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

If you saw that on the pavement, you'd make sure you didn't step in it!

Visit Report

Visit Number: 240 (visit 8 of 8 for this restaurant)
Date of visit: 30 Sep 2021
Cost per head: £40.00 (1.5 beers)

Serv Amb Beer Start Nan Rice Main Veg VFM Score Comments
Overall 8.7 7.3 7.2 8.3 7.0 7.0 8.0 7.8 7.2 7.66
Mark 8 7 6 9 6 4 8 7 7 7.1 See Mark's comments
Jeff 10 7 7 9 5 6 9 7 8 7.8 See Jeff's comments
Richard 10 10 8 8 10 10 8 10 9 9.0 See Richard's comments
Neil 7 6 7 7 7 7 7 5 6.7 See Neil's comments
Brian 10 9 9 8 8 8 9 9 9 8.8 See Brian's comments
Tim 7 5 6 9 6 7 7 6 5 6.6 See Tim's comments

All Comments

Mark - With the 'Curry Couple' dropping out on the day we were down to 6 for the first return to The Empress since Nov 19 and it was good to be back. Low numbers meant we had a good group laugh in the pub before - beware of Richard's scoop! Sat by the door as usual we had several new choices on the menu as well as some old favourites. Without our regular fingers men the roll of ordering went me which meant we had a few hiccups. I went for the rolled lamb pancake kebab to start which was good and tasty but would have benefited from the chutneys being left on the table after the pop's IMHO. Suhagi Chicken for main was a new choice for me and while it was good, it does not come with much sauce and therefore meant my overall meal was a bit dry with the pilau rice. The jovial manager got us an extra main meal to sample of Indian Cottage pie - while it was very acceptable I can't see any of us ordering it. More of a dish for a companion who doesn't want an Indian meal. Baileys top up was appreciated - It's good to be back.

Jeff - The Empress was back to its best. in terms of service and quality of food - but the prices continue to rise pretty steeply - rice by £1 since Nov 2019, Chicken curry by £2 etc.  The menu was interesting featuring staples and some dishes I'd not seen anywhere before, food was fresh, tasty, served quickly, and the staff were all personable and upbeat.  We told the manager that Mr Dom sent his fondest regards, and that we would be back 'soon'.

Richard - The boys are back in town! And at my personal favourite combo the Empress and the Brown Bear (for a refresher beforehand). We were welcomed by the management as returning heroes and we were also so glad to be back in our native habitat. The mixed starter was good but to make a small criticism the lamb was a touch too spicy and the chicken not charred enough, although the king prawn was perfect. My main of chicken bhuna was good but I felt slightly lacked flavour. So not a perfect performance, although sides, rice, naan and pops were top rank.

Neil - My first curry night in 18 months, meeting at The Brown Bear and eating at The Empress, what's not to like! Service was reasonably quick and the food (mine a mixed starter and chicken byriani main) was up to its normal tasty standard. Strangely, we were asked to share a curried shepherd's pie they were trying out and told we wouldn't have to pay for it if we didn't like it. I was happy and enjoyed it although a few us thought it all a bit cheeky. We had a free round of baileys at the end that offset the cost, however. VFM not great, smallish portion sizes for the cost but we never completely finished it all anyway so maybe just well-judged! Enjoyed my post-lockdown man hugs on the way out, don't think it will become a tradition though.

Brian - A less than exemplary performance from the Empress, although still very good. No mussels, so I went for a mixed starter which was really good. My talapia main dish was lovely, but no perfect 10 this time, for reasons I can't quite explain. I was unimpressed by the "free" shepherds pie. Brown Bear was also a bit of a let down, with not many beers actually on, so I drunk far too much strong lager, which appeared a good idea at the time, and for which I suffered predictably the next day. A very enjoyable evening, and whilst it was good to see Neil again, it was a shame to be unable to catch up with Dom, who was unexpectedly unable to attend.

Tim - Just the six of us in the end, and stuck in the corner I felt a bit cramped, like being on a budget airline. With the condiments, the usual lime pickle had been replaced with a spicy onion one - I liked the spiciness, but didn't appreciate that two of the condiments were now based on raw onion. The mixed starter was good, featuring unusual components like khadom phool and nazakat. The main of chicken Rajshahi was not as spicy as expected given that it was advertised as "Madras hot" and "served with fried red chillies" (I counted one), and could have done with more chicken, but otherwise, the flavour was good. I found the vegetables a bit lacklustre, they just seemed to be lacking a bit in spices. The Peshwari nan was described as being stuffed with nuts and almonds, but seemed more like coconut and fruit puree - quite nice, but I've had better. The service from the manager was excellent, and the joke with the poppadoms was quite funny, but I don't appreciate asking twice for water and failing to get it - it's not difficult, and the beer I ordered arrived promptly enough. After asking, we got a good-sized complimentary Baileys, which was definitely a welcome end to the evening, but overall the cost was quite high.

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