Address: 169-171 Mitcham Rd, Tooting, London SW17 9PG
Alcohol Policy: BYOB
Summary: Was my favourite in Tooting until it closed - an absolute tragedy!
When we heard that Manchester United and Wales footballing legend, Ryan Giggs had opened up a restaurant in Tooting, called Ryan’s we thought it must be a lie.
When instead we heard that, rather than being a gastronomic venture by an ex-professional sportsman, Rayyan’s was a spin off from the guys behind Mirch Masala, the truth could not have been more welcome.
Then, when we heard that Rayyan’s is BYO we just had to get down there and check it out.
We were joined again by Liam who, for his third outing with us, gets… absolutely nothing.
Here’s what we thought.
This is another relatively new restaurant that has cropped up along Mitcham Road, away from the livelier High Road. Whilst this area of Tooting doesn’t traditionally draw the curry crowd, Rayyan’s may soon buck the trend. By their own bold claim they are ‘Pioneers of karahi’, a tag which not only suits their borderline location, but also the fresh look and feel of the restaurant.
Space is often at a premium in local curry houses, but at Rayyan’s tasteful uplighting and contemporary art brighten white walls and give the restaurant a light and airy feel. Whilst the low number of diners may have helped build this illusion there was certainly a more relaxed vibe, almost Mediterranean villa-esque. The brown leather furniture is also a bit more upmarket from the standard IKEA cheap seats found elsewhere and tasteful Indian pop adds a touch of authenticity.
All in all, a very pleasant addition to the scene and it even has its own TV advert (see Rayyan’s Facebook page) which deserves recognition. 8/10.
Starters and sides
Tandori mixed grill
Two pilau rice
The popadoms to start with were average, but the accompanying salad was atypically fresh and a sign of better things to come. This came in the form of a deliciously juicy tandoori mixed grill which, as fate would have it, had three of each item; one kebab, chicken tikka, lamb tikka and lamb chop for each of us.
Tom then went naan mad (once again) and ordered a garlic, a kulcha and a peshwari naan to go with two pilau rice in some sort of carb loading frenzy. The garlic was slightly over done and all three weren’t as fluffy and light as can be found elsewhere. Unsurprisingly, whilst decent, the volume defeated us in the end, but this isn’t factored into the score of 7 out of 10, driven up by the succulent mixed grill.
Shank Murg Chana
Afghan Karahi Lamb
We followed a recommendation on the Afghan Karahi lamb and it didn’t disappoint. Whilst not as sizeable as Namak Mandi’s offering the flavours did match and a bite into the on-the-bone pieces revealed an irresistibly pink and tender centre.
The Shahi Murgh Chana was chosen on name alone and despite this relatively fancy label, this lentil based dish was rather non-descript. However, the Karahi Fish was out of this world. The fish almost melted into the curry on your fork creating a taste sensation, one of the best curries we've had; no visit should exclude it.
The guys here were friendly and very attentive. It may have been driven by a sparse Tuesday night crowd and our lingering presence, but they continually asked us if everything was ok. A vainer man might think it was due to our growing local celebrity, but I’m sure the reality was that they just wanted us to hurry up and leave. However, they did invite us to stick around just a little while longer with free kulfi – a nice touch that was greatly appreciated and which increases our service rating. 8/10.
Value For Money
At £48 for three, this isn’t the cheapest venue, but we did over do the naan order and £16 each for the feast we had was more than fair. Plus, when you throw in the free ice cream and BYO this is certainly good value. 7/10.
Overall, this slightly more premium offering from the guys behind Mirch Masala ticks all our boxes and has made us think twice about sticking to the well-trodden path of Tooting High Street. The curries may look a pound or two more and you can find better naans, but the contemporary surrounds and option to bring your own alcohol make this a place well worth adding to any Tooting curry fan’s hit list. This sentiment is reflected in our overall score of 38/50 placing Rayyan’s firmly in the Champions League spots of our leaderboard, something Giggsy himself would envy right now.