Nobody in London takes curry more seriously than East Londoners. Home to the famous curry houses of Brick Lane and Spitalfields, East Londoners have strong opinions on what makes a good curry.
Whether you fancy a curry now, or can’t wait to head to a restaurant when lockdown ends, here are TripAdvisor’s top seven curry houses.
Despite being ranked under the umbrella category of ‘Indian’ restaurants, you will find restaurants serving dishes from all over the South Asian subcontinent, from East India to Bangladesh.
7. Brick Lane Brasserie
Brick Lane Brasserie is a classic Brick Lane curry house with Indian and Bangladeshi options on the menu. They have classic grilled tandoori dishes, as well as Bangladeshi fish curries.
Readers praise the attentive, but quick service and varied menu.
One review said: “Not all in Brick Lane are good but this one is the best as far as I am concerned. The curries are all great I’m always big on the veg side all of which are authentically brilliant. Breads are fantastic light and fluffy not heavy or stodgy at all.
Phone: 44 (0)20 7377 8072
Address: 67 Brick Lane, London, E1 6QL
According to their website, they are closed until further notice, so it is worth checking back in when lockdown has lifted.
6. Red Chilli
Red Chilli in Aldgate is a traditional East End, award winning curry house, including one for the ‘Best Indian Restaurant in East London’ at the Asian Curry Awards in 2015.
Restaurant reviewers enjoy the attentive service there, and the fact that there are plenty of vegetarian options.
One review said: “Delicious food and reasonable prices. Would highly recommend! Saag paneer was one of the best I’ve had and peshwari naan wasn’t too sweet – was just right! Thanks for a lovely meal!”
Another complimented the service: “We ordered, but the lovely gent taking our order thought they were too similar and asked if he could recommend something else. He did, we accepted, best decision.”
Phone: 020 7481 3300
Address: 137 Leman St, Whitechapel, London E1 8EY
5. Standard Balti House
This Brick Lane restaurant serves the traditional grills and curries that you can expect any ‘traditional’ curry house to serve, along with dishes that are less common in general curry house menus, such as Chicken Rezala and Lamb Lemongrass
Reviewers praise Standard Balti House for being a strong all around experience including its atmosphere, service and consistently good food.
A reviewer said: “I’ve been coming here for the past few years. By far the best Indian I’ve had on the lane. The lamb naga and mater paneer are always incredibly tasty. The food is top quality and never too greasy and the service is always amazing. Such friendly and attentive staff. Every dish has always been spot on with flavour and spice.”
Phone:020 7247 5855
Address: 71 Brick Ln, Spitalfields, London E1 6QL
This restaurant advertises itself as a Bengali and Bangladeshi curry house. Despite being located just off Brick Lane, it is considered a Brick Lane classic, having been here since 1974. But you would never guess its age as Meraz has a simple, but cool contemporary design with wooden tables.
Meraz could be a great option if you want to try new regional South Asian dishes, with options like cabbage bhajee (a cabbage curry).
One reviewer said: “Meraz was really clean and well organised for social distancing. The menu was a bit more interesting than your regular curry house. We ordered dishes we weren’t familiar with and all were delicious. The waiters were very friendly and helpful.”
Phone: 020 7247 6999
Address: 56 Hanbury Street E1 5JL, London
3. Café Spice Namaste
This Whitechapel restaurant is famous for being housed in a Grade II Victorian building. It was owned and operated by celebrity Chef Cyrus Todiwala, who has an OBE. Cafe Spice Namaste is known for showcasing dishes from around India.
Sadly, last November they announced they have had to leave the building, in which they have been based since 1995.
They announced they will reopen at another location this year. But until that happens, you can still order meal kits, recipe books and ingredients from their website.
2. The Empress
From its simple white exteriors, you might not immediately guess that The Empress in Whitechapel is TripAdvisor’s second best rated curry restaurant in East London.
It has also won numerous awards, including the ‘Best Indian Restaurant’ by Archant London Food and Drink Awards from 2006 to 2010; no mean feat!
Having been around since 1993, they cook dishes from Indian Bangladeshi cuisine.
They seem to be popular with regulars, and reviewers praise the attentiveness of the service.
One review said: “I’ve been eating at The Empress for the last 6 years. Indian is my favourite food but the service and attention is unbelievable at this place… Curries made to order. Foz will ask what you like, meat, spice, veg etc and make you a curry that suits you.”
Phone: +44 20 7265 0745
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1. The Monsoon
Many Brick Lane curry houses advertise themselves as ‘the best.’ But TripAdvisor reviewers have rated Monsoon as the number one Indian restaurant in East London. This four-floor restaurant in Brick Lane has been serving up Bangladeshi and Indian cuisine since 2001.
It has over 2,011 reviews and has maintained a four and a half circle rating on Tripadvisor, which is impressive.
The Monsoon has an extensive menu categorised by regions and cultures across India and Bangladesh.
A reviewer praised The Monsoon for its quality and attentive service, saying even ‘standard’ curry house dishes were excellently made.
They said: “Great staff and very tasty meal. Even the dishes you see in curry houses up and down the country are just that little bit better. Deservedly one of the highest rated curry houses in London.”
Address: 78 Brick Ln, Spitalfields, London E1 6RL
Phone: 020 7375 1345