Sunday, February 22, 2009

Baraka in Whitechapel: A Tayyab's Alternative?

Name Baraka Eatery‎
Address 38-40 Whitechapel Rd E1 1JX
Phone 020 74260550
Web site
Main dish price range £6-10
Rating 3 stars. Solid, you should go there if you are in the area.
Recommended dishes Achari Goscht

My first visit to Tayyab's, 10:30pm on a Sunday night, was a great success. My second, on a Friday evening, was a failure -- an epic line scared me promptly away. My 3rd visit, last Thursday around 6pm, was supposed to be better? Who could imagine a line at that early hour. Even when I got there and saw it with my own eyes, I had to actually wait in it for 20 minutes before I was convinced.

Ellen and I gave up, and headed around the corner to what looked to be a new restaurant, advertising South Asian food in the kind of colorful, modern, cheap environment that Londers seem to love so much. Normally, this kind of décor would have frightened my right away, but in this case a coupla dudes in kurtas and the location right next door to the massive East London Mosque and Muslim Center made me feel that it might have some worth. It was also largely empty, so I knew we would be seated and served right away.

It turned out to be a Bangladeshi restaurant which does a turn in Indian and Middle Eastern foods as well (to satisfy as many of the worshippers from next door as possible no doubt). I asked the eager Bangladeshi waiter for a few recommendations, and he inevitably directed my towards some of the "white people favourites" he assumed I could stomach. I took a Chicken Chilli after his emphatic recommendation, but then rounded the meal out with a few choices from the Bangladeshi side of the menu.

Chicken Chilli was OK, not great, but the Bangladeshi dishes really shone, especially the Achari Goscht, a lamb dish with a sauce made from pickled vegetables. I have never had anything quite like it in a restaurant, and it was great. A Chana Dal had perfectly al dente beans, and it was all served with some complementary salads and breads.

All in all, a solid meal, and a great alternative to the lines at Tayyabs. Easily worth 3 stars. Only the Chicken
Chili kept it from 4.

Baraka Eatery on Urbanspoon

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