Brits Love Brick Lane Curry; Indians Not So Much

Seeing as how half my wife’s family is from Birmingham (England) I have come to learn about the phenomenom that is balti.  I always thought it just tasted like a dumbed down version of Indian food invented for the white man’s palate (think: chicken tikka masala), but apparently it’s a Pakistani food that was brought to England and adapted for the white man’s palate. Who knew? I still haven’t been to Brick Lane Curry House (on 53rd btw. 2+3rd), but according to one commenter, if balti is what you are looking for, this place is the way to go.  (I guess this should have been obvious to me, with a name like “Brick Lane” but it wasn’t.  So shaddup!)

“For what it’s worth, what I like about Brick Lane has nothing to do with how spicy they make their vindaloo (and IMHO they are the only ones that make it the appropriate hotness in town)… They make it british style! In other words, you can plop down and get a delicious Chicken Balti! Who else in town makes a balti?? And before that have some onion baji. Do they sell pilau rice? I dunno. But if you’ve spend any time eating curry in England these guys are the real deal in my worthless opinion. Now I’ll have a guinness.”

Wondering how it stacks up when you put it in front of mixed crowd?  This office did the ultimate test, and Lunch’er Joe R filed this report:

“Never eaten from here before.  Just had a bad weekend and there were a number of us who needed to be in the office.  We ordered $350+ worth of takeout from here….about 12 people.  We put it all out so that anyone could take what they wanted. Among the diners, one person who sampled the food was from India.  The other person was a consultant from England.  Both went through the menu and had told us what to order.”

The verdict from both is after the jump.

“Indian person said food was just okay – passable. British guy (who has been in Manhattan only a few months) says that it is the most authentic that he has found on this side of the pond so far. Both agreed that some of the sauces were a little thin, samosas were too oil soaked (maybe not hot enough grease?). They liked the Jalfrezi, Papadum, chicken tika masala, malay kofta.

Some of the stuff on the menu was stuff that I’ve never heard of or seen on the menu at any other Indian place that I’ve been to.  Then again, I’ve never been to England, so they must have their own style of cooking/dishes.”

They certainly do.  They certainly do.


  • Most “Indian” food here in the UK is actually prepared by Bangladeshi or Pakistani chefs. We don’t eat curry “balti-style”. A balti is a dish, always served with naan instead of rice. All Indian-style food I’ve had in the US has been pretty insipid and not to my taste at all. If that’s more authentic, I like Banga-Pakistani-Indian food better than the real thing.

  • You do realize that you just extrapolated the opinion of ONE Brit to Brits in general, and ONE Indian to Indians in general. I mean, if you had TWO of each, you would have at least had a weak grammatical (if not moral) right to use the the plural “Indians.”

  • I will be Dining in the real Brick Lane in abbbouuut 4 hours.

    No excuse for watery Masala.

    And Guinness….with a Curry?. Bet your Flatmates love you.

  • So this is what I learned from dating an Indian for 2.5 years. His family is Indian but they are considered Parsi. So their ancestors immigrated from the Middle East to India. So I would think their food would be different from regular Indian food. Alot of their curries are not curry powder based but nut based. There are a lot of creamy dishes also found in Middle Eastern foods.

  • Can we please have Mamacitas Bar Revue(Fast replacing the Tuesday Freak in popularity in my book) Please.

    I just Love her stuffed ‘skins.

  • Smoooch* right back at cha Rudy.

    are you ever going to check that gmail account you gave me??!?

  • I’m waiting for it too… this may be the one where Anastasia does the bartender

  • its a @hotmail acc, same handle.

  • I do wish Brick Lane would get into the habit of automatically placing a small cup of mango chutney on the table when they bring the spicy poppadoms.

    Zach, IIRC, Birmingham is where british style curry originated. Could be wrong on that but that’s what I was told once. Would not surprise me in the least if Joe Average Indian Guy did not like british curry as much as say, err, Joe Average Brit does.

    And you haven’t had a balti until you’ve been to the Balti King!! 6 page menu!

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    Disgusting stuff, greasy and gross. Having said that, it’s not people’s fault if they don’t know what wonderful Indian food is supposed to taste like. (Brummies probably don’t know, either, unless they’ve been in London.) To educate the tastebuds, spend a few bucks for the $14.95 or $13.95 (it changes) seven-day-a-week all-you-can-eat lunch buffet at the always excellemt Bombay Palace on 52nd St bet. 5th and 6th Aves. You will feel the tingle of the spices dancing on your tongue, the tender tandooris, the falling-apart, flowery caulifolower. the zing of fresh ginger, and rich, creamy desserts. Aha! Brilliant!

  • You should also try Manchester’s ‘Curry Mile’ 80 ‘Indian’ resturants…from Punjabi to Afghani to Bangladeshi to Mohgul to Kerelan to Madrasi(it’s Chennai now…but sod it that gandhi has a lot to answer for,peaceful protest my arse.Led to partition the forming of Pakistan(evil)).

    Anyway, yes, London curry is poncy and over priced.

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