A Brick Lane curry

A curry at Cafe Raj on 42 Hanbury St, off Brick Lane, London Borough of Tower Hamlets, East End of London, 2008
Brick Lane runs from Bethnal Green in the north, passes through Spitalfields and on towards Whitechapel High Street.

Situated in the heart of London’s Sylheti Bangladeshi community, the street is known as the curry capital of the UK.

A curry at Cafe Raj on 42 Hanbury St, off Brick Lane, London Borough of Tower Hamlets, East End of London, 2008
Walking down the street you can expect a full hustle from waiters and restaurant employers (amusingly described as ‘Tikka Touts’) hell bent on luring you into their premises.

A curry at Cafe Raj on 42 Hanbury St, off Brick Lane, London Borough of Tower Hamlets, East End of London, 2008
As you progress down the street, expect to be offered ever-improving offers; “Twenty five percent off – but only if you take our offer now!”, “Free first round of drinks plus thirty per cent off!” and my favourite, “Special VIP table!”.

My tip: decide where you want to go first and ring up them up beforehand to sort out a good deal.

A curry at Cafe Raj on 42 Hanbury St, off Brick Lane, London Borough of Tower Hamlets, East End of London, 2008
We went to Cafe Raj on 42 Hanbury St, just off Brick Lane.

A curry at Cafe Raj on 42 Hanbury St, off Brick Lane, London Borough of Tower Hamlets, East End of London, 2008
The food was very good, the restaurant clean and the service reasonably swift, although our promised ‘free Cobra beer’ turned out to be a glass of some nondescript lager.

The promised discount also needed some firm renegotiation after they sneakily added a clause that everyone had to order a main course.

A curry at Cafe Raj on 42 Hanbury St, off Brick Lane, London Borough of Tower Hamlets, East End of London, 2008
Things got a little tatty when we headed out to the outside loo that had a worryingly large pile of toilet rolls stacked up.

A curry at Cafe Raj on 42 Hanbury St, off Brick Lane, London Borough of Tower Hamlets, East End of London, 2008
I loved this ‘Chef of the Year’ sign. No need to tell us what year it was or who accorded the place the honour!

Still, it was a good curry, and although not quite able to challenge our favourite curry house in the capital – Khan’s of Brixton – we can definitely recommend the place.

More Brick Lane photos