I should have known better. Everyone knows that Brick Lane is the Disneyland of Indian restaurants in London. More for tourists now than serious food lovers it is the sort of place you try to avoid. However the problem is that despite your protests, if you live in London you are going to end up eating Indian on Brick Lane at some stage as the thing about eating out is that it is very often a social sport and so you are not always going to get to choose where your friends wish to eat (despite your best efforts in that regard).
So with a heavy heart I trudged towards Brick Lane and the glowing interior of Dawaat to meet Sully and Morto for a curry. There were some promising signs. Dawaat was quite full on a chilly Wednesday night and what’s even more remarkable no one tried to offer us free wine or starters to eat there. The decor was relatively ugly with Bollywood movies playing on repeat on a plasma TV in the corner.
We ordered a round of Kingfishers to begin and some poppadoms as in my mind nothing goes better with a curry than an icy cold beer. Now for the curry. The chef’s special of Tawa lamb was served with a creamy tomato based sauce, capsicum and scattered with flaked almonds. It was listless and uninspiring. Undeterred, we made good use of the sauce by mopping it up with Naan bread.
Tandoori chicken was served on a hot plate which had lost its sizzle (pictured). The meat was tasty enough but the Tandoori flavour was not strong and the raw onions it was served on top of only served to confuse us. Sag Aloo comprised soggy and dull spinach. The vegetarian food should be the highlight of an Indian restaurant, but not at Dawaat.
The dessert menu was uninspired and so we asked for the bill. This is where the surprise came, for a mediocre meal and a few beers we were out of pocket £40 each. Mains had been reasonably priced at around £8 each but the high pricing of the side dishes, rice and alcohol allowed Dawaat to lure you in and then sting you. All my suspicions had been confirmed and there is little reason for me ever to return. I remain a Brick Lane pessimist.