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Monday, 21 December 2009

London Restaurant Reviews - Tayyabs

Tayyabs (Updated on 3rd April 2011)

I have wanted to go to Tayyabs for a very long time but for one reason or another, I never managed to get a table. On one occasion, a couple of friends and I tried our luck without a reservation - as we arrived there we found, as predicted, a very long queue ahead of us. After waiting for 20 minutes or so we gave up, and headed to the nearby Lahore Kebab House.

Last Thursday, I finally made to Tayyabs thanks to the delightful Jennifer and Louise who miraculously managed to book us a table - never underestimate a woman’s power of persuasion I would say! I had first met Jen & Louise at the Bangalore Express tasting a few weeks earlier, and was looking forward to eating and catching up with both again.

We arrived at Tayyabs to find the busiest restaurant I have ever seen – the queue was a tangle of nearly a hundred or so people huddled together, pushing and shoving and looking rather miserable. Despite our booking, we still had to wait a good 40 minutes for our table while others with no booking had to wait even longer.

Our waiter was cheerful and well natured considering the number of diners he had to look after – he patiently took our order and assisted us to open our bottle of wine. Being a Pakistani restaurant, Tayyabs is a BYO restaurant which helps to make it an even more affordable choice.

After a few minutes, two sizzling hot plates, piled high with a selection of the most beautifully char-grilled meats, arrived at our table – the smell was wonderful and we quickly tucked in. The meat was tender and had been perfectly seasoned. It was spicy without being too hot, and combined with the heavenly char-grilled flavours, it made for a sensational dish.

 The selection of meats included “chicken tikka” @ £2.80, “lamb chops” @ £5.50, and “sheekh kebab” @ £0.90 each. Each plate of meat cost £11.90.

To follow the grilled meats, we ordered two curries – “Karahi Chicken” @ £6 and “Allo Meat” (Lamb) @ £6.20.

These were also excellent, as the karahi (like small woks), where the curries were cooked and served, had been blackened by the intense heat and were giving out that perfectly char-grilled aroma.


To accompany our mains we also ordered a couple of the vegetable dishes, the “Lahori Chickar Chana” (chickpeas) @ £4.80 and the baby pumpkin or “Tinda Masala” @ £5.

These were fried and served in Karahis, they were both deliciously spicy and had good flavours.

We also had “Pilau Rice” @ £2.50, the most scrumptious Peshwari Nan @ £2.50 and a “Garlic Nan” @ £2.

As we brought our own wine, we only shared a large bottle of water @ £2, and a very creamy and delicious mango lassi which @ £2 was a real bargain. By the end of the meal, we were all too full to order dessert so we shared a couple of “Kulfi” (Pistachio ice cream skewers) @ £2.50 each. The ice cream was sensational and I wish I had ordered a whole one for myself!

My experience at Tayyabs has revived my love for Pakistani cuisine, its kebabs and curries. At £67 for a table of 5 or £13.40 per person, Tayyabs is incredibly good value. Despite the chaotic booking system and ludicrous queues, I cannot wait to return to Tayyabs and try all those dishes again.

Verdict – Sensational grilled meats, wonderful Karahi curries and vegetables at very reasonable prices. I cannot wait to return. Highly recommended.

Tayyabs on Urbanspoon

...What Others Are Saying...

Jiang Young on 3rd April 2011: My first time to Tayyabs in Whitechapel, its rated one of the best places for curry in London so I booked for a friend's birthday.  As soon as you enter the restaurant the umistakable smell of the tandoori grill hits you like an unwarranted friend. It goes right up your nose. (And onto your clothes). And your tummy will rumble as soon as you take your seat. Interesting mix of diners: from suited business men to rowdy locals, to quiet couples and big families. Its a nice noisy mess of different people from around London.

When I arrived (shamefully late) at the table my companions were already sipping their tap water and on the table were plates of complimentary onion, lettuce, tomato salads, plates of poppadums and bowls filled with chutney, mint sauce and the like. Spicy spicy but very delicious.

Off the menu we ordered several dishes of lamb karahi gosht,  saag gosht, chicken tikka, 2 orders of samosas, 2 orders of plain and garlic naan...yes we feasted like gluttonous pigs. The lamb was tender with hints of mint and the vegetable samosas had a nice shell, not too oily and as you bit into them...bliss. And because I wanted my saag paneer (yes its not on the menu, what's with that?) I specifically asked for it. Did they have it? Yup. Why wouldn't they? I also ordered Onion Bhajis (fried onions in a wonderful chick pea batter) which I ADORE as well as some raita (yoghurt) to compliment the spicy Lamb tikka. Go off menu, it pays off everytime!


  1. Love the review, it was indeed a fab evening - very good food shared with great people.

    Did you ever get the pics I sent to your hotmail address?

    Jenn xx

  2. Hi Jenn, i am still drooling over those meat plates... i can't wait to go back! Thanks for organising such a lovely evening. Luiz @ The London Foodie

  3. hi Luiz

    I like Tayyabs food especially different tandoori dishes, all these beautiful grilled meats and Kebabs. And they do the best Keema Naan I ever tasted.

    But... and it is a big but, Every time I go there I get annoyed with the way tables are allocated. Waiting outside for ages. Then, all those people standing between tables waiting to be seated. And the worst of all how you feel rushed to finish food so they can turn around the tables for the hungry crowds waiting.

    I am not sure it is worth the hassle.

  4. Hi Kano,

    I need to go back a second time for a more informed opinion - my experience of their queue was horrendous although the food was superb (but it was the first time i had ever tried their food and was blown away).

    I intend to go back on a Monday evening at 10pm or so to avoid that queue again.

    I will let you know.

    Luiz @ The London Foodie

  5. lovely write-up. have you tried the new Lahore Restaurant in St. John's Wood? it's fantastic. btw chikkar cholay (chanay) literally means muddy chickpeas in Punjabi, it's named after the way they looks- like mud!

  6. will be trying this place for a friend's birthday dinner next week! does this mean I may have a chance of winning a dinner ? haha! will be sending this review your way soon. =)

  7. Thanks for the beautiful photos. I think I am going to taste the curry dishes soon!


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