Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Curry night, Brick Lane

Sheba
136 Brick Lane, London, E1 6RU
0207 247 7824
Website

Eleven of us planned to meet up for a friend's birthday. The location was to be Brick Lane, and I was quite keen to book somewhere as I'd had a couple of pretty dodgy meals there in the past. I searched and found Sheba online. It had good reviews and looked inviting, but as no booking was to be made I decided just to keep it in mind.

The day of the meet came and we embarked on a mini pub crawl around Brick Lane (even spotting good ole Joe Mangel from 'Neighbours' in one pub). Time raced by and soon our bellies were rumbling above the crowd noise. Emergency, curry needed! Luckily we were quite close to Sheba at the time and a couple of us went ahead, steaming past the 25% off and free drink placard outside. As most restaurants offered the same deal (for "today only"), I knew I would have to go one better to encourage my motley crew to enter. "It's my friend's birthday," I began, "I've got eleven people here, how about 30% off?" The waiter mulled it over. Our bellies rumbled again. "They're just outside..." Finally his poker face cracked into a smile. "30% off and we will throw in an ice-cream for the birthday, ok?" It certainly was.

We all piled into Sheba and nabbed the last large table. The restaurant only has room for 30 people, so it is well worth booking if you want to ensure a spot. As it was my suggestion I was hoping Sheba wouldn't let me down. Most of us were fairly tipsy and a bad curry could easily send us in the wrong direction. We ordered our free round of drinks; a small glass of wine or a half pint of lager, being examples.
Then came the poppadoms, which were shattered and devoured in record time.

The menu was fairly large, including all the usual standards but some more unusual dishes too. My opposite on the table opted for the lemongrass chicken and aloo gobi. I decided I wanted to try curried duck as I'd never had it before. I chose the garlic duck with onion bhaji as a side dish. We also ordered two naans; Peshwari and plain and a pilau rice to share. Various other dishes were ordered from a chicken korma to a tandorri and motor panner. A note for vegetarians: as there are only 5 vegetarian main dishes, any of the veggie side dishes can be made into mains, just ask.


The food took a little while to come out which is more often than not a good thing. After all if service is too fast one suspects the involvement of a microwave. And with the exception of one or two dishes everything was piping hot.

My onion bhaji was delicious, crisp and perfectly proportioned and the garlic duck, whilst not quite what I was expecting,(I had thought it would be a dry dish), was tender and tasty and not at all greasy. My friend enthused about his lemongrass chicken, and after a bite I had to agree, it was quite unlike anything I have tasted from an indian restaurant but wasn't thai in flavour either. He vowed to search for it on other menus.

The aloo gobi was also good as were the naans. I was very impressed with the overall quality of the food - even the promised ice cream was quite a treat, arriving with a birthday candle too.

Service was extremely friendly and prompt, nothing was too much trouble. Our meal came to approx 12 pounds per head, including extra drinks.

While it isn't really a place for a romantic meal, becoming very noisy at capacity and attracting larger parties, I would definitely return. The prices were very reasonable with nothing on the menu costing more than 13.95 and the average main being around 7 pounds.

We were showered with orange flavoured chocolates and hot lemon-scented towels as our bill was brought over, and waved off with big smiles on both sides.

The writing on the wall:
8 out of 10

1 comment:

MC said...

I love it - i've been reading through all your blogs and they are all very good. I like the fact that mr t. is your opposite in this one too!

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