The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Indian @ Brick Lane Brasserie House of Spice, London

Indian food is apparently the most popular choice in Britain when the Brits don't feel like having a traditional English meal, and curry is even touted to be the unofficial national food of UK. Never mind the fact that most Indian dishes served in the UK are not actually Indian and that most of the population in India would have never heard of these dishes, we had to include this so-called Anglo-Indian cuisine as part of our London experience. We were informed by one of Rob's London colleagues that Brick Lane has "the best curry in London", and he also kindly gave us a few restaurant recommendations. Brick Lane is also known as Banglatown as it is located in the centre of the city's biggest Bangladeshi community, and there are plenty of curry houses to choose from. From the short list of recommended curry houses given to us, we chose one, but for some reason we couldn't locate it. It was pretty crowded with the Sunday market, and it was pretty late for lunch (we thought it was 2pm, but in actual fact Europe had begun daylight savings that day so everyone and everything in London but us were running an hour ahead) so eventually we gave up and just selected one that seemed good. Whenever we dine out, we usually have a specific place in mind to go to (after having done some prior research) so we don't usually pay much attention to signs declaring "best restaurant of the year/street/city" (which usually seem to indicate otherwise). This time, with our first option out, we had a huge number of Indian restaurants to choose from and nothing to let us know which ones would be good other than what was displayed on the windows of restaurants. We went into one that was supposedly the "winner of the best restaurant in Brick Lane 2011" (according to the sign posted on the window), the Brick Lane Brasserie House of Spice.

Our staple drink at Indian restaurants, Mango Lassi:

It was a fairly small restaurant, but the waiters were friendly and the food was pretty good. The lunch special run for £6.95 which includes a choice of starter, main course and rice/naan. It's great value since a-la-carte dish start from £8.95 each. Rob went for the lunch special, and chose Samosa for starter, a Mutton Saag for his main course and garlic naan for carbs.The samosas were fresh out of the fryer and delicious. The mutton was tender and the saag gravy was yummy. The naan was good for sopping up all the sauce.

Slightly spicy vegetarian samosa. Zak polished off a whole triangle on his own:

The kitchen made a mistake and prepared chicken saag. We did receive the mutton one Rob ordered, and the chicken saag was given to us complimentary because of another ordering misunderstanding regarding the green bean dish (see below):

I was keen to have briyani since it's the standard benchmark dish I always get at new Indian restaurants, but it wasn't included as part of the lunch deal so I didn't get the lunch deal. There were a few varieties to choose from at different prices, and I ordered the Shrimp Briyani because Zak loves eating prawns. The restaurant was happy to oblige with our request to remove the cashews from the briyani as Zak has food allergies to nuts. The briyani was a hit with the boy (see previous post for an amusing photo of our 2-year-old eating the spicy rice). The vegetable curry that came with the briyani was so good, that even meat lovers wouldn't mind eating it. "Mmm, yummy good", as my son would say.

Shrimp briyani with vegetable curry:

The "green beans" dish which turned out not to be the French/runner bean type. I am not really aware of any other legumes called green beans, but the waiter said that this was a type of green beans. Well, green bean or not, this was really good. Seems like this place does vegetarian dishes really well:

We ended up eating more than the "light lunch" we'd intended to eat, but we were pretty happy with the food experience, especially considering we'd walked into this restaurant from the street with no idea of how good the food would be. 'Twas a shame we didn't have more time to fit in more than one Indian meal in London.

Brick Lane Brasserie
67 Brick Lane
London E16QL
Tel +44 (0)20 7377 8072


  1. Zak ate briyani?? Wow, I'm impressed!! Way to go, Zak!!
    Now I'm not so nervous bout letting my 2 yr old try it when we go to Singapore! :)

  2. Yes Mary, and Zak loved the briyani! It's not his first time having spicy food (I used to put curry powder in his food when he was between 1 and 2 years old, and I also often cook curry for our dinner), but his tastebuds is still not used to the idea that the tingly feeling on the tongue is not a bad thing. Start 'em young, I say! Our kids are limited by what we allow them to eat, at least when they're this young :) I hope you'll enjoy the lovely array of delicious Singaporean food!

  3. How could we not enjoy Singaporean food? :) I've got a list from here to Tokyo of must-eats when we're there. ;) My little fella can hold his spicy (as in chilli/sambal hot) food (within reason of course), but I've never tried Indian food. Was worried that the little tummy would have a problem with the spices. But Zak (my little hero) has proven that it should be ok. :) Will keep you posted. :)

  4. hello I have been in this restaurant where the waiters outside the door invited us so kindly to come to eat,offering a free drink,once there they became very rude giving us pressure asking the order.After another in the order of eating and raising his voice, once finished the appetizer my friend left the tablespoon that plate, the waiter told him constantly and rude to take it to the next corse,so I asked to the waiter if he could bring one clean and he looked at me very badly, after they brought the bill asking us if we wanted to include any tips and we said no, explaining that the service is not deserved tip because they have been were rude to us, the waiter looked at us saying thank you very much, another told us thanks to see you never again and laughed even with comments really grumpy ... the food wasn't great and the service too bad this place and one of the worst in ten years living in london.

  5. Hi Angela,

    Sorry you had a bad experience at this restaurant. We were there over 2 years ago, and it's quite likely that a lot has changed in the past two years. Fortunately there are many other Indian restaurants on Brick Lane to choose from :)