Review: Tandoor Chop House
Londonist readers will know that good curries are not found on Brick Lane. They know that good grills (lamb chops, seekh kebabs) are to be found in the kebab houses of Whitechapel (Lahore Kebab House, Tayyabs, Needo Grill), that Southall is the place to head for Punjabi food, and so on.
In recent years, we've seen a wave of higher-end Indian restaurants (Trishna, Cinnamon Club, Gymkhana) and now, there's a trend for casual Anglo-Indians with an upmarket brasserie feel, serving playful mashups like the bacon and egg naan at Dishoom, or the devilled scotch egg at Talli Joe. They're not afraid to bring punchy flavour; dishes sparkle with smack your lips spicing and glisten with washes of ghee.
Tandoor Chop House is one such place. Described as a meeting of a 'classic British chop house' (a place where men went to eat steak, basically) and a North Indian café, you will find naan bread reinforced with British dexter beef dripping (or bone marrow), and pollock rubbed with masala and poked towards the tandoor (rubbish fish, pollock but sustainable so, hey ho); bhajis are made-over as onion rings.
About those bhajis: they're great, but for a slight design fault where onion slips from batter and slaps you on the chin (easily prevented by removing the thin membrane prior to battering); no matter, they’re nearly fantastic and a great redesign of a snack which can often be dense and claggy. Other snacks include a standout seekh kebab on mini naan, the building blocks for a glorious sloppy sandwich, the meat boasting a grassy thrum from bags of coriander.
Main courses are generous, chicken is huge in fact, while lamb chops are smothered in a thick paste of strained yoghurt and spice, flesh tender, fat still spitting. To finish, we suck back hot sticky pineapple, scorched and sweetened by coals, served with honey ice cream. Tandoor dreams.
Stepping inside Tandoor Chop House is to enter a place of skewers, flames and smoke. It's a dimly lit room, dominated at one end by a kitchen where metal flashes in and out of tandoors, bread slaps against hot clay, and buzzing chatter is fuelled by great cocktails. It's a bold, zippy reminder of how this cuisine has evolved in London but mostly, it's just really good fun.
Tandoor Chop House, 8 Adelaide Street, WC2N 4HZ
Last Updated 16 December 2016