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

Tim (right) wasn't wrong when he said he was a bit p****d that night!

Visit Report

Visit Number: 166 (visit 2 of 8 for this restaurant)
Date of visit: 30 Jan 2014
Cost per head: £29.00 (1.5 beers)

Serv Amb Beer Start Nan Rice Main Veg VFM Score Comments
Overall 8.6 7.7 6.8 7.8 8.3 7.2 8.4 7.2 8.5 7.87
Richard 9 8 7 7 8 7 9 8 9 8.0 See Richard's comments
John 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10.0 See John's comments
Jeff 9 8 6 6 8 6 8 6 8 7.2 See Jeff's comments
Jon 9 8 7 7 10 8 9 8 8 8.2 See Jon's comments
Robin 7 8 7 9 8 9 9 8 10 8.4 See Robin's comments
Alex 9 8 7 8 8 9 8 9 8.3 See Alex's comments
Dave 10 10 6 7 9 8 8 7 9 8.1 See Dave's comments
Mark 8 8 6 6 8 9 6 8 7.5 See Mark's comments
Graeme 9 6 6 9 7 6 6 7 7 7.0 See Graeme's comments
Neil 8 7 7 9 8 5 8 6 9 7.6 See Neil's comments
Dominic 9 8 8 7 6 8 6 9 7.8 See Dominic's comments
Colin (Guest) 8 5 5 8 8 6 8 7 7.1 See Colin's comments
Tim 7 6 6 8 7 7 8 6 7 7.0 See Tim's comments

All Comments

Richard - Another great meal at the Empress. Although I had no recollection of being there before, my previous currymarks say I was, and like last time I enjoyed the whole experience. Starter of pepper stuffed with lamb was large and tasty, and the main of Dhaka Murgh Dansak (chicken breast stuffed with mince and spinach) was delicious. Side dishes and nan were also very good and beer was well priced giving a very reasonable bill. The owner took great pride in his food and was very welcoming, and we'll be back for sure.

John - If this curry house was on Strictly it would be Abbey Clancy.

Jeff - This place is a very good find, off the beaten track in South Whitechapel, still busy and smart. The pub next door served good beer at reasonable prices. The Empress' genial owner, fully aware of his Currymarks status, gave us special attention all evening and considering there there were 13 of us, service was pretty quick and very polite. My mark would have been even higher if there had been a wider choice of beer: and in the King Prawn main (only £9.95) the prawns were plentiful but a little hard; and the vegtables I had were a little tasteless. Altogether I'd look forward to returning if this place remained in the top 6.

Jon - A strong performance by the Empress which should keep it firmly in the top six.  The service was excellent and the food was very good.  I chose the Khadom Phool as a starter, which was minced lamb with mashed potato – it was tasty, but to paraphrase a big black man with a fondness for jewellery, I pity the phool who expects a lot of lamb in a Khadom Phool.  The same could not be said of my lamb dansak main course which had lots of very tasty and tender lamb – very nice.  As for the keema nan (bit of a lamb fest), it was probably the best I've ever had – absolutely wonderful.  Even accounting for the substantial whip residue, it was a reasonable price so good marks for VFM as well.  And congratulations to Colin on becoming the youngest ever attendee at a CurryMarks evening.

Robin - A very good meal once again. The manager offered to make my king prawn puree starter "a little bit spicier", and it was excellent, although another prawn or two would have been welcome. My main course of chicken tikka rogan josh was superb; a lovely aromatic, spicy sauce that managed somehow not to overpower the flavour of the chicken tikka - a wonderful combination. My (half) keema nan was very good as were the veg dishes. I was a little disappointed by the "special" rice on our previous visit, so I went for mushroom rice instead. Good choice; almost as much mushroom as rice - lovely! So finally the initial beer whip call has gone up from £10 to £15, and I subsidised the final outcome a bit by only having three beers in the pub, as I expect did others. The residual whip money helped to reduce the final call to £26 per head, and it's been a long time since it's been that low. Without that consideration the final price per head was still only £29, and with food of this quality (and despite the remote location) I have to give the VFM score a maximum.

Alex - Nice place, good food and enthusiastic service. Tables a bit small, lighting a bit low for oldies with bad eyesight trying read the menu and location a bit obscure, but these are minor issues.

Dave - Another excellent evening at the Empress. Well looked after by the manager - even included demonstration of instant hot towel (which I nearly ate as I thought it was an after dinner mint!). Food of very good standard and good bustling atmosphere. Will look forward to returning - genuine contender with the Mehek for top spot.

Mark - The Empress continues to rule. Good drink to start although I think we do still need to reconsider the whip process. Our return to the venue was well greeted and we sat in the same long bench but with a gap in the middle to allow egress. This resulted in 2 separate sections and I'm not sure it worked. Pops were good with a choice of 5 chutneys, I then had the pancakes to start which was unusual but not something I would choose again. Nothing wrong with them, just a bit bland for my taste. Chicken Buhna and Mushroom rice for main was very good with the large meat chunks some of the best for many a year. Shame there is no draft beer but OK otherwise. TC ended the evening as more like Officer Dribble than Top Cat. Dom questioning my music knowledge again - when will he learn - I should have had a bet. Nice digestif, shame it meant a later train.

Graeme - I like The Empress but it's not quite as good as it could be. Although the service was excellent, the manager was a bit over-powering in trying to 'sell' the restaurant. (Unusually, he knew about us being a curry club with a website so maybe he was just being enthusiastic in the promotion of his restaurant.) I also don't like the fact that they use diced chicken in a lot of the main dishes - it has happened to me on both our visits so far - it makes me think (maybe incorrectly) that the chicken is cheap. My main of Chicken Rezala was disappointing - it was OK but not as tasty as this dish should be. On the plus side, my starter of Nazakat (a variation of Chicken Tikka) was very succulent & tasty and there was plenty of it too. It was good to see Dom in slightly better spirits than last time but he hit me with a low blow in asking for settlement of our Ashes bet - just when I thought the Winter of cricket couldn't get any worse.

Neil - The Empress lived up to its reputation as a great curry house next door to great curry pub, both being relatively inexpensive. The only downside being a longish walk from the nearest station, this time, however, I didn't spend half an hour walking up and down the wrong street. As for the food, I enjoyed the mixed starter but didn't realise the mixed tandoori was practically the same dish with the addition of a couple of lamb chops. A real meat feast in the end! I thought the garlic nan and the poppadum dishes were worthy of a top class restaurant but the rice and sides a bit limited. Can't have it all. Thanks to Tim for again working out the relative beer costs, saving us some money (for more beer!). We also had a full wine glass of Port as a free, quite a bonus.

Dominic - A return out East this month and once again a very good evening in this modern eatery. The service was again very good aided by the attentive owner. I chose the mixed starter consisting of three good pieces of chicken, lamb and potato followed by an excellent and generous Garlic Chilli Chicken. The sides were all fine and the wine list of good quality and price. A very welcome free round at the end of what can only be described as the most generous portions seen! An excellent meal and another great evening of banter including mention of Alice Cooper, Nazareth and Jim Capaldi!

Colin - I thought the starter, main and naans were fantastic, possibly one of the best I've ever had.  For the quality of the food I thought the price was reasonable, maybe a little more then I would usually pay.  That said, it is hard for me to compare as that is the first curry house I've visited in London and for all I know the prices may be competitive.  Areas of criticism would be the ambience and beer.  I thought the restaurant was too dark and in some ways reflective of curry houses in 80's/90's.  As for the beer, very little choice.  Not much to say for the rice as I only had boiled.  All in all I was very impressed.

Tim - A large turnout for the first visit of 2014. After a pleasant few pints at the Brown Bear, we only had to go to next door for the restaurant. A (self-imposed) limited choice of beer was available in the restaurant, given that Cobra was £5 a bottle, and Kingfisher worked out at £7 for the same amount of beer. The manager managed to find some off-menu St Emilion and we also tried some Rioja - not bad, but quite expensive. As before, there were five pickles accompanying the poppadoms, the extra one being an interesting spicy onion one. Starter of house special chat was good. After that, it gets a bit hazy. I remember enjoying the main course, though I was less impressed with the paneer masala; other places have a similar dish, but the cheese is in breadcrumbs, which makes it more interesting. The free round of liqueurs at the end was welcome, though maybe not strictly necessary at this point for me. Overall cost was pretty reasonable, though there was quite a large contribution from the whip left over from the pub, and I don't know if we got our 10% discount from the discount card we were given last time.

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