My first impression of Pakistani cuisine was pleasant, but people simply won’t shut up about Tayyabs. So a visit to the much loved restaurant is inevitable. It was 3pm on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Thankfully there were no queues, but the joint was still 90% packed plus the odd few waiting for their takeaway orders.
Despite the air of laziness filling the entire London on yet another gloomy Sunday (which started off super sunny), the atmosphere was lively in Tayyabs; plates of sizzling grills flying out from the kitchen, staff speedily manoeuvring around the tables and each other, and patrons chatting away over plates of colourful curries.
We were served a jug of tap, poppadoms & chutney and a plate of salad as we were seated. Salad actually looked edible as opposed to the limp and wilted shreds at Lahore. The menu looked more or less the same, with main courses that I couldn’t translate. Seeing I had a world traveller dining with me, I left him to do the ordering. Basically he looked at what our neightbours were having, and asked for whatever looked good. Worked fine.
The sizzling hot grill was still hissing away as our platter hit our table. It smelt so good. I must say these lamb chops looked a lot more like ribs, and the meat was slightly overcooked to dryness, the ones in Lahore looked better. Nonetheless they were bursting with flavours, started gentle and the spices slowly crept in… then counterbalanced by a refreshing zest. The seekh kebab turned the heat up. The deceivingly innocent mince was mixed with seeds of dynamite, which exploded with the peppery herbs in mouth. It was spicily addictive. Again, I hate chicken breast. One of the four chops was indistinguishably burnt, but otherwise a fiery start.
Luckily this was a calmer dish. I couldn’t help but felt it was similar to the lamb curry I had in LKH, which wasn’t dissimilar to Rogan Josh. It must be my lack of knowledge for Pakistani recipes. Anyhow it was a good curry, and it would be an even better curry with more tender lamb.
I had roughly the same things as I did in LKH, which allows a fair comparison I believe. Yet I am not sure which I prefer. Tayyabs undoubtedly offer a more comfortable dining environment, with better trained staff and of course, the sizzling grill. While both eateries served aromatic and presumably authentic fare, I thought LKH cooked slightly better meat. Perhaps I had higher expectations for Tayyabs? Or just my low tolerance for spiciness?
83-89 Fieldgate Street
Tel: 0207 247 6400