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Friday, April 23, 2004

The New Tayyab: an Indian meal extraodinaire


I dragged my ragged self and three colleagues to the Tayyab for dinner on our way back from Ipswich Wednesday night. The New Tayyab is my favorite Indian restaurant in the whole universe, minus India, to which I've never been.

The restaurant is this little but wildly popular place out in Whitechapel, a somewhat rough but extremely interesting neighbourhood in London's East End.

Whitechapel, according to my friends, is something of a touch-down area for newly arrived immigrants. It started out being a Jewish neighbourhood, then the jews got richer and moved out the a better area. Then it was for a while an Indian neighbourhood, same eventual development, and the area became Pakistani. Currently it's something of a Bangladeshi area, but is rapidly evolving to welcome new nationalities of immigrants. The area also sports one of the oldest synagogues and the oldest mosque in London. How fascinating!

Our usual waiter, Ali, got us the nice table at the far end of the patio, and helped me navigated the menu as I was without my Tony and Fahro that night. I am always treated so well here even though I don't make it out there nearly as often as I'd like. Well, actually, considering I, in fact, live in San Francisco and not London, I do go there quite often!

The Tayyab is famous for their Tandoori meats. We had two portions of lamb chops (4 chops each), one of which was entirely mine. Also some chicken, dry meat curry, lamb korma (lamb curry), keeman naan (naan bread stuffed in spiced meat), plain naan, shammi kebab (fried chickpea patties), baby pumpkin curry, and baby aubergine and chickpea curry.

Everything was great, especially the light-as-air shammi kebab and dry curry. The lightly spiced (for the Tayyab that is) baby pumpkin curry and the superb breads, as always, were my respite from the sinus-clearing spice in the other dishes.

The best thing about the Tayyab, besides the fantastic food, is the value. Wasim, the chef/owner, owns the small building that houses the restaurant, so he is able to offer his extraordinary faire at unbelievably cheap price. My colleagues were amazed at the bill, 40 pounds for the four of us—and we didn't just eat, we gorged ourselves silly!

We stopped for a pint each at the Samaritan before crawling back to the West End for a well deserved rest. A whole day in back-to-back meetings with nary a time for lunch would kill anyone, not to mention the trek out to Ipswich at daybreak. I'm glad I had the Tayyab to cheer me up again.

P.S. You may be wondering what's up with half eaten food in the photo. My sincere apology. I was famished when the food arrived, and couldn't spare a moment with the camera before I assuaged my enormous hunger.


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