Review: Tayyabs (London)

We recently spent a long weekend in London. Now I quite like London & have been quite a few times & on this trip, my plan was to go to a lot of the foodie places I’ve heard of but never been to. Needless to say, it didn’t quite happen that way! However, I did get to go to a few amazing restaurants that naturally I want to share with you all. This was meant to be a post summarising those places but I have too much to say so I’m splitting it into 3 posts – enjoy!

My previous trip to London last year, I was introduced to the indian restaurant Tayyabs in Whitechapel. Tayyabs is a bit of an institution when it comes to Indian restaurants & I’ve seen Gizzi Erskine rave about their takeaway on instagram. When you enter the restaurant, there’s people everywhere. Literally, there’s queues of people – one queue for people who have a reservation & another for people who have turned up trying to get a table. We had a reservation as I remembered my previous visit at 8pm on a Friday night & the place was rammed full despite having 3 floors!

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The menu itself isn’t fancy or containing numerous dishes, just a select number of starters & mains. No matter where you sit, you will always be passed by waiters carrying dishes of sizzling grills or curry that smell amazing. As soon as you are seated, a selection of dips, salad & poppadoms are placed for you to munch on whilst picking from the menu. One point I should also mention is that it’s BYOB here, with no corkage charge. Yes that’s right, no extra £5 a bottle for the priviledge of drinking what you want. Bet you don’t find that in many places in London!

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We opted for 2 starters to share: masala fish & chicken tikka. Both dishes are shown on the menu as 2 pieces but are 2 pieces for a reason as they are quite large! The chicken tikka was on the bone thigh & leg which meant getting your hands dirty! The meat itself was so tender as it seemed like it had just been cooked & no more. The masala fish was just as soft, flaking away as we tried to take a piece each from the griddle. The masala fish went really well with the mango chutney that was on the table, the sweetness mixing well with the masala spices.

As Tayyabs is such a busy restaurant, the dishes arrive as soon as they are ready. This meant that whilst we were still eating our starters, our mains arrived. I don’t have an issue with this but it does mean that towards the end of the meal, the mains can be a bit cold.

curry

We again shared our mains: keema curry (spicy lamb mince) & dry meat. The only way to describe dry meat is tandoori beef with light marinade/sauce covering it with peppers & onions. It doesn’t sound like much I know but it is so moreish! The beef is lean, fragrant & not heavy like regular indian dishes. I also prefered the keema here to other places I have had it as it was not overpowered with any additions like lemon juice. It was just straight up spicy lamb mince. Although I was edging on full, I was determined to finish my meal as the dry meat was that tasty!

sides

Despite how busy Tayyabs is, we didn’t feel rushed at all during our meal, even when the mains were brought out whilst still munching our starters. I should probably mention the price – for our meal, along with a roti & a portion of pilau rice, it came to just over £30 for the lot!! If you love Indian food & are paying London a visit, not popping into Tayyabs for some food would just be wrong!

Get Stuffed Chronicles – Bringing the Bake Back

As the title suggests, I’ve found my baking bug again. Last year, I did several fairs which involved spending 1 full day & at least 3 nights a week baking. I think it was a bit of overkill for me as 50% of the time, the fairs were quiet & it was quite disheartening given the amount of effort I put in. Since Christmas I haven’t really done much baking so decided to sort that out the other week.

Since Easter is around the corner, I decided for Mother’s day to bake a couple of seasonal goodies. I’ve always fancied trying hot cross buns, even though I’m not a big fan myself. I did not realise how long they took to make! Honestly, they require more proving than your average loaf!! However, after a labour of love, I produced my first ever batch of hot cross buns that I was very pleased with. I think longer proving would have improved the size of them but they were scoffed down by family which is always a good sign.

My sister had given me the idea of making mini egg brownies as I already make creme egg brownies. Mini eggs are pretty much the only Cadbury’s product I love so it was a no brainer! Of course the baking gremlins had to ruin this idea! I used my go to brownie recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery (if you’re ever in London, pay them a visit!) but with my focus being too much on the hot cross buns, I didn’t put my oven to the right temperature. This meant a batch of what looked like cooked brownies but they were all gooey & underbaked inside. That said, my husband & sister still ate some as they were still nice & chocolately if not the right consistency.

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This sunday I also tried a couple of experimental bakes with double choc m&m cookies & protein brownie. I was so pleased with the cookies & will be posting the recipe shortly. I’m on a weight loss journey at the moment (I won’t bore you with details) so decided that the recipe for protein brownies from Mike Samuels of Healthy Living, Heavy Lifting sounded worth a shot. For me, since I’m used to making “real” brownies, the consistency of these was too weird. It was a sponge-like texture & tasted a bit strange. That said, once mixed with a bit of agave syrup, greek yoghurt & berries, it was perfectly edible. Further experimentation is required for this one…

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It’s not all been about the bakes in the world of Get Stuffed! I actually have eaten at 2 restaurants I’ve not been to before – Butchershop & Ichiban. However, on both occasions I was not in blogger mode so did not take any pictures of my meals to share. Shock horror I know! Sometimes it’s not all about the food but about the company & having a good meal with friends, which both of these occasions were so it completely slipped my mind to take pictures.

For dinners recently, I have been really impressed with the quality of the dishes I’ve made using some BBC Good Food Recipes. I got a subscription to the magazine as a Christmas present & have been hooked ever since. The bonus is that a lot of the recipes are on the website too for ease instead of digging out old copies of magazines! Recently I’ve made Chicken Cacciatore, Dan Dan Turkey Noodles, Soused cabbage & Vietnamese Caramelised Trout. My favourite being the Chicken Cacciatore as it was so full of flavour, just like a dish from an Italian restaurant & so easy to make! (PS follow me on instagram @getstuffedbakes to see regular foodie photos)

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Carrying on from the last time, here’s some foodie news & openings:

  • Gesso Lounge – a new coffee bar at Charing Cross
  • Chop Chop – Edinburgh’s well known authentic Chinese restaurant has opened a restaurant in Mitchell St
  • Nonna Gina’s – an Italian restaurant & bar opening in The Avenue in Newton Mearns, 26th March
  • Nic’s NYC Deli – They have converted the crepe a croissant on Byres Rd into another Nic’s. But fear not crepe lovers as this branch will also be serving some crepes.

Product Review – Spice Kitchen

Spice Kitchen are a online company specialising in homegrown spice mixes. They recently sent out a request for bloggers to review their spices, which I put my hand up for.

I received a parcel from them containing a selection of their spice mixes. Before I even opened the package, there was a really strong aromatic smell coming from the package. This indicated to me that the spices used by Spice Kitchen must be of a high quality as you normally can never smell anything until you’ve opened the packet or jar!

Spice Kitchen sent me 8 of their spice mixes in small resealable pouches. The mixes I received were:

  • Mexican
  • Jerk
  • Garam Masala
  • Ras El Hanout
  • Chinese 5 Spice
  • Baharat
  • Panch Phoron
  • Sri Lankan Curry

I’ll admit some of these I had never came across such as Baharat & Panch Phoron but that just made me excited to try out something new! Once I’d had a good sniff of the mixes, I put my thinking cap on to figure out what I could make with a few of these mixes.

I opted for Jamaican Jerk Chicken made with the Jerk seasoning. In my recipe for the Jerk chicken, I opted to be conservative & use 2 teaspoons of the Jerk seasoning for the marinade. In my opinion, this was enough to get the nice smoky flavour associated with Jerk cooking. The seasoning is also not relatively spicy which makes it family friendly with the option to add more spice (like I did) if you desire.

The Panch Phoron, which is like an Indian 5 spice blend, I’ll admit I was unsure what I could use it with as I always use garam masala for curries. After a quick search, I came across a few ideas for bombay potatoes which went well with my idea for a “fakeaway” Saturday night feast. When sprinkling the spice mix over the potatoes, I honestly wished I was able to capture the smell for you as it was so aromatic & as strange as this may sound, smells exactly like what you would expect from Indian food. The potatoes were a hit! You can find the recipe here.

As a keen cook, I would definitely recommend the Spice Kitchen boxes as a unique gift for someone who likes to experiment in the kitchen. They provide sets of the spices in small pouches similar to the picture above that I received or if you’re looking for a more refined gift, they also provide cute wooden boxes with small jars of the spice mixes. And as I noticed when I was writing this they also have recipes if you’re stuck for ideas!

Disclaimer: Spice Kitchen provided the spice mixes for free & the review, suggestions & recipes as of my own accord with no outside influence.