★★★☆☆ / Pakistani / South Asian

Tayyabs review – Whitechapel curry praised in Haiku

 Classic cheap curry consumed cheerfully

For most Londoners, Tayyabs needs no introduction. Away from the tourist trap that is Brick Lane, this Whitechapel stalwart has been serving up inexpensive, quality curries and grills for years. A lot of words have already been written about Tayyabs, so rather than my usual prose I’m going to experiment by writing this review in haiku – the terse but evocative form of Japanese poetry.

Before you snort with derision, click away and mutter ‘pretentious wanker’ under your breath, I fully admit that my poetic ability is miniscule. Plus it hasn’t gotten any better since I attempted to use it for wooing back when I was studying GCSE English. My already concise, almost pithy style lends itself to faux-haiku; plus it’s all for fun innit.

Inattentive waiters
Plenty of tables
But not for you
Awkward elbows

downstairs interior tayyabs

Empty downstairs Tayyabs

Lamb chops
Sizzling crackle

Fruity baste
Tender and slightly chewy
Smoke sweetens the air

lamb chops at tayyabs

lamb chops at Tayyabs

Scattering of lentils
Promised lamb has scarpered
Thick, unctuous and creamy like your mum

haleem at tayyabs

haleem (allegedly) at Tayyabs

Thick and fluffy
A little chewy
Sauce sponge

roti at tayyabs

roti at Tayyabs

Dry meat
If this is small, what is big
No sauce, but still moist
Earthy and garlicky
Dense yet tender like your mum

small dry beef at tayyabs

small dry beef at Tayyabs

Moist fingers
Properly cooked
So not sticky like your bedsheets
Already forgotten

okra at tayyabs

okra at Tayyabs

Pumpkin masala
Yielding flesh
Glistens in the sun
Tart not sweet
Confused disappointment

pumpkin at tayyabs

pumpkin at Tayyabs

Thick rice pudding
Cardamom and cashew
Like this island chilly and small
Gulped in a flash

kheer rice pudding at tayyabs

kheer rice pudding at Tayyabs

Mango lassi
Refreshing fruitiness
Thin not thick
By the glass or by the jug

mango lassi at tayyabs

mango lassi at Tayyabs

The Verdict

Wait you must
Meat not veg
Heavy wallet
Bulging belly
Smelly pores
Happy times


Name: Tayyabs

Address: 83-89 Fieldgate Street, Whitechapel, London E1 1JU

Phone: 020 7247 9543 / 020 7247 6400 / 020 7247 8521


Opening Hours: seven days a week noon-23.30.

Reservations: essential.

Average cost for one person including service and soft drinks when shared between two: £20 approx. 

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Tayyabs on Urbanspoon

Square Meal


5 thoughts on “Tayyabs review – Whitechapel curry praised in Haiku

  1. Ate at Tayyabs last Sunday, February 22 … not very friendly staff; uninspiring dishes to be honest; rather tasteless; many places serve better food; living on past reputation.

  2. Haha. I loved this review. “tender, like your mum” excellent. To oppose the comment above, I ate there on the weekend and it was brilliant – couldn’t fault it. I’ve had friends comment that they’ve had some unfriendly staff though so maybe it’s a bit hit and miss re service. It just got a nod on this ‘best places to eat in London’ food map http://www.discount-london.com/tastesoflondon.htm so it’s gotta be doing something right surely?!

  3. Pingback: Gunpowder review – lamb chops better than Tayyab’s | The Picky Glutton

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