Brick Lane has been at the top of both of our London sightseeing lists, and we wasted no time making our way to Shoreditch. After a day filled with IKEA adventures and set up, we set out to Brick Lane in the evening.
Brick Lane is a street in London famous for its curry houses. It’s where many claim you can get the most delicious Anglo-Indian food in the city. Giddy that we now live somewhere where trying out one of these restaurants is just a short tube ride away, we got on the tube armed with a recommendation from our field consultant (who took us on to IKEA).
Our consultant asked a friend who knew the Shoreditch area well to recommend a curry house to us. She suggested a couple to us and after a little research, we decided on Aladin. After witnessing a delivery guy on a bike absolutely freak out as a crowd of us was trying to cross the street from the tube (serious pent up rage going on there), we set out down Brick Lane to find our restaurant.
Just walking down Brick Lane itself is an experience. The neon lights, the graffiti intermixed with old historic buildings, and, of course, the ever aggressive and friendly folks coming right up to you as you pass, trying to get you to come into their restaurant. It’s a colorful, loud, scene as you keep your eyes peeled for your intended spot.
Many of the curry houses do not serve alcohol. Instead, you can BYOB! And who doesn’t love BYOB? Brick Lane is littered with many off-license shops that have selections of wine and jumbo beers, should you want to grab something on your way. Most of the wines these stores carry are lower-end, so if you’re a wine snob, I suggest taking a bottle with you from home. Or embrace the experience and get yourself a giant bottle of beer to enjoy throughout your meal, like many of our fellow diners.
Maybe it was the music or the many disco balls hanging from the ceiling or the relaxed vibe BYOB gives a place, the ambiance at Aladin was just so fun. A huge party filled the bottom floor of the restaurant (a group that basically filled a table that ran from wall to wall, so many folks!) and various families and couples and groups of friends on a night out filled the top floor with us. It was lively, colorful, delicious and everyone there seemed to be enjoying their Saturday night. The staff was so friendly and helpful and fast.
The food was delicious. We’ll return based on the reasons above, but the food is the biggest draw. I can’t wait to go back! We ordered chicken tikka masala (this isn’t called basic bon vivant for nothing!) and the chicken dansak. The latter was listed as “medium” spicy and I was sweating, so it was quite hot. Loved it. Since the wine selection was limited, we paired this all with a Pinotage Shiraz we found in an off-license shop. The winery escapes me, but it was better than expected!
When the meal was finished, we left Aladin with full tummies. I was not thinking about dessert at all. Just a couple blocks down, however, warm light, great music and adorable wood fixtures adorned with the most beautiful chocolates beckoned us into Dark Sugars. The staff was super friendly and were giving out free samples of their chili truffle (quite spicy). We chose a few delicious looking truffles and got them to go.
We walk through Shoreditch and Spitalfields on our way back to the tube and I can’t wait to return and explore the area. Lots of people were out and there seemed to be many hip restaurants and bars around.
I foresee taking some visitors to Kensington Wine Rooms one night, selecting a tasty wine to take home and bringing the selection to Brick Lane another night… then stopping at Dark Sugars for a sweet post-meal treat!