Punjabi VC

Lamb Aloo at Tayyabs 83-89 Fieldgate Street, East London.

AB: I was in London town and searching for a vibrant meal. There was no way I was gonna spend these many pounds and not pack any to show for it. I was directed to Tayyabs, a punjabi outpost in the East Section of London, where the ques are allegedly long and the businessmen who lunch there are especially post colonial. And it was with some mild trepidation that I went to Tayyabs, wondering if this merging of cultures, of past and of present, of taste palettes would fit. I mean, up to this point, I had witnessed and experienced for myself how starved Londoners are for decent food stuff. Upon entering Tayyabs, I was greeted by a cavalry of coiffed and uniformed waiters. I at first expected them to break out into some Bollywood choreography but that thought quickly went away as I was brusquely directed to a table and made to order. To start with I ordered samosas, vegetarian and meat that were as light, crispy, and little as can be. This was not your large potato stuffed fried dumpling that you might get in the States. The samosa was an almost elegant snack that livened the palette with subtle spicing and high notes of ginger. The chutney condiments, tamarind and mint, and mango, I could lap up like McDonalds barbeque sauce.

Light and airy samosas with a trio of dipping sauces or Chutneys

Masala Fish roasted in a Tandoor Oven was just amazing.

Next came the Masala Fish, a tandoor roasted white fish. Having had this preparation performed on other meat, mainly chicken, I came to know what to expect; a red coated crispy on the outside, moist on the inside meat. When the fish came sizzling to the table, it looked like any block of tandoori chicken I had ever had. When I broke into though, it was like eating something that was so excitingly delicious, a sweet fleshy inside with subtle hints of the sea and the crisped up crunchy skin created by the tandoor oven made for an exhilarating combination that I wolfed down as quickly as I could. Eating Masala fish is something you might want to do quickly though as the fish begins to cool down, the exterior crispness turns to something like a toothsome cardboard, which if you are old school, only adds to the other worldliness of the dish. I wound of swping the fish through the chutneys to soften it up, which only enhanced how good it tasted.  Last came a Lamb Aloo with Pilau rice. The Aloo, a meat and potato curry stew, was lemony and nutty, and  hit you with just enough heat to keep you palette awake. Halfway through the aloo, I found myself overwhelmed. Had I ordered too much? This is like gorging on your first meal after having not eaten in so long; that or staying in London for five days. Indeed I had everything that was unfinished at Tayyabs, packed to take away as the English say, as I was indeed overwhelmed with the whole experience. I would also be later overwhelmed but in a completely different way, when I got home…

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