Forget about the touristy Curry Houses of Brick Lane that lack flavour and have been Westernised. If you go just down the road to Aldgate east and you walk down the side streets you can smell the smoky grilling of spiced meats wafting out the famous Tayyabs – a Pakistani restaurant known for its incredible grilled lamb chops and its Bring Your Own Booze policy.
A couple blocks down from this East London institution, the ex-head chef from Tayyabs started his own little baby – Needoo. Also a family-run business and also supporting the BYOB policy, they pride themselves in their grilled dishes and curries. Renata and I decided to check this little gem out one Wednesday evening for a mid-week treat.
As we stepped in, we were seated straight away and out came our own bottle of wine (of course) from Renata’s bag and the waiter brought us a couple of wine glasses, as well as some salad, popadoms and sauces to nibble on as we studied the menu. The sauces were the usual; a mango jam type sauce, a mint yogurt type sauce and a sweet and spicy (but more spicy than sweet) sauce – all for the dipping of the popadoms which came as one plain and one spicy.
We decided on some grilled dishes and ordered the lamb chops, the tandoori chicken and the paneer.
The grilled dishes come sizzling away on hot platters. The tandoori chicken came as four whole chicken legs – red and orange in colour from all the spices and they were laid across a bed of onions that cooked themselves on the hot plate. The chicken was not dry what-so-ever (no one likes a dry piece of chicken). Instead it was juicy and had a delicious smoky flavour to it.
Paneer is a home-made cheese from fresh cow’s milk and has the texture of hallumi and the flavour of mozzarella. These cubes of cheese were also red and orange in colour from the spices and as you cut through this coloured exterior you were greeted with a fluffy white middle. The spices did not overpower the cheese at all and instead it was a great compliment to the sweet, milky flavour of the inside.
The lamb, I must admit, was a little bit tough for my liking in terms of texture; however, the flavours were divine. Lamb already has quite a strong flavour as a meat on its own but the spices added to it gave it a spicy kick to it and was very aromatic.
We also ordered a portion of tandoori naan, pilau rice and a yellow lentil dahl. The dahl had a creamy texture to it but you could still taste the bits of lentils and it had a wonderfully subtle curry flavour and was a great companion to the rest of the very strong flavoured dishes.
The bill came to about £15.00 per person and we definitely over ate.
If you have not tried Pakistani curries and grilled dishes, then I would definitely give Needoo a try!