Address: 2-10 Umberston St, Whitechapel, London E1 1PY
Alcohol Policy: BYOB
Summary: Great value, large and lively. Complete with BYOB and TV Screens showing live sport this is one for large groups and a great alternative to Tayyabs
Lahore Kebab House
Another curry with the old work crew, but this time we headed east rather than north.
After grumblings about the standard of previous outings, Jack was tasked with putting his money where his mouth is and find us somewhere up to his lofty standards. He chose Lahore Kebab House in Whitechapel, moving us away from our usual stomping grounds.
Before we tested these new waters, we went to whet our whistle in the Hoop and Grapes, Aldgate. I say we, but Sean ended up in the pub of the same name in Farringdon. Idiot.
Unfortunately for him, he missed out on experiencing one of London's oldest pubs, a survivor of the The Great Fire of London with leaning wooden timber frames. Lovely stuff.
Once our wayward friend finally arrived, we meandered to the restaurant.
Lahore Kebab House isn't situated in the most glamorous surround with Commercial Road in Whitechapel hardly providing the most picturesque route to curry redemption. However, one sight that can't be missed is the bold red writing, atop Lahore Kebab House's frosted glass frontage.
A step inside reveals an expansive operation, with a large dining hall big enough for a substantial number of patrons. Brown, functional furniture and plain white walls epitomise the generally unflashy interior, but TV screens and sport memorabilia lining the walls speak to a more lively atmosphere. Indeed, by the end of the night things were getting quite rowdy as a large group of city boy 'lads' were taking advantage of the BYOB policy. We did the same, and the alcohol consumption almost led to Spellins getting his third strike after an unnecessarily loud reaction to the Arsenal game being shown live around the room. I'm an Arsenal fan too, but have some decorum please! In fact a couple of old boys to our left gave him some stick about Wenger for his outburst which was much appreciated by the rest of us. Even more impressive was their consumption of a whole bottle of Talisker Skye whisky in about an hour. Incredible scenes.
Definitely one for a big group meal than a dinner date, Lahore Kebab House won't be winning any style awards, but the live football gives it a bonus point for Venue - 7/10.
Starters and sides
1 Poppadom each
2 Chicken legs
2 Grilled lamb chops (5 piece each)
2 Pilau rice
1 Garlic naan
As the name suggests, the kebabs here are a major draw...actually it's not the kebabs but the lamb chops. Regardless, we had to give them a go. Fortunately, they didn't disappoint. The meat didn't fall off the bone, but was juicy and beautifully seasoned with fresh herbs and a decent kick.
The chicken legs weren't quite as fresh and were drier as a result. In fact, these were quite average as was the garlic naan. Conversely, the peshwari was understatedly good, coming out piping hot and retaining both it's heat and buttery coconut flavour throughout.
As for the poppadoms they were pretty fresh, with an oily finish to prove it. Jack had a bit of a moment with his, sharing with us the euphoric experience he gets from eating them. Maybe an early attempt to justify his choice of venue, but nevertheless slightly odd.
Let down a little by the chicken it's still a solid 7 for Starters and Sides.
1 Butter chicken
1 Karahi gosht
1 Methi gosht
We went for three curries between five which proved ample as they were served in decent, karahi sized portions.
The butter chicken was chosen to appease Wakey's sensitivity to spice, but proved the best of the bunch, with lovely tender chicken and creamy, cumin and coriander flavours.
The lamb dishes were less forgiving, drawing out a solid sweat on poor Wakey's brow, despite not being that hot. The methi was the better of the two, it's bitter fenugreek flavours setting it apart from the karahi. However, both were full of flavour.
All three curries were oily, but for me that's usually a good sign. Yes, it means they're probably reheated, but also that they're more authentic and flavoursome, the less clean-cut presentation indicative of this.
Service was a bit of a mixed bag. Our waiter was lightning fast to supply a corkscrew at the start and contributed some welcome banter about the football, but was very slow in clearing away our dirty dishes at the end of the night. Indeed, the order of the day was speed over style, quick over quality. This was exemplified by our chops coming out very early, but a few shy of a portion. Luckily we got another whole plate for free, but that had its own drawbacks as most of the crockery looked like it had been cleaned in a hurry. Perhaps a more relaxed attitude to getting the food out would give them more time to get the dishes done properly! All in all it's a 6/10 for Service.
Value for money
With the BYOB, value was on the cards from the outset and in the end the bill came to £85.75. Nothing extra was added for corkage so between six this came to a Lahore-vely low figure of under £15 each before service. With empty plates and satisfied stomachs and live football thrown into mix its a solid 8 for Value.
Well, it has to be said that, poppadom fetishes aside, Jack played a good hand. And while Wakey, who loves a milder curry in a more refined establishment, wasn't that impressed, the rest of the team were pretty happy. Arsenal winning 4-1 was just the icing on the cake of a great night of good value, curry fun. Wakey is also a Spurs fan, so this wouldn't have helped his enjoyment!
In total it's a respectable 35/50 for Lahore Kebab House.