Name: The Shampan
Status: Closed
Area: Brick Lane
Address: 79 Brick Lane
London E1 6QL
Phone: 020 7375 0475

Visits to this restaurant ...

1. 30 Oct 2003|2. 27 May 2004|3. 28 Jul 2005|4. 28 Feb 2008|5. 26 Apr 2012
6. 28 Mar 2013|7. 29 May 2014|8. 30 Jul 2015|9. 28 Jan 2016

It's very rare these days but Shampan has draught Kingfisher and Cobra. Marvellous!

Visit Report

Visit Number: 95 (visit 4 of 9 for this restaurant)
Date of visit: 28 Feb 2008
Cost per head: £27.00 (2 beers)

Serv Amb Beer Start Nan Rice Main Veg VFM Score Comments
Overall 5.4 7.6 7.8 6.9 5.4 7.0 6.2 6.4 6.2 6.55
Jeff 6 7 9 5 6 4 6 5 5.7 See Jeff's comments
Robin 6 7 8 8 0 7 8 7 7 6.7 See Robin's comments
Graeme 5 8 9 8 7 7 8 7 7 7.4 See Graeme's comments
Mark 4 8 7 6 7 8 5 6 6 6.2 See Mark's comments
Brian 3 6 8 6 4 7 1 5 4 4.6 See Brian's comments
Tim 5 6 4 6 4 6 6 6 5 5.4 See Tim's comments
Dave 8 9 9 8 6 7 8 8 7.9 See Dave's comments
Jon 5 8 8 7 8 8 8 7 7 7.4 See Jon's comments
John 7 9 8 8 7 7 8 7 7 7.6 See John's comments

All Comments

Jeff - I topped up my Oyster card for nothing - we returned to Brick Lane again. My first visit to the Shampan, but I'm afraid to say I was disappointed with the food. The place was very busy, and as expected we were offered no discount (obviously they can fill the place without). Our table was assembled reasonably quickly, and there was a choice of 2 draft indian beers - Cobra and Kingfisher, although they mixed up the glasses they served them in which led to confusion. Spicy poppadoms were excellent and there were 5 pickles rather than 4. However, for me, things went downhill from here as my prawn puri was too dry, and my chicken balti did not contain the mix of herbs and vegetables I expected. Accompaniments were of average quality. And with no hint of a liqueur, the bill was £26 each - a surprise but this is what Brick Lane would cost without the discounts offered by the touts in less busy places.  Altogether, there are better places in Brick Lane and I'm in no rush to return.

Robin - After a bit of a wait (despite having booked!) the Shampan managed to shoehorn the nine of us into a table at the rear of the restaurant. The service wasn’t particularly fast (at least 10 minutes before the poppadoms arrived and another five for plates), but the king prawn puri starter was worth waiting for; lovely meaty prawns - far nicer than the "ordinary" (more like plankton) version one or two of the others ordered. My main course was pretty good too – the sylheti chicken jalfrezi had a pleasant bite to it, was very aromatic with a hint of the sour flavours that are apparently popular in northern India (according to the menu blurb). The veg dishes were good without being outstanding and it’s really nice to be offered a choice of draught Indian beers – Cobra and Kingfisher were both available. However, there is a "but" – in fact two of them. My paratha was absolutely terrible – somewhere between cardboard and shoe leather both in texture and flavour. One bite was more than enough. But that’s nothing compared to the "Shampan Delight" main course with which Brian had to contend. Allegedly once a spring chicken, this small burnt offering appeared to have been cooked by being strapped directly beneath the rocket exhaust of the Space Shuttle as it launched during its recent mission, and then further incinerated by unprotected re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere, presumably somewhere above Brick Lane. I shall be most interested to read his comments.

Graeme - I was pleased that we were able to return to Shampan after suggesting it for a revisit. It is still a favourite of mine. It has a lively atmosphere, always seems to be busy and has an unusually high proportion of female diners (I didn’t notice this myself - Tim pointed it out to me!). All the food was excellent, as always. Shampan is becoming unique in offering draft Indian beer and, in fact, offers both Cobra and Kingfisher on draft - a magnificent effort. I reduced my Service mark because we had to wait a few minutes to be seated (even though we had booked) and it took quite a while for the bill to come at the end. I'm sure it was a good night for banter (but I can't remember any of it!) and it was good to start off in Williams Bar (one of our old watering holes).

Mark - The Shampan attracts more females than a Man U Xmas do but the most discussed breasts and legs on display were on Brian's plate. Wonderful organisation allowed us a trip to BL instead of WC1 and a revisit to one of the old time fav's. Starter of Chicken spring role thing was OK but the additional coconut paste for the popadums is always a highlight for me. Main of Lamb tikka often comes up sizzling, this was a poor effort that looked a bit burnt and had more onions than the proverbial Frenchman on a bike with a beret. Seemed more expensive than usual no doubt due to Graeme's expensive starter although should have been saved by Griff trading down to non-king prawns. Good to go back but perhaps time to spread our wings.

Brian - So, Brick Lane and the Shampan again. All that debate and 30+ emails were certainly worthwhile then! I know that we're not that far into 2008, however I think that the Shampan already deserves the award for misnomer of the year. OK, I ordered poorly, but describing the flamethrower-blasted bit of poultry on my plate, which was so large it must have hatched only yesterday, as "Shampan Delight" must in some way contravene the Trades Description Act. It looked more like a small, recently incinerated guinea fowl than a chicken. The only "Delight" was watching Robin and Jeff pick over the charred corpse like a pair of undernourished vultures, once I'd removed the meat that I could identify. The rest of the meal was OK, apart from the Chapatti, which was too dry. And what do you have to do to get a glass of water in this place? A very unimpressive performance I'm afraid.

Tim - The smallish restaurant was very busy, and despite booking (earlier in the evening), we had to wait (about 10 minutes) for a table to become available. As last time, there was a higher-than-usual proportion of young ladies (why?). The decor is quite nice, with abstract wood carvings and a stained glass frieze running round the windows. It's a shame the stairs down to the toilets, and the toilets themselves were so shabby. Popadoms were OK, although the spicy ones were a bit deformed; they were accompanied by the usual four pickles plus a pleasant coconutty one. Starter of mixed tikka was OK. Main of chicken Sylheti jalfrezi was a bit disappointing; after being asked if I was sure I wanted it, because "it's hot", it turned out to be fairly mild, and with a rather high proportion of onion, although the chicken was good and the taste pleasant enough. My paratha was dry to the point of being crispy. Not having had one before, I wasn't sure what to expect, but surely it wasn't meant to be like this? For beer, they had Cobra and Kingfisher on draught, but they confused matters by delivering the Kingfisher in Cobra glasses, and some of the Cobra in Kingfisher glasses. Even allowing for this, some of the Kingfisher didn't taste right, and although the second pint was better than the first, it still didn't taste like the bottled stuff. There was no discount on the door and no free round of drinks at the end of the meal, so the overall meal was quite expensive for Brick Lane. I used to like the Shampan, but after tonight's performance I won't be back in a hurry.

Dave - Overall I was very impressed with the Shampan. The ambience was very good, the spicy poppadums were the best I have tasted, Draught Kingfisher was very refreshing and my main course was very tasty. Will hope this makes a return to the top 6.

Jon - Starting in Williams rather than the Stores got the evening off to a great start and the Shampan didn’t fail to deliver, eventually at least. It was a bit touch and go at the beginning as, despite having booked, they didn’t have a table ready for us when we arrived. They managed to hurry a few people up though (I wouldn’t have been happy in their shoes) and did squeeze us in. My King Prawn Puri starter was good but I do not like the school dinner metal plates they serve the starters on – what’s wrong with a bit of proper china? The Chicken Rezala main was very good and well accompanied by some excellent special rice and a good keema nan. Griff got upset because I failed to help him order, but as a 40-something veteran, I thought he was capable of looking after himself (obviously not) and Dom’s absence mean that there was no wine for Tim to drink and no liqueurs at the end of the evening.

John - Sheek kebab followed by a chicken tikka shashlik massala bhuna jalfrezi thingy - very tasty but the sauce was a bit overcooked. All the sundies very great and draught beer hit the spot.

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