Cheap, tasty Indian food in London

Indian food in London is often mediocre and overpriced, and a good curry joint is as highly prized as a traditional neighborhood pub. I’ve been to a lot of Indian restaurants in London and a new discovery I made last week ranks as one of my favorites.

Simply Indian is one of those places you’ll only find if a local tells you. Located on 25 Tabard St., it’s away from the tourist center and easy to miss. It’s poorly advertised and its website doesn’t seem to work. The food and service, however, are fantastic, and that’s all that really matters.

The menu offers all the usual favorites like Chicken Jhalfrezi and Lamb Pasanda, along with less familiar fare such as Murgh Sagrana, a mild chicken dish that’s creamy and not too spicy.

“Not too spicy” is a key term here. For heat rating I ordered a medium, which in London still often means you need to call out the local fire brigade. For too many people in this town, eating curry is some sort of endurance contest, best done after fourteen pints of lager. Indian food in India is generally not like that. At Simply Indian the spices are well balanced and are there to be tasted, not simply tolerated.

The service was friendly too, with no surprises when the bill came (something to watch out for on Brick Lane) and only came to a reasonable 27 pounds for two people. They don’t have a liquor license but you can buy booze at the supermarket right around the corner and there’s no corkage fee.

If you’re going to London’s South Bank and are hankering for some good Indian food, check them out. Tucked out of the way as they are, and not catering to the after-pub crowd, I fear for their future. Competition between London’s restaurants is fierce and I hope they’re still there when I return. Their phone number is 020 7407 5006.

[Photo courtesy Fin Fahey]