Friday 7 March 2008

Shampan - Brick Lane, London

Shampan is one of the best houses in trendy Banglatown. I feel I can safely say this despite only one visit last Saturday. It was full to the brim and buzzing by 7.30, looked to have quite a high turnover. As four of us sat munching on poppadoms, including a dense sweet and mellow coconut chutney it seemed another earth tremor had moved our table a full 3 feet! It was actually the genial head waiter with an audacity you almost had to admire though in fairness he and his staff were superbly efficient all evening.

Dishes arrived quickly but not too quickly. The kitchen’s interpretation of Aloo Chop turned out to be a gorgeous potato ball stuffed with cheesy mash and succulent shreds of baked lamb. One of their Bangladeshi speciality curries - ‘Rezala’ - was very flavoursome, citrussy and hot with juicy green finger chillies. Lamb Passanda was spot on, nutty with a hint of red wine. Among the assorted vegetable sides, Shatkora Dal, liquid and limey with earthy cumin was good, ditto a Sag Paneer, creamy cubes of curd in a rich gooey sauce blended with spinach. Bombay Potatoes were so much better than the they often are, coated in tangy tomato paste and roast chilli powder. Tasty pilau too!

In summary the place offers distinctly flavoured curries at fair prices (71 pounds for poppadoms, chutneys, 4 starters, 4 mains, 3 sides, 3 rice, 2 breads, 2 cobras) served smartly in a functionable dining room. They must do well. Not only does the corner house location mean they’ve two shop fronts but they haven’t a pimp to drag in floaters. Rather impressive.


Willp2328 rating: 8/10

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