Whilst Brick Lane increasingly crosses our radar with its arty, music, edgy fashion or pop up boutique bar aspects the southern stretch remains, first and foremost, Banglatown. It's a byword for curry infamous with its ever persistent fleet of curry touts as much as for the hit and miss nature of your restaurant pick. This week the Banglatown Restaurant Association roll out the bunting for the launch of the 2009 Brick Lane Curry Festival aimed at raising the profile of its 56 restaurants and promoting authentic Bangladeshi cuisine over the Anglo-Indian staples that many expect as a staple ruby.
For two weeks the food takes to the streets between midday and midnight. Brick Lane will be lined with stalls rather than touts, offering you the chance to browse before you buy, with the food in front of you rather than discounts and promises of freebies (although we hope there will be some of them too).
To get things simmering on Wednesday there's a curry competition with the title Chef of the Year: Banglatown '09 at stake. Participants will prepare and dishes of their choice in an outdoor kitchen for food connoisseurs and passers-by to taste, before a winner is picked from a panel of judges. We will be there, fork and camera in hand.
If you miss the award winning curry, look out for the festival's special dish - the Brick Lane Green Curry. With restaurateurs keen to shift the emphasis to Bangladeshi cuisine and appeal to today's health conscious consumer, the green curry is a low fat vegetable curry starring the Bangladeshi vegetable turia, grown at Spitalfields City Farm. Let us know what you think of it.
Brick Lane Curry Festival runs from 27 September - 10 October, midday to midnight. The curry competition takes place on Wednesday 23 September from 11am.
Image by k e n c h i e via the Londonist Flickrpool