Above average traditional Indian/Bengali restaurant in one of London's seedier areas
Stratford in east London is certainly not one of the nicest areas in London: it is dirt poor, architecturally a disaster, pretty dangerous after dark and rather ugly. Nevertheless it has excellent public transport connections to London's City and two airports, which makes it a popular (and cheap) area for city-workers and students (and gazillions of immigrants from Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia).
On one of the trunkroads leading towards Leyton is a small, well kept restaurant, run for decades by the same family, serving the basic indian/bengali cuisine one would expect in this area of London. Nevertheless, there are some things that elevate this curry house from the rest of similar establishments:
The proprietors really believe in "Service with a smile": a broad grin awaits you as soon as you enter the premises, for regular patrons hands are shaken, one is led to the favourite table and out of nowhere beer, poppadums and chutney arrives, and after a couple of minutes a sizzling sound marks the arrival of the most tender and tast Lamb Tikka you can imagine.
The starters and main course list does not differ much from the usual fare: Madras, Vindaloo, Tikka Masala, Korma, Pasanda in the usual variations are all present and well presented, but it's some of the specialties like Methi Gosht, Shally Lamb and a superb Dansak Balti that are worth trying and don't disappoint in their multitude of flavours and zest.
Beer conoisseurs will be pleased to know that the the best UK lager at present is on the menu ( the wonderful Cobra), and the winelist is solid if without any surprises.
Compared with the rest of London, the whole thing is even relatively cheap: A starter, nan bread, rice, vegetables and a maincourse with 2 beers will not cost you more than 20 pounds. Some West End Indian restaurant have starters which are more expensive than that.
With other words: if you look for a Curry House that will make you, your partner and your stomach feel welcome, and doesn't attack your wallet too much, it doesn't get much better than this.
The Hemalaya Tandoori
178 The Grove
London E15 1NS
Telephone +44 20 8519 6887