I have been to Tayyabs approximately 25 times. Well, in reality I haven’t counted, but it’s safe to say that I have been many, many times, sometimes twice in one week.
It’s old news now I’m sure, having won countless accolades and reviews by every critic and food blogger imaginable, but I love Tayyabs. I don’t even really like curries that much, but I love Tayyabs.
It’s not just the food that makes it a brilliant restaurant, but the atmosphere and pure joy of the whole experience means that this is a reliable place for a delicious dinner that is exciting, invigorating and in the end, makes you feel as if you have achieved something by dining there.
I have a few friends who find the whole ordeal to be too much effort – they shrink away from the hour-long queues and surprise steam facials courtesy of sizzling platters of meat being whisked past your nose. They want a nice, relaxed evening. However, in my opinion, there is nothing worse than an empty restaurant. I will downright refuse to eat somewhere if there is only one other couple eating in a silent room, and with Tayyabs, there is never that fear. It is absolutely always full, loud and hot, the air thick with the smell of meat and spices. This is a place that is perfect for big parties and friendly gatherings (although you will without doubt be too full to go on to anywhere afterwards), and with a relaxed BYO policy, the appeal is obvious.
Lamb chops, pummelled into flavourful oblivion come piled high with seekh kebabs, masala fish and tandoori chicken; ghee-covered naans are fresh and make rice an unnecessary addition, and the deliciously oily karahi curries and intense, almost black depths of a famous portion of ‘dry meat’ complete a meal which, for less than £20 a head, leaves you close to comatose and in need of a long shower.
Tayyabs will always hold a special place in my heart. I’ve had birthdays and anniversaries there, and even with my visits continually increasing, a night out at this Punjabi institution always feels like a momentous occasion.