There’s always a queue at this Whitechapel Punjabi hotspot – and with good reason
Tayyabs may be hidden down a back street in Whitechapel, east London, but it’s hardly a well-kept secret. There is always a queue at this Punjabi hotspot that snakes along the length of the restaurant, often spilling on to the street.
In a neighbourhood full of good south Asian restaurants, what sets Tayyabs apart? “We have a small menu that is well executed,” says head chef Wasim Tayyab, who runs the restaurant with his two older brothers. “We keep it simple and avoid any kind of fancy fusions – it won’t work with our type of food.”
Tayyabs is justly famous for its grilled lamb chops. But that shouldn’t distract you from other pleasures on the menu: the dry meat (actually a fiery beef curry) is every bit as good. “That dish was secret, until a few years ago,” says Wasim. “But people started tweeting about it, so the word is out.” The vegetarian dishes, notably the dhal baingun (lentils and baby aubergine) and tinda masala (baby pumpkin), are also surprisingly delicious from a kitchen that works so hard to satisfy carnivorous urges.
Tayyabs was opened in 1972 by Wasim’s father Mohammed, who came from Lahore in the 60s to work in east London. Since the 80s, the restaurant has grown steadily in size, annexing the next-door premises and recently adding new dining rooms upstairs and down. Do they have ambitions to expand beyond this site? “No,” says Wasim firmly. “Why not have just one restaurant and perfect that?” Our sentiments exactly.
83-89 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1JU; 020 7247 6400, tayyabs.co.uk
via Life and style: Indian food and drink | guardian.co.uk http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/oct/21/ofm-awards-cheap-eats-tayyabs