Tayyabs, Whitechapel, London
My very first dinner in London was at Tayyabs in Whitechapel. They’ve served their Pakistani-Punjabi styled cuisines since 1974. The local climate was about 2 degrees upon landing in London with a bout of morning snow, so comforting curries was in order. Tayyabs is a bit of an institution around these parts, and I’ve made it a second time as well. And finally, since moving home at the end of 2017, Tayyabs is now right on my doorstep!
On my first visit to Tayyabs we enjoyed a mix of the lamb chops, kebabs, curries and naan. All very excellently priced. And all prepared decently well. I liked the flavour of the curries but the serving sizes for them were curiously on the small scale of things. The naan was fine but the grilled meats were definitely the best part of my first dinner here. Punjabi cuisine, and by extension Tayyabs, has a good rep for covering off the vegetarian palates too, so it’s an easy crowd pleaser.
We started off our evening with a selection of the meats. The four piece lamb chops (£7) and a few of the seekh kebabs (£1.10). Lamb was lovely and juicy and the kebabs were a good finger of meat that was tender and aromatic. Some of the quirks of London dining present itself here. Complimentary pre-meal snack items, but then chargeable water and those awful service fees. I guess it all balances itself, and overall Tayyabs is one of the cheaper dine out meals around town.
The food at Tayyabs is inexpensive with the karahi chicken saag (£7.75) and the Saag paneer (£6.20). The curries weren’t as hot (in terms of temperature) as the exposed, sizzling plates would suggest. Spices and flavours are all there and there is a rich authenticity to the dishes. Richness is a cornerstone of Punjabi cuisine.
Rather than another bottle of the non-free still water we had the mango lassi. So huge! Its £5.80 and more than enough for everyone to get a massive pour.
Second time’s the charm for Tayyabs, with the venue taking the achievement of being my first restaurant to feature a repeat visit. This time as part of my work social, meaning copious numbers of peoples with accordingly copious amounts of food. Having a chance to sample so much more of the menu, I still retired at my same favourites from last time – the saag paneer, the grill platter, the lamb – hell, even the chocolate-with-a-hint-of-mint that comes at the end of the meal is solid.
Funnily enough we made the same mistake of forgetting the BYO part and ended up enjoying sodas and water (yuck!). But then we had the jugs of the mango lassi again which were a treat, especially when the tikka masala set me on fire again. The rating is upped from last time, extensive menu and spot on service that gets dishes delivered dutifully without delay or distraction.