Curbing The Curry Touts Of Brick Lane

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 81 months ago
Curbing The Curry Touts Of Brick Lane

Tower Hamlets is again planning to crack down on the curry touts who linger outside restaurants in Brick Lane, preying on the confused and hungry.

The council wants restauranteurs to sign up for a voluntary code of conduct, by which they'll refrain from deploying touts on the street. The idea is to clean up the area's image ahead of the Olympics at which, in lieu of actually having any events staged in the borough, Tower Hamlets will be allowed to brand Brick Lane as London's "curry capital".

We've been here before, of course. Back in 2006, a surfeit of dodgy dopiaza deals and the increasingly thuggish nature of certain touts led to a new law, backed up by a hefty fine and a possible jail sentence, that banned touting in the area. The council also started slapping ASBOs on persistent offenders. Things calmed down for a while, and visitors were able to stroll the Lane unruffled by hawkers and their BOGOF biryanis, but in recent years the situation has grown worse.

Of course, if Tower Hamlets really cared about the culinary experience of tourists, they might send them away from Brick Lane for a decent meal at Tayyabs; or if they were feeling particularly honest, they'd direct them Southall way.

Photo / Sven Loach

Last Updated 20 September 2011


Can't see what problem the touts are causing. They're not aggressive or anything... and sometimes you can play them off against each other and get a decent deal.

I agree that Tayyabs is better though! Perhaps Tower Hamlets should leave the touts alone and concentrate on improving food quality?

Sam Stoten

I agree with the above. Question: How much of a "crack-down" is a voluntary code of conduct?

Mark Walley

Also, isn't the point of Brick Lane the experience and the haggling? Sure they can be too aggressive, but the fun of it is to try and get a better deal. There are plenty of better Indians elsewhere, but for a group night out, it's quite a laugh. Remove the haggling element and I'm not sure there would be any point going.


Worse things happen at sea!


The food quality has gone downhill since Brick Lane's curry hey day in the 1980's. Just improve the restaurant/food experience for the diner. A lot of diners are just passing through so the restranteurs attitude to customers has gotten lax, but this attitude stops customers becoming reguar customers. Pick up your act and get a good name for your restaurants and maybee you wouldn't have to tout so much.

Sophie Hobson

If we want London to be able to put on the best Olympics it can, then we have to go beyond the games and ensure the overall image of the
area is the best it can possibly be.
Sophie Hobson, deputy editor, London Loves Business


All the good curry places are in Bethnal Green and Southall anyway.

Brick Lane is the Bangladeshi Camden Town