Tayyabs

Bronze Award
35 Reviews
££££
Halal, Indian

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Bronze Award

Standing in line at venerable Tayyabs, it’s impossible not to wonder if it’s all worth it. But, once the queuing is over (factor in an hour), you’ll soon forget the hassle as the sound, smell and (finally) the taste of those sizzling hot tandoori lamb chops assails you. Since this “manic” family-run canteen started life on its east London backstreet in 1972, it’s been gussied-up just a little (the new bronze chairs and latticed screens actually look pretty smart), but it remains one of London’s favourite low-budget eateries, as popular with families and students as it is with rowdy City parties and mates on the town. Of course, you must have the lamp chops, but don’t overlook the biryani specials, “amazing” pumpkin curry and the better-than-it-sounds ‘dry meat’. Tayyabs is BYO, so choose something spice-friendly to go with your nosh. “Quick service” is exactly what’s required too.

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Good to know about Tayyabs

Average Price
££££ - Under £30
Cuisines
Halal, Indian
Ambience
Cool, Fun
Food Occasions
Byob
People
Group dining [8+]

Location for Tayyabs

83-89 Fieldgate Street, London, E1 1JU

020 7247 9543

Website

Opening Times of Tayyabs

Mon-Sun 12N-11.30pm

Reviews of Tayyabs

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35 Reviews 
Food/Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

Mr. Alex G

Old school rules
13 February 2019  

Any restaurant that not only opened in 1972 but has expanded its premises since then must clearly be doing something right. That there are often customers queuing (an hour’s wait is apparently not abnormal) is further testament to Tayyabs. Based on our recent week night visit – which fortuitously did not involve any queuing – the reason is very apparent. It has nothing to do with the insalubrious venue/ décor, and everything to do with the food: which was top-quality and delivered at compelling prices. My comrade and I dined at Tayyabs for ~£20/head and came away highly contented. The culinary angle is Punjabi cooking, where lamb is the main meat under consideration and the emphasis is on either grilling or slow-cooking it. The restaurant’s lamb chops (priced at 4 for £7.95) have assumed an almost legendary status in some culinary circles and I was informed that no meal at Tayyabs was complete without sampling said dish. They lived up to the promise, delivered to us dark and sizzling, spicy and smoky to taste with a comforting chewiness. Combined with tender chicken tikka pieces and a pleasingly sweet seekh kebab, the starter selection would have been enough for many. Nonetheless, we resolutely pushed on to mains. Diners get to choose from around a dozen meat and a further dozen vegetarian options as well as a range of specialities including a novel daily dish. I went for the latter, as much as anything since I had never sampled curried quail (pictured) before. The meat was wonderfully tender and melded seamlessly into the chilli-infused sauce. A thumbs up too from the chicken and spinach main selected by my comrade. The tables are cramped, service is performed without much love and the venue can get very noisy, but none of this matters when the cooking is this good. There is no alcohol licence at Tayyabs so there is the added bonus on being able to bring your own booze: a sure-fire method for improving the evening.

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Anon

Disgraceful Service! Aggressive and hostile treatment from senior management
20 November 2016  
I have been to Tayyabs several times in the past. It's cheap, BYOB, and the food is decent. However, my issue is with the staff, in particular the manager. It was my girlfriend's birthday and I had purchased a personalised cake and bought it to the restaurant shortly before she arrived, with clear instructions on when to bring it out. There is a £10 charge for them to bring the cake out. This is pretty steep, but what the hell; she'd love the surprise. So here goes.. We finish our meals, my friend goes over and asks them to start preparing the cake. A waiter then comes over, clears our table, and starts setting out small plates with spoons...surprise over. One of the waiter then walks over and brashly announces to the whole table "where is the cake?", at this point I am appalled. My friend goes over to speak to the main desk and they give him the cake in the box it came in. He explains, they are charging us to present the cake, after which the rudely agree. Then they come back to the table and ask for candles. I give them candles. 10 minutes later, surprise completely over, they bring the cake. Then the bill comes with the £10 charge. I tell them I'd like this to be removed because of the hassle that was involved and fact they spoilt the surprise. The waiter says no, calls over a more senior manager. This guy also says no, all very rudely and aggressively. He then calls over the general manager. I reasonably state why I don't think this charge should be added, all things considered. The general manager, in a very hostile manner, out right refuses, with no explanation, attempt to discuss the point, just shouts that I have to pay the bill, "or else" as he aggressively put it. I continued to debate the issue, after seeing these are completely unreasonable people I begrudgingly had to pay the charge, life is too short. For a restaurant that features in Time Out, had a table bill of over £100 and had ruined a very simple request, they had the audacity to still charge £10 for bringing our own cake. I am most frustrated by the aggressive, disrespectful and outright nasty behaviour of the manager. This is an absolute disgrace and there should be consequences to treating human beings this way, let alone paying customers. There are much nice restaurants close by that offer BYOB and great food. I'd urge decent people to avoid Tayyabs and go to one of the other alternatives. This kind of behaviour should not be allowed to slide.
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Ms/Mrs. Zoe W

17 April 2014  
Can't say more than the whole experience was horrendous. The queue for a table is exceptionally long and the manager will just seat his ‘special’ guests when they just walk in making ya wait even longer in line. We sat behind a table of ten young city banker guys who where all making themselves sick at the table on purpose and the staff refused to do anything! We left and the guys where still allowed to throw up at their table! Food was tough and chewy and the chicken, and jamb all tasted the same. It is like bring in a school canteen with people pushing and shoving and not a great experience at all. First and mart times will ever eat there! How can they slow people yo throw up and kept them still be in the restaurant with people eating all around them!
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The worst indian restaurant ever
16 February 2014  
Dirty, crowdy, noisy. Moreover, even if you booked a table you need to wait at least 30mn before being seated and 1h more before being served. TO AVOID!!!
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Ms/Mrs. Monika S

Best Pakistani bites
27 August 2013  
Tayyabs is a quick-eat, casual Pakistani restaurant and can be found a stones throw from the Royal London hospital in Whitechapel (near Shoreditch, worth venturing to). This is not the place for lounging around over a curry and the decor is a little brash. Also, prepare to queue unless you go at odd hours eg 5pm or earlier and fill your boots with some of the best and freshest Pakistani food in London at exceptionally reasonable prices. Once in, order hot, buttery, fluffy naans, anything from the sizzling grill (Tandoori chicken and lamb chops are a must for carnivores), daal begum (spicy mini aubergines and daal) and spicy keema are the highlights. The hot sauce with the poppadums should be marketed on its own, it's that good. You can bring your own alcohol or slurp on chilli-quenching mango lassis. A Brucie bonus is that they offer a takeaway service (collection only).
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Mr. Pankaj P

Nice one
19 April 2013  
will visit again for dinner.
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Mr. Farooq S

Rude waiters, awful food, terrible experience, waste of money and time
01 April 2013  
Visited with the family last night. Staff was unwelcoming and rude. Food was below average. Very noisy place. Would never go back again and would not recommend to anyone.
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Mr. Jonny G

30 September 2012  
Tayyabs has an almost mythical status in London. “Should have gone to Tayyabs” is a well-known refrain to people who make the frequent mistake of having a curry on Brick Lane. I always do it when slightly worse for wear out east on a weekend. I stumble from "London's best curry house 2008? to “London's best curry house 2009”, entering full of promise and cumin-inspired excitement and leaving wondering if Craig Charles awarded the restaurants their dubious titles. Tayyabs is different to most Indian restaurants. For a start, it's got an android app when most curry houses opt for about 3 phone numbers instead. More importantly, it's Pakistani, specifically Punjabi. Pakistan is much like Britain in the way it has developed its cuisine, borrowing from other nations to create their own fusions and ideas. Although the menu may not look that different from your local takeaway, the differences are mostly tucked away in the kitchen and subtly into the food. Having said that, you're unlikely to order lamb chops to start at most curry houses, as we did at Tayyabs. Apparently it's their signature dish, and it certainly sizzles cockily on the hotplate. But they were the Victoria Beckhams of lamb chops – nicely spiced but possibly anaemic. Two per person was definitely not enough; four might have just been an appetiser; and perhaps ten would make a main. It left my companion and me fighting over the poppadoms like dogs as we waited slightly too long for our mains. Given this wait, perhaps it the best time to air my greatest gripe with Tayyabs – it's size. I like my curry houses small, intimate and usually on the verge of closure. I want the waiters to be delighted to see me, I want to dine almost alone and have them hover awkwardly just to the side because there is no one else to wait on. That's how I dine in north London. But Tayyabs is massive and heaving with customers. It feels a bit like a slightly shitty City bar, with tacky decor, harsh lighting and a lot of men in suits with gelled hair. In a similar vein, it also felt like a meat factory. The high turnover means the queue constantly moves, giving the impression of the diners being on a conveyor belt. You sit down, get fed and go out with the steady stream of other former-diners. The impersonal feel of this is exacerbated by the fact that it's so loud you can hardly hear yourself think, and this means the waiters have given up trying to talk. Instead, they mutely point at tables, mouth instructions at you and, more often than not, ignore your wildly waving arms and very British attempts at catching their eye. After all, we are only wallets on conveyor belts. Luckily for them, the chefs in the open kitchens do seem to know what they are doing, even if the food suffers from being cooked in such high volume. My korahi chicken – a Pakistani dish cooked in great big saucepans from which it gets the dish takes name – was excellent. It differs from a north Indian curry because the meat is cooked in spices, and the sauce is added right at the end. This gives the meat much more texture and the slightly burnt spices really shine through. The addition of crispy onions to the top was a simple but clever addition for a nice dish. Sadly the Wednesday special, a Mughlai Korma, was overcooked. The description, rather blandly, said the “rich sauce generously covers succulent pieces of meat”. I have two problems with this statement. First, if the best thing you can say about a dish is that there is enough sauce, the dish is on its way to disaster. Second, it came with virtually no sauce at all. It had been cooked dry and the main texture was oil and, although it was flavourful, some of the lamb was very tough indeed. I only really ordered this dish out of morbid curiosity at the terrible descriptor, and in a desperate attempt to make my dining experience in any way unique from the hundreds of other diners. After this error, we decided not to cave in to curiosity again with the puddings, deliciously misspelt as “deserts”. We paid our extraordinarily low bill (kudos where it's due), which also kept the tip mercifully low, and squeezed our way past the salivating queues of people. I have to say I was left wondering what all the fuss was about. There can't be many curry houses serving such unique curries, or indeed such a wide range, but the food wasn't actually that good, nor was the restaurant itself, and the staff certainly weren't. If you're stuck in Whitechapel and need a meal, you could do considerably worse (you could go to Brick Lane for starters), but as I waved goodbye to one of my dearest friends, who was disappearing abroad for a month, I couldn't help but think: “Shouldn't have gone to Tayyabs”.
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Mr. Pri N

02 June 2012  
I'm sorry but I've been 2 times now. Never again! The first time I went it was dreadful. The food does not depict good quality asian/indian food. The waiters are very rude. They seat you with instantly forcing poppadoms on you without having asked them for them. I ordered some curry dishes with naans on this visit. They were smuthered in vast amounts of ghee. Which is very bad for our health and distastes the dish itself. It was flavorless, lacking the spices that you'd expect. The never ending smoke of grills practically intoxicates you causing it difficult to breathe. To add to this so call experience and food whilst your eating the waiters anxiously stand by to take plates away from you that you'd be eating out of. How rude!!! I hadn't even finished my meal yet. They once seated practically want to push you out only to get someone else seated. I went away and hat severe stomach aches for the following day. A very disappointing experience considering the hype. I'm not even being harsh. As a year a so went by, still had friends saying how good it is but instead they were all specifying the grills that were so nice. So being open to the fact that things can change for the better. Id promised myself to try the grill at some point and not to be over judgmental on one visit. I went again today, not as busy as usual. Loud to say the least, which is down to its location. I went in. Had to wait for a table as usual. Rude waiters pushing by. Nothing new there. Finally we were seated. I thought lets go for the grills. Chops seemed very popular as did chicken tikka and paneer starters. So i ordered them as well as a few samosas as that was my safety bet. If all else failed. The food finally came. Truthfully it was tasteless. The lot of it. My partner thought the exact same. Seriously below even average. The samosas I couldn't get by more than a bite as they were that bad. Flavorless and just stuffed with a not so nice potato filling. The mint sauce was just water like. As before i was eating whilst one of my food plates was just taken with food on it without having asked and whilst I was still eating. SOOO RUDE and discourteous. Then to top it off the couple next to us went only to be seated by some that were waiting. The guy slid by knocking one of our food plates off the table with his rucksack. One of the waiters apologized to them and eventually cleaned it up. Not a word was said to us, no food was replaced. It was like we never existed. As they were too bothered about bringing the usual poppadoms out to the neighboring couple. I tell you I've been to very many places to eat in London ranging from normal daily quick business lunch and dinner type meals to very fine dinning. This restaurant has to be by far one of the worst managed restaurant and more importantly the worse type of Indian/Pakistani food it claims to produce. I gave them the benefit of the doubt and tried it again but the experience has put me off for good. I would not recommend this restaurant to someone who wants to try authentic good reasonably priced indian/pakistani food. Avoid it if you can. It is a waste of money!! The owners are only bothered about the money. Not the food or customers.
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Ms/Mrs. Lucy W

09 March 2012  
I went to Tayyabs, as my office is around the corner. We started up a ‘curry club’ where we would sample a different Indian restaurant once a month. Tayyabs was up first and it was awful, I couldn't stand it. I heard it was outstanding and the food was amazing… When I arrived we were left waiting in the gangways until we could be seated, people constantly pushing passed us. We all nearly left… Finally when we sat down, we had to wait an age for menu's, which were manky looking. Excuse me for being ignorant and English but the dishes offered on the menu – I had no clue what they were, as I am used to the usually offerings of Korma, Vindaloo etc. When I asked a waiter to explain what some of the dishes were I was told ‘comes in tomato sauce’ Oh yum! not. The mixed grill was ok… It was just grilled meats… I tasted a few of the different dishes we all ordered and they all looked the same… Kind of tasted the same too. I have no idea why people rave about this place, it looked dirty and over crowded, the food is nothing to write home about it, the waiters have no time for you and as others have stated you are most definitely rushed out of your seats.
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