Restaurant

Name: Mirch Masala
Area: Whitechapel
Address: 111-113 Commercial Road
London E1 1RD
Phone: 020 7377 0155
Website: www.mirchmasalarestaurant.co.uk

Visits to this restaurant ...

1. 7 Jan 2012


Tim's (BYO) wine was very nice apparently. (Well, he did drink the whole bottle.)

Visit Report

Visit Number: 141 (visit 1 of 1 for this restaurant)
Date of visit: 7 Jan 2012 (Re-scheduled Dec 2011 outing)
Cost per head: £20.00 (1.5 beers)

Serv Amb Beer Start Nan Rice Main Veg VFM Score Comments
Overall 7.0 4.9 8.9 6.1 5.6 6.5 4.9 8.3 6.64
John 6 5 8 4 4 4 4 6 5.2 See John's comments
Mark 6 6 9 7 6 7 4 9 6.9 See Mark's comments
Jeff 6 6 10 7 6 6 4 10 6.9 See Jeff's comments
Neil 9 5 10 10 6 7 7 9 7.9 See Neil's comments
Graeme 8 3 10 3 6 7 3 7 6.2 See Graeme's comments
Richard 7 5 10 5 6 8 4 10 7.2 See Richard's comments
Tony (Guest) 8 6 6 5 4 5 6 7 5.8 See Tony's comments
Tim 6 3 8 8 7 8 7 8 7.1 See Tim's comments

All Comments

John - Excellent starters (mixed kebabs, chops, chicken, onion argy-bargy) followed by a somewhat disappointing main. Not sure if my low mark is due to the fact that I was so stuffed after the starters but my chicken tikka masala had a processed look and feel to it. The aloo sag was a bit dull too.  Cheap as chips though.

Mark - An enjoyable few pints of Doombar to start followed by a stroll down the road to Mirch Masala via the offie to pick up some beers. Place was very basic & fairly empty so we had no trouble getting seated. We went for the Mix Grill starter with some Onion Bhaji & to be honest if we had ordered some rice, bread & veg to go with it I would have been very satisfied. Lamb chops not as good as across the road but overall I thought it was far better & good value. Shared a main meal of Chicken Ginger with Jeff & that was tasty as well although the Aloo Sag was a bit naff. Nan was fairly flat but I liked them more than some of the tasteless offerings elsewhere. Unusual to hear Griff trumped by Robin with the best excuse for not coming but nearly having a gay, bald son had us all in shock!

Jeff - Starting to become a bit of a habit, this cheap and cheerful outing was a big improvement on the massively grotty Lahore Kebab House. We met in what turned out to be an excellent pub, the Hoop and Grapes in Aldgate, serving a good choice of ales for less then £3 a pint. The cafe/restaurant was bright and breezy, not too busy, with a young crowd.  Poppadoms were brought immediately with raita and a pickle, we then ordered a selection of meat starters - these were excellent, the highlight being the spicy chicken legs - succulent and hot.  We ordered mains after this, but I was already feeling quite full.  Main of chicken with ginger was good but not outstanding, rice ok, sag aloo rather wet. Big choice of breads which were also quite good. A bill of £115 between 8 was a pleasant surprise, meaning the place scores high for VFM. Interesting discussion about what Neil was doing in the toilets for so long, introducing the concept of a 'number 3'.

Neil - Quite simply it's a mini version of the Lahore Kebab House. A lot less noisy and the main courses much better. Recommend the Keema Naan, much better than in most curry houses. Also worth noting, if you want Kingfisher over Cobra, go to the off licence across the road not the one next door.

Graeme - Mirch Masala is a slightly down-market version of the Lahore (which is just across the street). It's a no-frills, no-alcohol place with basic furniture, no decoration to speak of and a fairly simple menu. However, the quality of the food was generally good, especially the mixed grill starter which was excellent. Unfortunately, the Keema Nan was disappointing (I shared it with Neil and he thought it was a good one!) and the Aloo Sag was too sloppy and had that metallic taste that Spinach sometimes has. The cost, including the BYO beer, was very reasonable at £20 p/h (like Brick Lane 10 years ago?). Overall, I enjoyed the experience but I wouldn't want to go to this type of place every time. Neil's extended stay in the toilet prompted some speculation as to the purpose of his visit: a No. 1, a No. 2 or, as Jeff suggested, a No. 3 (don't ask)? For no good reason, the conversation then turned to Suzi Perry and her female co-presenter on The Gadget Show. [I've since found out that her name is Pollyanna and, with a name like that, you could correctly guess that she doesn't look like Hilda Ogden!]

Richard - A rare honour for me to be CC, and I was glad to take the club to Mirch Masala, which I think cannot be left out of a guide to city curry houses. This is how Brick Lane curry houses used to be – good nosh, cheap and cheerful (no touting), and BYO. The food is similar to the Lahore, with fabulous starters of shredded onion bhaji, and delicious kebabs, grilled meats and lamb chops. My main of bindhi ghost was very good, although the food was let down by a below par sag aloo. Is it as good as the Lahore? Very close, and maybe dependent on the dishes chosen, but I would say Lahore was slightly better for starters and atmosphere but slightly worse for main dishes. At least I would recommend going here if Lahore was busy or you didn't fancy its upstairs refectory atmosphere. Check out the Tooting branch if nearby. John was apparently "going to drop a housebrick" after the quantity of food he ate – we await the result keenly.

Tony - Basic venue with BYOB, so the £2.50 for large Cobra's from down the road keeps cost low. The place was quiet, only a couple of tables occupied when we rolled up; although more came later. Still a rather brightly lit, utalitarian bright coloured decor more designed as a functional space rather than as a place to linger, lounge and consume. Lots of attentive waiters was unusual; who were quick to take orders and deliver. Poppadoms were limited as only two sauces were provided which were basic, although the lettuce/tomatoes/onions were at least fresh. The mixed grill starter was meaty and spicy and promised good vibes for the mains. However my ginger chicken was rather bland and tasteless with no substance to the sauce, so has been marked low. Little or no choice of veg sides was disappointing, but the low prices of all dishes means that it is no big deal to order a veg main and treat as it as a large side dish. The rice I felt was poor, again bland. So all and all, can't recommend the place, but good to see the good service. A cafe rather than a restaurant is my verdict.

Tim - Mirch Masala has the ambience of a cafeteria, rather than a restaurant, with its harsh lighting, lack of table cloths, cheap tables etc.  This is a bring-your-own-bottle place (no corkage), and fortunately there is a couple of off-licences nearby; the one across the road having the better selection. We all shared a starter of mixed meats, onion bhaji and sauces, which was tasty and plentiful. Main of chicken methi was good, as was the Peshwari nan. The overall cost was very reasonable, even allowing for the saving on the drinks.


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