East London is home to excellent Indian cuisine, with traditional dishes transporting you straight to bustling food markets in Bangladesh, all accompanied by a typical, low price tag to match. Indian food should be all about comfort after all, with spicy curries warming your soul and copious amounts of naan bread to mop it up with, filling your belly without emptying your bank. We’ve rounded up our top five low-budget Indian restaurants in East London, guaranteed to tingle your taste buds…
Image credit: Pille Riin Priske
Brick Lane attracts a lot of attention for its countless curry houses and it can be a bit of a minefield. But Amar Gaon is an authentic, no-frills Northern Bangladeshi restaurant. In classic Bangladeshi style, you pick what you want at the counter and each portion is the same size. The lamb curry is delicately spiced and melts in the mouth, prawns are mixed generously with spice and spinach, and the sag aloo will make you re-think potatoes. If you can’t choose, the friendly staff happily walks you through all the dishes to help, but onion bhajis are a must-order while waiting for the feast to arrive. Five dishes served with two portions of rice and two drinks came to a very reasonable £27. plus two drinks and
50 Brick Ln, Spitalfields, London E1 6RF
Image credit: Lai Yuching
Annapoorna Pure Vegetarian
Metal cups and jugs of water sit on every table and the décor is utilitarian, but the food more than speaks up for itself. Nothing on the menu is over a fiver, which means you can try as much as you like. Try the rava dosa (a thin pancake-like dish made from fermented rice batter), packed with chilli for a fiery kick, or the paneer dosa (another type of pancake filled with Indian cottage cheese), both served with dhal and chutneys. Joined by classics including vegetable bhajis and chana masala, complete with a glass of buttermilk and two masala teas – you’d never expect such a feast to cost £20.10.
233-235 High St N, East Ham, London E6 1JG
The Tale Of India
An East End institution, The Tale Of India is just as good as for eating in as it is for taking away. Always a refreshingly mixed crowd, this Indian/Bangladeshi restaurant attracts lifelong locals and Canary Wharf bankers, families and couples. The extensive menu consists of all the classic favourites: kurma, vindaloo, tikka masala, but still with plenty for the adventurous. Assamese cuisine, originating from Assam in the far North-East of India, and korai dishes (stews simmered in a wok-style dish called a korai) add flair the selection. A meal for two with poppadums, sides and naans will set you back around £27.
53 West India Dock Road, Millwall, London E14 8HN
Image credit: Lior Shapira
Feast and Mishti
A Whitechapel gem, this place might have dodgy wallpaper but a buzzing Bangladeshi kitchen brings some of the tastiest food around, in the form of a North Indian buffet at just £9.99. It’s a serve-yourself affair with over 30 dishes to choose from, such as devilishly hot fish curries, egg curries, dried fish, okra, bitter gourd (traditional but an acquired taste) and a whole heap of interesting chutneys and pastes. With choices aplenty, there’s bound to be some you already know and others you definitely don’t, leaving you with some difficult decisions to make.
245 Whitechapel Road, Whitechapel, London E1 1DB
Frequented by drama students from the nearby Academy Drama School, only those in the know are aware of Sonargaon’s real steal. Beyond the buffet that offers some decent dishes at £8.95, it’s the tasty take-away snacks that make this place worthy of many visits. Munch on pakoras, bhajis and samosas, fried up in front of you and sold through the front windows to make the whole process as easy as can be. You can’t miss the towering stacks of vibrant orange jalebi, perfect for satisfying a sweet tooth along with many other intriguing sweet treats to take-away. All snacks are under a pound, so why not try them all?
199 Whitechapel Road, Whitechapel, London E1 1DN
By Leonie Helm.
Featured image by Taylor Kiser.