ritual photography when the Karahi of Dry Meat arrived. This was not ideal, I like my Food to be served – Hot – and to be so at the end of consumption. I would conclude that at this time of day, Tayyabs is set up to cater for those who are on their lunch hour.
The Seekh Kebab was decidedly – Small – I should have ordered two. Dry and Herby, it was Well Seasoned with a Moderate Spice Level. Tasty. I should have ordered three.
The Paratha showed Layering with a Flakiness that turned to Crisp. Dark, this was in the category I describe as – Wholemeal. A decent size, this was OK, but far from being the best. I did see Naans pass me by, these looked Lighter and Fluffier, the better option.
Determined not to end up with my Curry on the floor, I carefully manoeuvred the Iron Platter to the far side of the table and placed the Karahi in front of me, a dinner plate was also discarded.
Normally I dip my Bread into the Masala surrounding the Meat, there was none. I then sample the Oil which separates, there was none. This was a Dry Curry. This is what I ask for across the Curry Diaspora, here it was, the definitive – Dry Curry!
The Lemon was squeezed over the Meat, the slice from the Salad also. A Citrus Tang should surely enhance the experience. The Lamb was well into Double Figures, this was a lot of Meat. Tender to Chewy, the Meat was merely – cloaked – with the Thick Masala. The Seasoning slowly came through, the Spice Level was not remarkable. There was a distinctive flavour, Pleasant, but it was not powerful. The Coriander Topping was Minimal, this Curry would have benefited from more Herbs. Way better than the Mainstream, but well short of – Wow.
Inevitably, having sat on the table from the time it took me to eat the Seekh Kebab and Wonderful Onions, the Curry became – Cool – long before its completion. Just as well I did not go – Large.
A solo female Diner was sat beside me where the Chaps had been, she ordered Chicken Karahi. This came in a Soup-like Masala which was not excessive. I was surprised at how Thin the Masala was served.
£13.95. One can have no complaints about value for money. I should have had four…
I gave the Calling Card to the Waiter who received the cash. He took my phone up to the counter to show the Boss. The Card was studied, as was the Curry-Heute Homepage. When he returned, I was offered a Complimentary Dessert. This was declined. I choose to leave a Curry House with the lingering taste of Curry on the palate, not Sweet.
I went downstairs to use the Facilities and was astonished to find a huge seating area, this I could photograph. As I departed, the seating area at street level which was once empty was now full. Tayyabs is doing Big Business.
And so to Pink Floyd.