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

Dom, you can take your hand off my arse now.

Visit Report

Visit Number: 185 (visit 3 of 8 for this restaurant)
Date of visit: 24 Sep 2015
Cost per head: £26.00 (2 beers)

Serv Amb Beer Start Nan Rice Main Veg VFM Score Comments
Overall 8.0 7.2 6.8 8.3 7.5 6.7 8.3 7.5 8.7 7.74
Mark 7 6 6 6 8 8 8 7.1 See Mark's comments
Jeff 9 7 4 7 6 8 6 8 7.0 See Jeff's comments
Robin 7 8 7 9 8 8 9 8 10 8.3 See Robin's comments
John 8 8 8 8 7 7 7 7 9 7.6 See John's comments
Richard 9 9 9 9 8 8 9 9 9 8.7 See Richard's comments
Alex 9 8 7 8 8 9 9 9 8.4 See Alex's comments
Neil 7 7 5 9 6 3 8 8 8 7.0 See Neil's comments
Graeme 8 6 6 7 7 8 7 7 7.1 See Graeme's comments
Brian 8 7 8 10 8 7 8 8 10 8.3 See Brian's comments
Dave 9 9 7 10 8 7 10 8 8 8.7 See Dave's comments
Dominic 8 6 9 8 6 8 7 10 7.9 See Dominic's comments
Tim 7 5 5 8 7 7 8 5 8 6.9 See Tim's comments

All Comments

Mark - Having been chased from the pub by the waiters to ensure our table we were then crammed into the other side of the thin room this time (lucky that we are all slim chaps!). Bottled Cobra to kick off with Pops and a very spicy chilli onion mix to add some early kick. My Narakat starter - chicken skewer with cheese I was told - was then a bit bland. Followed this with Lamb Mushroom curry which was very tasty and the meat nice and tender. Rice was light and tasty, looking more wholemeal than usual pilau versions. Overall the meal was good at a reasonable price and evening was most enjoyable even if we again managed to have enough left overs to feed Tim for day or 2. This place is always popular and due to size gets crowded - is that good or bad ? And why didn't Neil have a Flake?

Jeff - This place, off the beaten track in South Whitechapel, is a little awkward to get to but worth it.  Very good service with personal attention from the manager. Good sized portions all round, tasty chicken and lamb, and reasonable prices. A free round of ports was an unexpected end to the meal, but considering how busy they are, they really ought to stock a better beer selection. I think the ambience here was not quite as good as last time, partly because we were right by the door and a little squashed. Even more unexpected was a trip on the DLR from Tower Gateway to Lewisham with Griff, at least saving us the long chilly walk back to London Bridge.

Robin - I had exactly the same meal again since it was so good last time. The slightly spicy (by request) king prawn puree didn't disappoint, and even had more prawns in it than before. The chicken tikka rogan josh was also just as good as last time; a beautiful combination of tasty chicken in a sublime sauce. The veg dishes were also very good as was my half of keema nan, but I felt that the mushroom rice was not quite as mushroomy as it could have been, so 1 point less this time. Still marvellous value for money at £25 per head, ergo a maximum for VFM.

John - Chose the wrong thing – special chicken tikka masala – tasted nice but should have gone for the garlic chilli chicken. Other than that all good as usual. Glad Brian enjoyed the high-brow conversation at our end of the table. I'm sure once he's got the interweb installed and face page up and running he'll be pressing the "like" button!

Richard - This is one of my favourite places. The menu is interesting without the feeling they are trying too hard at good value prices - my lamb chop starter came with generous and very tasty chops, and the soft shell crab main was tasty without being pretentious. The restaurant is a little cramped, but it has a nice feel and welcoming staff, with a proper pub next door to meet in. Overall, I'd say the Empress is a great place and I hope it retains a top place.

Alex - Nice place, interesting dishes and not very pricey. Big mains, didn't have quite enough space to finish mine. Will remember to starve myself beforehand next time.

Neil - Back to The Empress, first meeting at The Brown Bear pub next door. Great to drink somewhere off the beaten track at least once a year, although I think the beer prices are now 'suit adjusted' as they were at least a pound cheaper when we first started. The background music seemed to be chosen by John (Mod) from what I could tell, not a bad thing. The Empress came up to its normal high standard. Special mention for the super-hot onion relish, which made the rest of the meal taste slightly tame! Also, the Chicken tikka starter which was large and very tender. I also liked the Sag Aloo which was very tasty indeed. Only a small downside in that the special rice was quite bland, basically a few chick peas thrown in.

Graeme - Another enjoyable visit to the Empress. I wouldn't say that it is a great place but, on the other hand, it doesn't do much wrong either. To start, I had Nazakat (grilled chicken) - very tender. For main, I went for the Korai Kebab Khyber - not particularly hot (spice-wise) but very tasty. Whenever I see the word "Khyber", I can't help thinking of the film "Carry On Up the Khyber" - I'm not proud of it! I met Dom at King's Cross station for a pre-drink drink - when we left there to meet the others, Dom persuaded me to catch a bus to Aldgate - an hour later, we had to get off to walk the rest of the way as a road on the normal bus route was closed - I've disliked buses since my school days and this did nothing to change my mind.

Brian - Mussels starter was again superb - large mussels in half-shells in a lovely sauce.  Main of Salmon Shaslick was very good - in hindsight I should really have ordered something with a bit more sauce.  Sides all good, glass or two of red wine was welcome and enjoyable.  I'd be happy to see this stay in the top 6.

Dave - With the demise of the Mehek, and the Herb & Spice, the field has been left clear for the Empress to take its rightful place on the curry house throne. A tremendous king prawn puri followed by a "made to order" chicken curry were both top drawer. This coupled with tremendous service leaves little to find fault with (except for small bottles of kingfisher only). Will look forward to returning there next year.

Dominic - This is our current leader and September's visit did itself no harm at all in my opinion. I'll start with the only slight negative: we seem to be placed more often than not near the entrance which is especially tight for us "big lads" so was feeling a tad uncomfortable and appeared to invade Jeff's "airspace" on more than one occasion - note for next year, ask to be seated round the corner! Now, without looking at last year's review, I happened to choose exactly the same dishes of the Mixed Starter and the Garlic Chilli Chicken!! ... and both were very good indeed but next year I must just have the Nazakat starter on its own as this was truly the standout of the three starter pieces. The rest was fine with the wine being excellent - taste and cost. An excellent venue for VFM and another great night of banter including a certain weather presenter ... Suzi got the night off!!!

Tim - The Empress is quite a narrow restaurant; they'd turned tables round and pushed them together to accommodate us (compared with the gallery pictures on their web site), but this meant the gap between us and the tables behind was quite small for waiters and customers to get past. I marked the beer down because they sell Cobra at nearly £5 for a large bottle, but Kingfisher works out at nearly £7 for the same amount. It was nice to see the extra-spicy onion accompaniment for the poppadoms again, although it was even hotter than last time. The Empress mixed starter wasn't bad, but for the price, I've had bigger and better mixed starters. Chicken Jalfong main was tasty and plentiful, but the accompanying veg dishes, particularly the sag aloo and brinjal were rather bland, seemingly little more than just boiled veg with little in the way of herbs and spices. Keema nan was quite tasty, though it seemed surprisingly garlicky (it might have been sitting on top of a garlic nan in the kitchen). Service was fine, and the free round of port at the end was very welcome. Overall VFM was good; I think this was partly because of a 10% discount card.

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