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

The restaurant helpfully displayed a "morning after" warning for those who were tempted by the hotter dishes.

Visit Report

Visit Number: 233 (visit 3 of 3 for this restaurant)
Date of visit: 26 Sep 2019
Cost per head: £28.00 (1.5 beers)

Serv Amb Beer Start Nan Rice Main Veg VFM Score Comments
Overall 6.3 6.1 6.7 6.7 6.4 6.5 6.9 6.5 6.6 6.53
Alex 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7.0 See Alex's comments
Jeff 8 5 6 7 6 6 7 7 8 6.7 See Jeff's comments
Neil 8 7 5 6 6 7 6 7 6.4 See Neil's comments
Richard 6 9 9 9 8 8 9 8 8 8.3 See Richard's comments
Graeme 5 4 6 6 5 7 6 5 5.7 See Graeme's comments
Jon 6 7 7 6 6 6 6 6 6.2 See Jon's comments
Tim 4 4 6 5 7 6 5 5 5.4 See Tim's comments

All Comments

Alex - Quick service, were done by a bit after 9, but slightly abrupt. The food was decent overall but lacking any particular highlights, flavours being rather middle-of-the-road. A workman-like performance one might say.

Jeff - A curious evening - it was as if we went back to the 80's. A slightly shabby street with a 'gentleman's' club', a no frills pub, and a no frills restaurant. No fancy stuff - a bright square room, no wine glasses, two tables shoved together on arrival, quick Brick Lane style service, no fancy specials, and food just shoved in your general direction. And a tiny toilet too. The food itself was of uniformly average quality - nothing to complain about or rave about.

Neil - The Halal has slowly worked its way back into our top six and it's not hard to see why, a pretty good meal (Onion Bhaji starter and Veg Biryani main) with reasonable vfm. The most noticeable thing otherwise was that the service was super quick and we'd pretty much finished the meal in an hour and a half. Service would have had perfect a ten if not for the early poppadum order 'push back' from the waiter, and we had to make our own table up when we arrived! Added bonus was that the meeting pub (The White Swan) is just across the road and not too bad in itself.

Richard - The Halal is a good middle of the road Indian restaurant. There are no pretentions, fancy decorations or fancy dishes and has plastic one page menus, and the service was rather brusque. However it was bright and clean and the food was very good, and pricing was reasonable. They claim to be going since 1939 and displayed an antique blackboard with specials on it. After a free samosa, my lamb chop starter was nicely char-grilled and very tasty, and accompanied by a swiftly produced and welcome chilled Cobra. For main, an old-school main of chicken bhuna with plain rice and peshwari nan was excellent. I hope to return.

Graeme - I missed the previous visit here in 2015 so this was my first return since 2002 which a. seems a long time ago now, and b. was the scene of the infamous Brian vs Kylie comments by Robin. I don't think the place has changed much in the meantime - you could call it traditionally plain but maybe it looks a bit tired now. The food was all quite pleasant - I had King(?) Prawn Puri to start followed by Chicken Jahl Frezi (sic) for main. The service was reasonably fast and we all got what we ordered but I haven't over-marked it as our table wasn't ready when we arrived (despite Neil popping in beforehand to confirm), the delivery of the food was a bit 'unstructured' and there were no free liqueurs at the end (which have become de rigueur, esp. when there's no discount). Overall, it was an OK meal but I wouldn't rush back.

Jon - It was all a bit middle-of-the-road at the Halal – nothing exceptional, everything acceptable.  Nice enough off-menu reshmi kebab and a decent meat dansak.  The service was rapid if a little haphazard – put the food down anywhere and hope it finds its own way to the right recipient!  I enjoyed a couple of pints of Spitfire at the White Swan over the road (I do like Shepherd Neame!), and it was a very enjoyable evening even though we were light on numbers.

Tim - There was an eclectic mixture of artwork in the restaurant: a photo of a chilli on fire, Constable's Hay Wain, a painting of a traditional Indian lady. I found the table a bit small - if you're going to have small tables, at least put the legs in the corners. The paper serviette was tiny - too small to put on your lap unless you stapled it to your thighs. As last time, they didn't have enough menus - four between seven of us, until we asked for more. I was interested to see King Cobra on the drinks menu, though rather expensive at nearly £9. Lassi was advertised as being available in a variety of flavours, which turned out to be mango or mango. The mango and lime chutneys were extremely runny, as Alex commented - more like lime pickle soup. There was also a tamarind-based one, not bad but rather sweet (it had been sweetened with mango puree). The chicken chat starter was ok but a bit sour and I would have preferred more salad; it was accompanied by a single half slice of tomato. When the starter plates were collected, the dirty cutlery was taken off plates and put on the table to be reused. The sag gosht main was "average" - the meat wasn't tough, but also not the most tender, the quantity of meat was ok, not large, the spices were fine, though there wasn't much heat, there could have been more spinach etc. The mushroom bhaji had more onion than mushroom. The stuffed paratha had a texture more like a naan (chewy/doughy) than I was expecting. I thought the service became more friendly/attentive towards the end and they were efficient about getting the food out (we were all finished by 9pm), but they take so many shortcuts (not enough menus, reusing cutlery, tiny serviettes, not spoons in all the condiments etc.); the whole experience felt more like being in a transport café than a restaurant. The overall cost wasn't bad.

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