Sheba, Brick Lane
This year I decided to make a London Bucket list. Tired as I am of always thinking ‘I really should do that’, I wanted to make more of this GLORIOUS city and do more varied things. Given that I tend to eat out a lot, a lot of my London bucket list pertains to food. I wanted to be more adventurous and eat at more exciting places rather than just always grabbing sandwiches from Pret and downloading Pizza Express vouchers (but also I do love me a Calabrese sweet baby cheesus).
One of the top things on my bucket list was to have curry on Brick Lane. Having been to uni in Birmingham (BIG UP THE BRUM), curry was pretty much my staple student diet, and my love affair with the spicy stuff has continued ever since. Long hailed as the curry capital of London, Brick Lane is lined with curry and balti houses, all with staff outside trying to lure in passers by to sample their spicy delights. Bypassing all of these eager beavers, we made our way down to Sheba.
Right opposite the Old Truman Brewery, Sheba has been open since 1974 and has been in the hands of the same family ever since. Having won ‘Best Curry House in the UK’ in the Cobra Curry Awards in 2015 we knew we would be in good hands.
Settling down to peruse the menu, we glugged on a couple of pints of Cobra itself, for what curry is complete without it?! Indian menus can often be a bit overwhelming as there’s so much choice, however, Sheba helpfully has notes on the menu to point customers in the direction of their most popular dishes. Alongside all the usual fare one would expect, there’s a varied menu of Chef’s Specials, which is great for those wishing to venture outside their usual Tikka Masala.
We started with a couple of poppadoms and the usual accouterments (what a great word), and then tucked into onion bhajis, which were unusually yet delightfully fragrant in taste, and a spicy prawn puri, which is a kind of mini curry served up on fried desi bread. (Alert- curry isn’t the most beautiful of food to photograph but MY GOD IT IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL OF FOOD TO TASTE.)
I decided to stick with my favourite Chicken Tikka Jalfrezi, which arrived thick and chunky with big hunks of onion in amongst the spicy chicken, which was cooled off with a dollop of fresh raita. El Boyfriendo went a bit more off piste, choosing the Nawabi Lamb Shank, cooked with tender lamb mince meat and flavourful rather than spicy. He oohed and ahhed over it, though I think he was slightly swayed by the menu’s description of this dish being “fit for the nawaabs of Bengal” if I’m honest!
On the side we had perfectly cooked pilau rice, garlic naan and an exceptional Saag Aloo (potatoes and spinach) which was the best version I’ve ever had.
Absolutely stuffed we had a quick chat with the manager, Sultan afterwards, and it was so lovely to hear how passionate he was about the restaurant and the staff plus the plans he has to expand and develop the business further.
So, with the first of my bucket list items happily ticked off we pretty much rolled home, happy and full.
What’s on your London bucket list?
We were guests of Sheba, but all Curry and Cobra love my own!