National Curry Week is happening next week (22-26 November) so find yourself some drunken mates who can take the heat of a Vindaloo, bring some beer, and give these places a go..
Sheba, Brick Lane
by Vivien Wong
Sunday makes me think of Brick Lane, the buzz and atmosphere there is perfect for a Sunday stroll. There is nothing more perfect than inhaling the smells of the Sunday Upmarket, but this time, apart from basking in the delightful smells, I was going invited to review Sheba of Brick Lane. This is the place where my affair with the Mango Lassi drink began, why it did not enter my life before is unknown to me. Made with yoghurt, fresh mangos, crushed ice and milk, it is healthy yet refreshing.
The Kebab Ke Karishma starter was spot on, with a mint sauce that was not too sour or minty but added zing to the meat. The traditional dish, Dansak, was the highlight of the night, with an initial spicy taste that progressed to a subtle sweetness before ending on a slight sour taste! I yearn for it as I reminisce. Usually I steer clear of chicken and opt for something else instead because there is nothing worse than having a mouthful of dry chicken that you’re trying to swallow down with as much saliva produce as possible. Nasty. But the chicken in the Dansak is tender, moist and soft. Dipped with Naan bread, this is heaven in a curry house.
The King Prawn Malabar combined coconut, spices and nuts in a puree as a thick sauce which is smothered over the prawns and presented to you in a steaming hot plate. Picking up the naan bread and then slowly dipping and savouring the smell and taste. Finger lickin’ good. Did I mention that the naan bread here is sweet? It’s also smooth, soft, yet thick enough for scooping up those excess sauce puddles on the dish that are just too good to leave behind. I’m salivating now just thinking about the dish.
Located close to Truman Brewery, Sheba has been serving Londoners since 1972 so I am not the only happy customer they get. What’s better than sitting down to a splendid curry after a day of browsing vintage clothes and bargain hunting in Brick Lane. Although located in trendy East London, (as are all good things, Shoreditch sigh), it is definitely worth the trek.
Sheba 136 Brick Lane, London E1 6RU. www.shebabricklane.com Nearest tube: Shoreditch High Street
Masala Zone, Earls Ct
by George McIntyre
How about this: instead of spending your ‘hard earned’ student loan on an unfulfilling Domino’s pizza, why not try out, very possibly, one of the best Indian restaurants around, Masala Zone.
This place prides itself on authentic Indian cuisine at reasonable prices. You can easily get a meal and two or three drinks for about £13.50 - way cheaper than a double decadence extravaganza with extra bbq sauce! Even better, being an Imperial student will get you an exclusive 10% off your meal. Interested?
Just across the road from Earl’s Court tube station, or a twenty-minute walk from the South Kensington campus, sits Masala Zone, a modern and vibrant restaurant. Your first thought will probably be to think: ‘Can my student loan actually survive a hit like this?’ Just trust me.
If you’re just feeling peckish, you can choose from a wide range of authentic Indian street foods. These little snacks still pack a powerful explosion of flavour. My favourite being dahi puri – hollowed-out puffed-up biscuits filled with chickpea mash and splashed over with yoghurt and chutney. Awesome. If you’re just feeling like a decent curry dish you can choose from a wide range of types and flavours, or why not try a delicious Thali. Described as the way traditional Indian families eat at home, this will include a curry of your choice with rice or chapattis, papadums, two types of spiced vegetables (that change daily) and a lentil dal. Guaranteed to satisfy and less than ten quid!
Finally dessert, my recommendation would be the Gulab Jamun, a warm dough ball covered in sugar syrup served with a blob of vanilla ice cream. All this washed down with a lassi yoghurt drink and you will leave very satisfied. Of course, they do take-away too. What more could you ask for!?
Masala Zone 147 Earls Ct Rd, London SW5 9RQ. 020 7373 0220 www.masalazone.com Nearest tube: Earls Court