Nestled in amongst the streets of East London sits a street famous throughout the country for its quality of Indian cuisine and Asian inhabitants – Brick Lane. Truth be told we had never considered this area of London before. Always swayed by the bright lights of the West End or the plush hotels of Mayfair. This time around we set up base in the heart of Indian food heaven at the newly built Hub Hotel by Premier Inn bang in the middle of Brick Lane for a budget weekend away.
A perfect location for the budget traveller as this is ‘proper’ London. Here you will find your average pint 50p cheaper and your cockney accents more prominent. On the day we arrived walking out of the nearby Aldgate East tube station the anthem ‘I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles’ was in the air coming from West Ham fan’s drinking prior to their home match with Tottenham in nearby Stratford.
It’s very easy to walk by Brick Lane with the entrance to the street from the Aldgate East entrance an unremarkable blend of run down shops and new restaurants. Further up though it’s a different story – more balti houses than you can shake a stick at. These are popular places, all bearing stickers and banners laying claim to awards for best this and best that. During the day it’s a quiet area but once the evening comes things get lively.
“Excuse me sir, are you looking for a curry tonight? Special offer just for you” this is the line that you will hear time and again from the touts outside the restaurants attempting to beckon you in. At first it’s a little intimidating especially if you are unsure of just which restaurant to drop in on. Luckily there’s no malice with these guys, many are friendly and a simple ‘no thank you’ does the job. It can be a bit irritating though when your hotel is right in the middle of the street.
A top tip in this case is simple – do your research. Review sites such as Tripadvisor are useful at gauging opinion of the best and worst of Brick Lane. Many reviews ranged from ‘Best curry in the U.K ever!! #welovecurry” to “What a rip off!!” like the touts outside some things are not always as they seem. If someone is offering you two meals for £15 plus a free drink on a saturday night, chances are that might not be quite what you receive. Competition between restaurants on Brick Lane is fierce and some will do anything to entice customers through the door.
We ended up at Dosa World just off Brick Lane on Hanbury Street. If you love Southern Indian food wrapped in a crispy pancake this place is the nuts. Honestly and truthfully we have never had it so good. Find the full review here if you don’t believe us. This is of course one great place in amongst many in the area but from quality to price ratio we couldn’t have done better.
The advantage of Brick Lane is that it is actually a quiet street, no party noise or anything like that, just a first rate food scene. Nearby within walking distance are the likes of Spitalfields Market and Brick Lane’s very own market open at the weekend. Aldgate East is also spot on for access to the Hammersmith and City line also the District line with direct access to King’s Cross. With cheap accommodation and a real flavour of both London and India Brick Lane has become one of our favourite areas of the capital to visit.