Name: The Empress
Area: Whitechapel
Address: 141 Leman Street
London E1 8EY
Phone: 020 7265 0745

Visits to this restaurant ...

1. 25 Apr 2013|2. 30 Jan 2014|3. 24 Sep 2015|4. 24 Nov 2016|5. 25 May 2017
6. 31 May 2018|7. 28 Nov 2019|8. 30 Sep 2021

The Mateus (Matoose?) Rose makes a comeback for our discerning Aussie.

Visit Report

Visit Number: 157 (visit 1 of 8 for this restaurant)
Date of visit: 25 Apr 2013
Cost per head: £28.00 (1.5 beers)

Serv Amb Beer Start Nan Rice Main Veg VFM Score Comments
Overall 8.4 7.4 6.8 7.2 7.4 6.5 8.3 7.5 7.9 7.55
Jon 9 7 7 6 7 7 8 9 9 7.6 See Jon's comments
Graeme 9 6 6 7 6 6 7 8 6 6.8 See Graeme's comments
Dave 9 9 7 8 9 7 10 8 8 8.5 See Dave's comments
Brian 8 8 7 9 7 7 9 8 8 8.0 See Brian's comments
Tim 8 6 4 9 7 7 8 7 6 7.1 See Tim's comments
Mark 9 8 7 6 6 9 7 7 7.5 See Mark's comments
Neil 7 7 7 5 8 7 7 7 9 7.0 See Neil's comments
Dominic 9 7 9 9 6 7 6 9 7.7 See Dominic's comments
Robin 7 7 6 6 7 4 9 7 8 7.0 See Robin's comments
Richard 9 9 8 7 8 8 9 8 9 8.3 See Richard's comments

All Comments

Jon - The Empress has a varied menu with plenty to choose from and it put in a good performance.  After a pleasant few pints of "St George" in the Brown Bear next door, we found the restaurant fairly empty although with ten of us in there it soon livened up.  I went for a starter of Khadom Phool which, while pleasant, didn't really blow me away.  I was less of a "phool" with my main course and went for a Lamb Rajshahi - plenty of chillies made it quite hot and it had a lovely flavour, although I've had better MAEs. The accompaniments were all good, as was the service, and it proved to be excellent value.

Graeme - A bit different to the norm. Most of the dishes on the menu were unusual, ie. not mainstream. Standard anglo-curry dishes (Madras, Jalfrezi, etc) were notable by their absence. The head waiter was a bit of a character too - quite funny. I liked this place and wanted to mark it higher but my food was not that great - good but not special. Mind you, my menu choices were (self) limited to mild dishes as I was due to accompany my mother to hospital the next day and did not want to blast her with my spicy / garlic breath. All-in-all though, a good experience, and I would like to go back.

Dave - Very enjoyable outing to the Empress Indian preceded by a pleasant couple of pints in the "beer garden" at the Brown Bear.  My Salmon Shaslik main was superb and overall the friendly and welcoming atmosphere provided by the owner and his staff should secure an Empress return in 2014.

Brian - Enjoyed the evening.  Located next door to the Brown Bear, this was very convenient for any of us working in the Aldgate/Whitechapel area!  Starter of mussels was both different and tasty, and my lamb shank main was also very good indeed.  I'd need a side by side taste test to determine exactly how it compared to the Mehek's version, but that is both impracticable and inadvisable.  Sides and rice / bread were all good, and the staff seemed friendly enough - good to see Jon return and not get in a slanging match with them!

Tim - A new restaurant for us this month, conveniently sited next to the Brown Bear pub, where we met, and managed to enjoy some welcome sunshine. The restaurant claims to have been voted "the best restaurant in London", and is 2 doors away from another restaurant, which claims to have been voted "best Indian restaurant in London" ... by the same publication. Inside is pleasant enough, but it suffers from the common problem of long, thin restaurants, that whoever sits with their back to the wall either can't get out, or has to keep getting up to allow other people to get out. A bit of a disappointment to start with - Kingfisher was only available in small bottles, at an outrageous £3.50 a bottle, and the St Emilion that was advertised on their take away menus and online was not available. Indeed their web site and take away menus seem a bit out-of-date compared with the menu in the restaurant. Five pickles accompanied the poppadoms, including a spicy onion one. Starter of house special chat was very good, as was the main of lamb rajshahi, though it wasn't quite as spicy as I was expecting. No problems with the rest of the food. A special mention should be made of the manager, who was friendly and helpful throughout the meal, and agreed to provide a generous free round of port at the end of the meal. Overall, an enjoyable meal, and I'd be happy to go back.

Mark - Fancy letting an Aussie choose a venue on Anzac day - Dom selecting a venue out of the telephone directory & nowhere near a tube station so the success of the evening was obviously pure luck and not due to his CC duties! Good ol' boozer to start even if I got Brian the wrong beer once I was trusted with the whip. Even I managed to find the right curry house and we were warmly greeted by the manager/owner. Service was friendly all round and so good that Jon avoided an argument for the first time this year - just remind me not to sit on his right when he tries to squeeze onto a table with the bigger of our weight loss hero's. Starter was some unusual balls that were beef covered in sesame seeds which was OK but not wonderful. Main had some good chicken in a lovely sauce without being too hot which was my choice due to a day on the golf couse to follow. Next time I might up the ante. Many locals turned up during the meal which was a good sign and the offer of port at the end was most welcome. I think we could be returning as it was such an enjoyable evening.

Neil - Cheeky waiters, great atmosphere and next door to the pub! Food mainly good only let down by very average mixed starter. I'd go back especially given the very reasonable prices.

Dominic - Another foray out east this visit, where this new eatery had a "Boozer" conveniently located next door. The venue was modern and intimate and very busy once 8.30 / 9pm struck. Our table was close to the door and a little cramped if truth be told otherwise higher marks would have been awarded to what was a very good ambience. The waiters were all good and we were regaled by the owner / manager who entertained us during the meal. The menu was extensive with a number of unusual dishes although I opted for the Lamb Chops starter which consisted of two tender chops topped with a very tasty juice which certainly had a little kick to it and made me lose my voice for a short time! My main of the Seafood Bhuna was the first time I had seen this dish and quite good as well. The sides were all OK but the wine list was very good and the "old favourite" was a welcome surprise. A free round of liqueurs was also a very nice touch. This was an excellent meal in what hopefully will become a new favourite. And once again an evening full of enjoyable banter even though I did raise an eyebrow or two at Graeme who seems to be "wooing" the slim-down-version-of-Griff ... after telling him "you look fit to me now". He decided to further impress him by demonstrating how he could spit rice into my wine glass from across the table!!!

Robin - A bit of a trek to get there, but mostly worth it. I had a fairly average King Prawn Puree to start (although reasonably cheap at £4.60), then the excellent Khala Lamb Bhuna - lovely tender meat in an aromatic sauce with just a bit of a kick. Shame about the "special" rice (basically just rice with some chickpeas added) but the other veg dishes were quite good, as was the keema nan. I marked VFM up because the overall price was about as low as it gets these days.

Richard - I really liked this place. It was hard to fault anything really. My main of Dhaka Murh Dansak was one of the best dishes I have had in any curry house - chicken breast stuffed with mince and spinach. Portions were generous too, so no need for any other food all weekend! All other dishes were high quality and very reasonably priced, service was friendly. A worthy top 6 entry!

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