“ Address: 63 A Brick Lane London EI 6QL „
During my recent trip to London, I caught up with one of my friends over a curry on Brick Lane at the Eastern Eye Balti House. I've never been to Brick Lane before but my friend insists that this restaurant is the best in the area - no mean feat considering how many curry houses there are in the area. We went on a Wednesday evening and the place was still nicely full. Not so much that we were uncomfortably cramped or that the service suffered but enough that we didn't feel like we were on show in a quiet restaurant. I did find that the restaurant was oddly laid out inside because the tables were kind of close together. It is a fairly small space and they have packed the tables in so we did find that we were perhaps a little too close to the people next to us; I was actually on a table at the end and was getting up close and personal with the drinks fridge! The décor is simple and nothing much to write home about, although the tables are all matching and have crisp white tablecloths on them. We weren't there for the décor though we were there for the food obviously and the choice was great. The menu is extensive and there are plenty of choices for vegetarians and meat eaters alike. The menu featured lots of familiar dishes as well as a number of chef's specials that I didn't recognise. The menu is well laid out as well with the dishes listed under headings depending on the type of curry. I opted for a familiar Lamb Byriani, although I was tempted by the Sizzler dish that was cooked with a creamy almond sauce or the Malayan dishes that have a fruity sauce. I kind of wish I'd have gone for one of them really because, whilst the Byriani was nice, it was a little plain. I know Byriani is a mild dish but it is usually quite flavourful and this one just lacked that a little. It was a nice, just not great. The same could be said for my other half's chicken curry which didn't quite pack the punch that he was hoping for. My friend had the vegetarian thali, which was made up of a number of different dishes. The variation was pretty good, it was a bit like a buffet on a plate and she thoroughly enjoyed. I tried the okra dish, which was delicious. The thali also came with rice and naan bread to scoop up all of the various parts. The food is very reasonably priced as well, especially considering the size of the portions. They are generous to say the least. Most of the main courses are between £8 and £10 excluding the accompaniments. The thali was particularly good value at £12 as it included both starters, main course and side dishes all on one plate. If I were to return I would probably opt for this or the meat alternative as I do like to have a bit of this and a bit of that. Even though my husband and I only had one course, we were both completely full afterwards. If you do want a starter though, you are looking at between £3 and £6 and there is a lot of choice. You can also opt for a dessert, but as you would probably expect, the choice is limited to fruit and pre made ice cream based things. The total bill for three of us was £45 which included a tip and a bottle of house wine (which was surprisingly nice). I thought this was exceptionally good value for money because we were all full and we were in London after all. We found out on receiving the bill that we actually got a 20% discount. I originally thought this was a midweek special, but when I have since looked at the restaurant's website (http://easterneyebaltihouse.co.uk), it would seem that this is just a standard offer, which is great. The service was great. Attentive enough, but not overly so, although we did have to ask for our bill a couple of times when it started to get busy later on. I would recommend the Eastern Eye, because it does offer excellent value for money, although I'd perhaps be inclined to select one of the chef's special dishes to see if they pack more of a punch.