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.

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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!

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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!

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Foodie Bucketlist

There’s been a lot of chat this week in the foodie world about bucketlists with the Herald’s article of 15 Scottish foodie adventures & fellow foodie blogger Foodie Quine discussing Scottish foodie adventures on this week’s the BBC’s Kitchen Cafe. Needless to say, it’s got me thinking about my foodie bucketlist & experiences that I would like to have.

I’ve been fortunate to experience some of my foodie dreams already such as:

  • Eating chinese street food with the locals in Hong Kong
  • Wolfing down some Pad Thai at a Bangkok market
  • Dining in an authentic Spanish restaurant with a mountain of paella for our main
  • Al dente pasta under the stars in Rome
  • An evening of bowling & food in a retro bowling alley in Brooklyn

Taking inspiration from blogger Glasgow Mummy, a few months ago I created a 30 by 30 bucketlist of items I wanted to achieve before I turn 30 in a few years time (no sharing of what’s on that list here I’m afraid!). There are some foodies items on there that I’ve included here but I’ve now ended up with a whole other bucketlist, both of which will definitely keep me busy (and poor) for the foreseeable!!

Fish & Chips in Anstruther

Sometimes there’s nothing more wonderful than walking along the seafront, with the sun shining down, gulls overhead munching a bags of chips! Ok, ok this may be a bit idealistic of me as the sun shining down often only happens on a cold winter’s day. The Anstruther Fish Bar has won several awards of the years for their produce & it’s a no brainer that if you’re looking for a decent portion of fish & chips, this is the place to go.

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Have a picnic

I remember during my childhood going on family days out to Millport or a park & we would take along some rolls & crisps for our lunch. However, I’ve never had a proper picnic, the type were you have little plates, plastic glasses & lots of wee nibbles. Probably another idealistic foodie dream of mine but it’s one I’m hoping to achieve this year on one of Scotland’s gorgeous beaches or country parks.

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Dine in Duck & Waffle at a ridiculous hour of the day

I’m a big an of Saturday Kitchen & Daniely Doherty, executive chef of the Duck & Waffle was a guest, discussing the concept of the restaurant. The Duck & Waffle is located on the 40th floor of a skyscraper in London, focussing on serving local & seasonal produce in a sharing manner, they are open 24/7. Being open all day, every day, there are obviously a story or 2 to be had about the restaurant (so much so they’ve even released a book) & the whole concept just sounded so cool, I instantly wanted to go. Another bucketlist item I’m hoping to achieve this year!

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Dine & Stay Overnight in Gidleigh Park

Gidleigh Park in Devon is a country house that is the home to the wonderful Michael Caines. Being one of my favourite chefs, I would absolutely love to have an overnight stay here & experience the tasting menu on offer. As it’s a five star hotel, I better get saving!

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Learn how to make consistently good bread

I’ve dabbled a bit in bread making but it’s always a bit hit & miss, especially why I tried a sourdough starter. It’s obvious that I need to attend a real bread making course such as Richard Bertinet’s to get the advice & experience I need to get bread just right.

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Take part in an eating challenge

As with a lot of people, when Man vs Food hit the UK screens, I was hooked! His journey of travelling around America eating ridiculously sized portions was fascinating. I am a big spice fan & have those days where I can just eat for Britain so I think I’d be able to tackle some form of challenge that combines both. With more & more eating challenges popping up, I’m sure I’ll be able to find the perfect one soon.

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Drink a pint of Guinness at the Guinness factory

A pretty generic one I know but Guinness is one of the few beers/stouts that I like. Plus it’s an excuse to finally visit Ireland!

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Eat Real Mexican food 

If you haven’t already seen from previous posts, Mexican food is in my top 3 & I honestly cannot eat enough of it. Add on the fact that I have several Mexican Dia De Los Muertos tattoos (including a sleeve in progress), a trip to Mexico is definitely on the cards. I’ve also heard a lot of people who have either been to Mexico or are from America state that the Mexican food on offer in the UK is not a patch on the real mccoy – another excuse to head over!

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Go Foraging

I toyed with the idea of foraging last year as we were gifted a sloe gin kit for our wedding by friends but have not put it to use yet. However, I have no idea how to go about it or where to go. I mean, do people really just go for a wander & pick what they see?! It’s something I think would be worthwhile doing, especially for speciality foods like wild garlic & sloes when they are in season.

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Eat an insect

This might seem a bit of an absurd bucketlist item but insects are a massive deal with millions, if not billions, of people eating them as part of their daily diet. When we went to Thailand & Hong Kong, I thought I would be greeted with lots of street food stalls laden with insects. Sadly, that was not the case so my hunt for trying authentic insect dishes goes on!

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I’d be intrigued to find out what’s on your foodie wishlist?