If you work or live around Liverpool Street/Shoreditch, of course your first stop for a curry is Brick Lane. This is a place built on history, a destination spot for coriander goodness from Whitechapel High Street to Bethnal Green Road. It is the heart of the city’s Bangladeshi-Sylheti community and you have an expectation of good solid curry houses. As you walk down the street the guys promise you free drinks, free papadoms etc to entice you into their establishment. It can get intense.
So, step further down Bishopsgate towards Leadenhall Market and if you blink, you miss a little side street called Corbet Court which is home to Bangalore Express. Firstly, I have issue with the name, because it gives the impression of fast mediocre food in plastic containers being farmed out for delivery on various mopeds. This is not the case, Bangalore Express is a contemporary bar and restaurant hidden away from the crowd of folk that drown the opposite Leadenhall Market pubs. It is the calm in the storm.
They have just launched a new a la carte menu and were confident enough to shout about it. Good move, as yes, they delivered a solid bit of competition for the rows of curry houses on Brick Lane. But lets back track and start with the ground floor bar. This has loads of potential to be the more upmarket spot you go to if you don’t want the busy pubs in Leadenhall Market or Crosse Keys pub next door. If they push this, it can work for them. As you move downstairs, it is dark and rich in colour with blacks and reds. You could say that this is best for Winter, but I think it is best for that feeling of escapism from the norm and samey venues nearby.
The menu is traditionally Bangladeshi at its core, but has some other influences, in particular Nepalese. This does not make for a messy mix of dishes, but a well thought out merry go round of dishes that perfectly compliment each other.
We were a table of many, so had the opportunity to taste all sorts of dishes. Dishes included lamb curry with potatoes, mushroom and peas masala, Nepalese steamed chicken dumpling, chicken rogan, okra fries, tandoori prawns, minced lamb with a buttered bap and curried duck breast, amongst others.
It was a filling experience with a rainbow of tastes and textures to tantalise your tastebuds. What an experience. This is a yes, for an exceptional curry experience in the area.
In terms of service, it started of badly with the receptionist sitting us at someone else’s table and generally appearing very confused,, but once we were introduced to our gang, we were happy. Bar service great with a good selection of mocktails, restaurant service good with the Head Chef coming out and saying hi, fantastic!
1 Corbet Court
3 – 6 Gracechurch Street
T. 020 7220 9195