Copyright of Tayyabs. Sourced from www.tayyabs.co.uk
Cuisine: Indian (Punjabi)
Price: Cheap/Moderate (2 courses approx. £15/person; however small mains are generously sized and starters are not required)
Rating: 3 (out of 5)
The famous (in London) Tayyabs has been one of my curry mainstays for a few years now. But, it has been a while. The opportunity presented itself recently so I jumped at the chance. However, expectations can be a bitch and my memories of this place differed from my recent experience. There were issues with timing, the general state of cleanliness and the service received.
The whole place seems to be covered in a film of grease, everywhere (I think a major clean is required). With regards to the staff, it felt as if a large number of them were suffering from P.M.S. (not rude per se, just moody). Altogether this very nearly forced me to give a lower rating but the mains, price and absence of a corkage charge pulled it all back. Next time I go (not any time soon), I’ll give the starters a miss.
From the start, the feeling of being twatted off was ever-present. I needed a table and the online booking system was showing that the only available dinner time slots were either at 1730hrs or 2100hrs, basically too early or too late. My last-ditch attempt was to make a phone call in the hope that something was available around 1930hrs. Thankfully this tactic came up trumps despite having to talk to someone who was quite abrupt and slightly rude on the other end. Table booked, I was looking forward to the evening.
Upon arrival I approached the bloke behind the front desk and presented myself. He immediately told me to wait at the end of the queue. Can this be right? I arrive on time for a booking I’d made over the phone, but am told to wait in a queue nonetheless. Additionally, I was told that I wouldn’t be given a table until my whole party arrived, at which point they did. 15 minutes go by and we were still waiting. We’re finally seated at 1950hrs. Call me old-fashioned but if I book a table for a certain time, I expect to be given one at that time and not forced to wait in a queue.
By the time I was seated, I was famished and in not the best of moods so picked out some starters (chicken tikka, lamb chops and paneer tikka) and mains (karahi king prawns, bhindi meat), topped off with rice and a paratha. At least they had placed a plate of poppadoms on the table (I didn’t ask for them, but didn’t think anything of it until I saw the bill; cheeky buggers!).
Starters (piled high on a single sizzling plate, located in the middle of the picture) are usually my favourite part of any meal, unfortunately not this time. All items were highly spiced and well seasoned but were as dry and tough as beef jerky. The lamb was probably the best out of a bad lot. But, if these chops were “lamb” (perhaps they come from the quick-growing variety of sheep?), then my balls haven’t dropped yet.
The mains were definitely better than the starters. Thick tasty gravy, tender meat and glistening with ghee (clarified butter). I’d had the fear that the king prawn karahi was going to contain five prawns, but was pleasantly surprised to see at least double-digit numbers. Ditto goes for the bhindi meat (“lamb” with okra). Thankfully, my gluttony only goes so far, so I stuck to the smaller portions which were sufficient for three.
Charge me for poppadoms that I didn’t order, that’s your tip gone then. £1.50 isn’t a lot by any measure, but it’s the principle of it all.