From classic curries to festive desserts, Brick Lane’s Indian restaurants add a delightful twist to the holiday season.
At Christmas Brick Lane comes alive, with the streets aglow with festive lights and the restaurants filled with merry customers. “The whole lane is really colourful and everyone decorates their restaurants nicely,” Mokhtar Miah, manager of Sheba, says.
Christmas bookings become available in October and they are particularly popular with office parties and Christmas socials. Many of the restaurants also have private rooms on offer for Christmas meals, perfect to give an exclusive feel to your festive celebrations.
Some restaurants add a Christmas twist to their regular menus. Brick Lane Tandoori offers a whole roast chicken, turkey or lamb marinated in a special spice mix, and Sheba adds desserts such as chocolate pudding to the menu. City Spice also has a set menu with a Christmas version of a main or a starter.
While the other restaurants don’t have Christmas menus, eating flavoursome curries breaks up the monotony of Christmas roasts that are traditionally served at gatherings around this time.
Year-round favourites include The Standard Balti House’s traditional South Indian garlic chilli chicken and Taste of Jaipur’s homemade tender lamb shank.
“In the past we have cooked people roasted turkey or lamb on request if they pre order it,” Nuraj Jaman, manager of The Standard Balti House, says. “And we put Christmas trees and lights up and get the Mariah Carey songs on.”
In previous years Brick Lane has hosted food festivals, and last year City Spice executive chef Niaz Caan dressed up as Santa and delivered 5,000 boxes of biryani to nurses in nearby hospitals.
“Obviously I’m not a politician or a counsellor,” Caan says. “But what I can do to put a smile on the face of nurses who are burning the midnight oil even during a strike and a pandemic is bring them a meal to say thank you.”
As well as helping with festive charity, Christmas bookings allow restaurant managers to reward their staff. “Christmas is such a wonderful time because we get all these corporate bookings which help me to say thank you to my staff for the work they do all year,” Caan says.
At Christmas time, Brick Lane traditions are cherished, meals are shared and acts of kindness shine through, making it the perfect festive place to celebrate the holiday season with coworkers and loved ones.