Alright, most people has heard of Tayyabs (if you are in England). A copious amount of first rate reviews, no wonder Tayyabs is an award winning eaterie beating even some of the Michelin restaurants. Tayyabs, a blend of Punjabi-Pakistani cuisine, thrives on stupendous food, unfussy and unposhy. No nit-picking with granishes. No fancy cuts of vegetables.
Within walking distance, where Brick Lane has a reputation with the ….. cuisine, Tayyabs sits humbly away, on Fieldgate Street. Here, Mohammed Tayyab carved his own reputation from a humble café to todays’ one of London award winning restaurants. Around the neighbourhood, he has a reputation for more than three decades, first as a café which subsequently became a pub-tobacconist on to today as a restaurant churning out covers of ……. on three buildings.
Inside Tayyabs, it has three separate dining area on ground entrance and a basement floor. Brightly lit upstairs, decoration with vibrant colours is different to the atmosphere in the basement. The basement is dimly lit with difficulty to look at the menu and loud blasting music that you have to shout to the person across the table on already very narrow and small tables.
It seems like it is impossible to get a booking in Tayyabs. Especially when we have a crowd of nine people or maybe because we had a crowd of nine.
Tayyabs do not serve alcohol, you can bring your own and they dont have a corkage charge either (because they do not havea corkscrew). You also might want to take note that Tayyabs close during the ramadhan period.
Spicy popadums (GBP 0.60) with variety of sauces – was a great pre-starter. These were they immediately put on the tables. Even before the menus arrived! These popadoms were served with raw onion, tomato and cucumber salad with three chutneys, tomato and red chilli (spicy), mango chutney (leans towards sweet but has a hint of spicy) and a mint and yoghurt (non-spicy). The popadums were light and delicious. Not at all oily.
Mango lassi and the white saltish lassi (I cannot remember what the white was called) – both the lassis were thick and creamy, tasted very good, very filling. If you are apprehensive about the spicyness of the food, it is a good idea to opt for one of these drinks. The mango lassi can be very filling. Therefore, my advice is to go slow on the drink, if you can resist yourselves. The saltish yoghurt, has a touch of cumin. In fact, it was on the verge of salty for us. Order a jug (GBP 6.00) if you were going to order two or more glasses (GBP 2.50).
For starters, Tayyabs are known for their grilled meats. Both meats came on a sizzling plate. Still smoky when it arrived on the table beause it must have travelled a distance from the kitchen to the basement floor on our table.Lamp chops (4 pieces – GBP 6.20) – the marinate is flavoursome. Not as meaty as I thought it would be. There is no need for sauce because of the thick layer of marinate coated on the meat.
Chicken tikka (5 pieces GBP 3.20) – the chicken was on the dry side. but you would expect that from a chicken breast. My least favourite.
After the starters, there was not a long wait until the main arrived.
Tandoori naan (GBP 0.95 each) – called a tandoori so it does not sound normal, I guess. But, it is just a regular naan. Thick and doughy.
Pilau rice (GBP 2.90 a portion) – the portion size is generous for one.
All the main courses that we had came in a small rabdi kadai look alike. Shaped like a small wok it rests on a rectangular wooden block. The kadai was quite shallow and wide. Not much of a main course. I would recommend to have two dishes per person. All their dishes just have garnishes of coriander and fresh chopped tomatoes. Sauce all look tomatoes-eish, with quite a compelling taste of ghee.
Saag aloo (GBP 5.50) – potato with spinach. Though on the spicy side, you can still taste the spinach. Not much potato in the dish. Just few chunks of small potato cubes.
Here, they all look quite similar. It actually helped to identify which is which because the waiter told us what they were before he puts it down. Helps but there is actually no way of telling it unless you are with someone who knows or remembered what they have ordered.
As a first timer and ignorant to the punjabi-pakistani cuisine, these looked the same to me.
karahi mixed vegetables GBP 5.40
tinda masala GBP 5.60
Probably they are busy but the service was brusque. I would return but definitely make sure that I want to be seated on the ground floor level.
83 Fieldgate Street,
London, E1 1JU
tel: +44 (0)20 7247 6400