Brick Lane is a sort-of-Indian diner. It serves a fried half-chicken with pickled cauliflower and cucumber; yoghurt; vindaloo hot sauce; and three folds of buttery paratha (flat) breads. The idea is to carve a piece of chook off the bone, place it in the bread and douse it in pickles, yoghurt and hot sauce.
The venue uses the spices and flavours of India, but not to make Indian food. Its owners, Kiran Bains and Alistair French, brought in Joey Ingram (ex-Claude’s and Tetsuya’s) to change traditional Indian fare into something cuisine-bending and new.
There’s a fried-egg bap with curry sauce and miniature potato chips; smoked beef brisket with soft-boiled eggs, curried hot sauce and papadums; and a Vietnamese-inspired “naan-mi” with spiced pork belly, pate, spring onions and chilli wrapped in naan.
The concept is based on the energy of Brick Lane in East London. While the food there is mostly traditional rice and curry, the mood there is what Bains and French are inspired by; fun, unconventional and experimental. The restaurant’s façade is lit by neon. A bare brick wall hosts Shannon Crees’s multi-textured depictions of Indian holy men. The hidden back corner (obscured by the bar) is plastered with an Eve Bracewell installation of old newspaper comic strips.
That back bar serves some vaguely Indian-inspired cocktails and four gin and tonics that match boutique gins with individual tonics and garnishes that match the botanicals in the gin.