Meal courtesy of Sheba Brick LaneReviewed and written by Ed from @onehungryasian, published and edited by Steph
Brick Lane shouts one thing at you, almost quite literally if you walk down it, as the different restaurants try and entice you in with free drinks, 20% off and set menus that will make you question how low they can actually go and still make a good dish. That one thing is, by the way, curry! Famous/infamous for its curry, depending on how you see it, Brick Lane has more curry houses on it than you could possibly ever need, and standing out in the crowd is a difficult job.
Personally, I have to admit, I’ve never gone to a curry house there before! Sacrilege I know, but it’s easy to dismiss the restaurants on the street with the sudden influx of new hip and trendy Indian and Pakistani restaurants in London. Having had the chance to try a fair few dishes at Sheba, I’m regretful that I haven’t been here earlier!
Sheba was awarded “The Best Curry House in the UK” Award in 2015 by the Cobra Good Curry Guide, so is already sporting some seriously good credentials, and I’m happy to say it definitely lived up to those expectations.
We chose a few of the starters including lamb chops, king prawn chaat puri and the Sheba special zalzala bread. The lamb chops had great flavour but were a little overcooked, but the zalzala bread was an incredibly good stuffed naan and the chaat puri?
Wow. I mean seriously, wow. So fantastically good, full of flavour and spices and just one of the best single dishes I’ve had in a while. It comes with a wedge of lemon. Do yourself a favour and squeeze it on. Heaven. I could easily have eaten 3 or 4 of them and a few beers and been an extremely happy man!
We moved onto mains next and ordered 3 curries, 2 vegetable sides, garlic and chilli rice and a peshwari naan. Not much food then for just 2 of us, right?
Their menu has a small section dedicated to the “Ultimate Shashlik Special”, a dish combining 2 styles of cooking and lots more appealing buzz words and spices. Suffice it to say, the lamb shashlik masala was great. A rich dish but not too heavy, with well cooked and tender lamb that we really enjoyed.
Another customer favourite is the chicken xacuti, which is a coconut based Goan dish that was also great. A bit more spicy than the shashlik with a nice kick, and plenty of flavour to go with our sides.
Finally, completing the trio of curries we ordered was the Boal fish fry. This one sticks out in my memory as the waiter nearly jumped over the table in the way he enthusiastically recommended this dish – and was probably my 2nd favourite of the entire meal. Fragrant coriander, tomatoes, chilli and all the good stuff in a fish curry made for a generous helping of fish and plenty of happiness at the table.
Sides wise, the chana daal fry and spicy daal aubergine special were nice changes to the curries, and were good enough in themselves. I was pretty stuffed by this point however so admittedly, we didn’t eat much of it, but they were pretty good!
Overall, my time at Sheba was a bit of an awakening. In what really shouldn’t have been a surprise, Brick Lane curry houses are actually really good! I know for sure that I haven’t had takeaway curry as good as Sheba, and my god that king prawn chaat puri is great.
For those of you reluctant to try Brick Lane, definitely do it. Yes the people standing outside can seem a bit pushy, but the food is actually really good and fair value (look for deals!). For those of you who have been before and/or are frequent visitors, check out Sheba for a chance in scenery. There’s a reason it’s won awards, and the standout dishes of chaat puri, zalzala bread and the Boal fish fry are reason enough!