Name: The Halal
Area: Aldgate
Address: 2 St. Mark Street
London E1 8DJ
Phone: 020 7481 1700

Visits to this restaurant ...

1. 25 Apr 2002|2. 29 Oct 2015|3. 26 Sep 2019

Neil celebrates his 100th appearance with his (massive) commemorative engraved glass.

Visit Report

Visit Number: 186 (visit 2 of 3 for this restaurant)
Date of visit: 29 Oct 2015
Cost per head: £25.00 (2 beers)

Serv Amb Beer Start Nan Rice Main Veg VFM Score Comments
Overall 6.6 6.1 6.9 6.7 7.4 6.9 6.9 6.9 7.2 6.82
Brian 8 7 7 8 7 7 8 7 9 7.6 See Brian's comments
Mark 7 6 6 7 8 8 9 7.4 See Mark's comments
Jon 5 6 7 7 6 6 7 8 7 6.6 See Jon's comments
Dave 7 7 8 8 10 8 8 7 7 7.8 See Dave's comments
Robin 6 6 6 7 7 8 8 7 7 7.0 See Robin's comments
Neil 7 6 6 3 10 6 6 7 6 6.1 See Neil's comments
Dominic 7 7 8 6 5 6 6 8 6.5 See Dominic's comments
Tim 5 5 7 8 3 7 7 7 7 6.4 See Tim's comments
Aneta (Guest) 8 4 7 6 9 7 7 6.8 See Aneta's comments
Alex 6 7 7 7 7 4 6 5 5.9 See Alex's comments

All Comments

Brian - Very much an old-style curry house this one.  Enjoyed the prawn puri starter, and a lovely Lamb Sag for my main, with heaps of tender meat.  Veg sides were all good, especially the chick peas.  Staff seemed prompt and engaging - I particularly enjoyed one of their comments about their "dumb waiter" colleague.  All in all, a pleasant enough outing, although I doubt whether it had enough about it to make the top 6.

Mark - A return to The Halal saw us celebrate a Century for Neil. Also congrats to Grandad Graeme. Good pub to start with tales of yore about Brian/Kylie, a 2 minute warning from our jobless rep and some good beer. Had no recollection of previous visit so forgot the free veg samosa starter. I had chicken version as my choice and they were good but the main was even better. Sag Gosht was meat with spinach rather than the other way round as per other venues - lovely. Rice was plentiful and not bad. Will Labour win another election before Boris becomes PM? Or should we fine the rich more than the poor for same crime? Debate continues (but hopefully not when I'm around).

Jon - It was a fairly middle-of-the-road performance from the Halal, although good value.  I've marked the service low because, while it was attentive and we all got what we ordered, they didn't appear to have enough menus, they were not particularly good at replacing cutlery between courses, and the one spoon per condiment rule that most restaurants seem to work to was not rigorously applied.  My reshmi kebab starter was not on the small menu, but it was tasty nonetheless, and my meat dansak main was pretty good.  The veg dishes were particularly good, although the meat distribution in the keema nan was somewhat uneven.  I wouldn't rush back, but then I wouldn't be that disappointed to return.

Dave - Enjoyed the return visit to the "oldest Indian eatery in East London".  Excellent Poppadoms and Nan Bread, draught Heineken, good amount of sauce with the curry and a tasty Prawn Puri all contributed to a good overall experience.  Also glad to see they still uphold their traditional free Veggie Samosa to start and Murray mints to finish off. Don't think we should wait another 13 years before we return!

Robin - A vast improvement since our last visit 13 years ago. Perhaps the previous chef succumbed to food poisoning! I had a reshmi kebab to start, which was a little dry but tasty enough. My main course was the prawn pathia special of the day, which was very good and also very plentiful. The special rice was actually special this time and there was masses of it. I wound up feeling extremely full and even had to leave a little on my plate - a rare occurrence! Very nice veg dishes too, and the VFM overall was pretty good. I'd be quite happy to go back again at some point, but I don't think this place belongs in our top 6.

Neil - All curry houses deserve a second chance in my book and being the CC for my 100th visit I thought there may have been a change of ownership and subsequent improvement over the past 12 years at The Halal. Well, it didn't start too well with not enough menus to go around, and the '1 plain 1 spicy' guy having to be told a couple a couple of times that's not how we do things! The starter (mixed kebab) further let the side down by being very chewy indeed. The main course was much better however, and saved the day. A very reasonable rogan gosh and special rice, plus an excellent stuffed paratha which beats anything I've had elsewhere. Service improved vastly even to the point where they ran over to the pub with my forgotten bag. I strongly doubt if we'll go back for another decade but not a bad evening.

Dominic - Certainly a long time "between drinks" for this eatery given the only other visit was in 2002! But good to see Diggers giving it a 2nd chance after its lacklustre debut. It's a cosy restaurant well positioned opposite a decent boozer. And I liked the retro plastic, no-nonsense menus although I was once again "wedged" in my seat! I found the service a little too quick to order for us which I find irritating but have countered this (marks-wise) with the fact that our waiter tracked us down in said boozer after the meal to give Diggers his forgotten bag - a great gesture. For my starter I followed Jon's lead of the off-menu Reshmi Kebab which was fine probably as they left the condiments which gave it some flavour. My main was one of the specials being Garlic Chicken Massala which was again ok but not extraordinary. The rest was ok with the highlight being the beloved Mateus! Overall an unexceptional performance but quite good VFM. Congrats to Diggers on becoming a "Centurian" and no more post-meal drinking for Tim!!!

Tim - When we arrived, they hadn't got our table ready, even though we'd booked, and then when we sat down, we found one of the tables was bolted to the floor, making it a bit of a squeeze to sit down. The tables were also quite small; later on the waiters struggled to find space to put down the food, and ended up in some cases just handing the dishes to us to try to find space for. The spicy poppadoms were rather burnt in places; they had five accompaniments including a fairly pleasant tomatoey one; the mango chutney and lime pickle were both rather runny. We were also given some complimentary samosas, which were rather nice: crisp pastry and plenty of filling. Mixed starter was pretty good except that the lamb was rather tough - the knife struggled to get through it. Main of lamb meatballs was pretty much what you'd expect - meatballs made with "Indian" spices - they were fine. There was something odd going on with the keema nan: my two quarters of nan each had a tiny sliver of meat, whereas Robin's were so stuffed they looked more like a doner kebab. The overall cost wasn't too bad, and we had some food left over, so the VFM is reasonable, however I wouldn't be in a huge rush to go back.

Aneta - It was quite a nice place – in general I liked it a lot, although mostly because of delicious Naan Bread (one of the best I have had so far with the curry club in my opinion) and the fact they do half portions for some mains (which means I could also have a starter). The downside was the ambience, they should definitely work on aesthetic, probably think about new chairs and definitely stop nailing tables to the floor!  The staff also seemed quite rude at first glance, but I liked them because I think they were just trying to stay on top of serving such a large group (plus they have found us in the pub later, to bring a laptop left behind by the new Centurion ;) ).

Alex - Not very impressed with this one really. The main was really odd. Sufficiently so that I dithered over sending it back and eventually left about half. Didn't do me any actually damage in the end so it was peculiar tasting but ultimately non-toxic.

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