I always have a foodie wish list on the go and some places on it have been on there for years. Tayyabs, for example, has been a ‘must go to’ since I read Jay Rayner’s review back in, erm, 2005. Such a delay would make sense if it was either expensive (it’s not) or on another landmass (not that either, a mere 40 minutes away on the bus/tube) but, in this instance, the only thing that put me off was the stories I’d heard about the queues/crowds. Apparently, on a run-of-the-mill Saturday night, there is a snake of people round the whole (albeit very large) restaurant, which must make it feel more like Eurodisney than an East London eaterie.
So I was delighted when Angela told me that late on a Sunday, after lunch but before dinner, might be a good time to try it. After some suitable culture (Tate Modern, Voyeurism exhibition) and a sunny walk east, we found ourselves in the unprepossessing streets around Aldgate…this isn’t a street, or a restaurant, you’re going to stumble on. After stocking up on Cobra beer in a nearby Tesco’s (there is no licence at Tayyabs and no corkage charge either!), which was piled up near the door obviously in readiness for the likes of us, we finally reached our destination. And Angela was right: there was no queue, we were whisked straight to a table and we began the job of massacring our colons.
Because Tayyabs my friends, is all about meat, particularly grilled and roasted meat. The starter of lamb chops, which every reviewer mentions is, well, worth the journey in itself. I’m not sure where Tayyabs gets their lamb from, but they are big buggers and they’re spicy, and sticky and juicy and…in fact, although the rest was lovely, particularly the naan breads, the thing I will go back for, once I’ve forgotten how full I felt when I left, is those chops.
It’s not far from the much-vaunted Brick Lane but, rather than stopping in a street that is sadly becoming a tourist trap, ignore all that noise, walk a bit further and find somewhere that lets the food do all the shouting.