Those who read my previous “review”:https://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/review/restaurant/196544-review-halal-restaurant of the “Halal Restaurant”:https://www.halalrest.co.uk/menu, will know it’s been a firm favourite of mine for many years.
Because of its location on the edge of the City, it had recently featured on BBC London News. Due to a downturn in trade caused by Covid-19 and its nearness to the empty “City of London”:https://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/review/attraction/204999-review-the-city-of-london, the owner was worried they would go out of business: a huge shame bearing in mind it had been trading since 1939 and claimed to be the oldest Indian restaurant in London.
So, after a 5pm performance at the “Bridge Theatre”:https://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/review/attraction/205058-review-bridge-theatre, we planned on supporting it as it was only a 15- minute walk across Tower Bridge. We were not the only ones, as the previous weekend, the Sunday Times carried a complimentary “review”:https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/marina-oloughlin-reviews-east-londons-oldest-indian-restaurant-fq6sh62qw by restaurant critic, Marina O’Loughlin. On the basis that this may have increased trade levels, we booked for 7.30pm to ensure we had enough time for a pre-dinner drink in either of, or preferably both, two nearby pubs: the “Princess of Prussia”:https://www.princessofprussia.co.uk/ (next to the office where I worked) and the “White Swan”:https://www.whiteswanaldgate.co.uk/ (where Michael Barrymore famously came out on stage).
It was quicker getting out of the theatre than I’d anticipated, the weather was drizzling, and both pubs were closed, presumably because no one is working in the city. So, at 6.45pm we tried our luck, found a table was available and joined a couple with a howling baby (fortunately coming towards the end of their meal) and three city ladies.
Hand sanitizer was plonked on the table and our drinks order taken. What was good to see was that despite their financial troubles, a very chilled bottle of French Sauvignon Blanc was still priced at an amazing £11.75.
Two poppadoms arrived with the stainless-steel carousel of lidded pots with mint sauce, lime pickle mango chutney and another indeterminate dip, along with a bowl of finely chopped onions.
On ordering a starter of two vegetable samosas, we were told they were complimentary and shared these along with onion bhajis which came as a portion of three.
At this stage, service was a little fast and furious and very quickly our table was laden. Thankfully, there was then a restful lull before our mains from what is an extensive “menu”:https://www.halalrest.co.uk/menu. As on our previous visit, portion sizes are not huge but reflect the price – all mains are on average £8. Roy ordered meat (mutton) rogan josh whilst I deviated from my usual chicken vindaloo and chose the dish I’d probably had on my first visit, chicken tikka masala. We also ordered a portion of pilau rice to share (definitely enough), a garlic naan, and a side of Bombay aloo.
Everything was delicious although the mildness of the tikka masala made me realise how far my taste buds have developed in the thirty years since my first ever visit and curry.
During the course of our dinner, it busied up with 7.30pm appearing to be the witching hour as four tables arrived virtually at the same time, making us pleased we’d arrived early.
At the end of the meal we were presented with orange quarters and of course as an ex-rugby player Roy had to make it into a gum shield. The very reasonable bill for £40 arrived with four boiled sweets which we kept for the walk back to Liverpool Street Station.
Hopefully, Marina’s review will have done the trick and the Halal will thrive and continue to be London’s oldest Indian and one of my favourites.