December 27, 2010

Dinner at Tayyabs

After a jet-lagged day shopping we headed out in search of dinner. Since London is known for having excellent Indian food and other international cuisines, I had researched the best places to go before departing Washington.

We took the the tube to Whitechapel in search of Tayyab, a Pakistani restaurant recommended by the three London travel books I brought with me – as well as being highly rated on Yelp. When we came out of the station we were in a different part of London. Here there is no famous architecture or tree-lined streets. We walked by a street market that was being torn down for the night. The sidewalk was filled with tents, merchants, and shoppers. After about 5 minute walk we turned down a nondescript street and arrived at Tayyab.

We arrived in the early evening and inside the restaurant it was already getting busy. Diners were sitting at tables and waiters were bustling around delivering steaming plates of delicious smelling food.

After sitting down I opened our bottle of wine and we started to peruse the menu. (Tayyab does not serve alcohol, however diners are welcome to bring their own and serve themselves.) The food here is from the Punjab region. We ordered paneer tikka, a vegetarian kahari dish with eggplant, chick peas, and lentils, and tandoori roti to share. Jonathan also ordered mutton tikka, kahari chicken, and a meat samosa. (I learned from Wikipedia that Kahari is a circular cooking pot from India and Pakistan that is similar to a wok. These dishes were served in this type of cooking dish.)

Our food began arriving almost immediately. First we were served popadams. Then we got the samosa, tikka dishes, and roti. The kahari dishes were soon to follow. The food was amazing – without question the best Indian / Pakistani food I have had in any restaurant anywhere. The flavors were amazing and the level of spiciness was perfect. Jonathan and I both agreed our favorite dish was the kahari dish with eggplant, chickpeas, and lentils.

Then for dessert Jonathan went over to the pastry case and selected two sweets. The first was pink with cream and made from milk. It was sweet and had a coconut flavor. The second was made from ground lentils. It had a smooth texture and was similar to orange marzipan only much better with added flavors of spices.

So far this has been my favorite meal in London and I definitely want to return to Tayyab before we fly back home. I wish there was a restaurant like this in Washington DC – or anywhere in the US!

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