Venue Image
56 Hanbury Street,
Brick Lane,
London,
E1 5JL

(020) 7247 6999

The ViewLondon Review

StarStarStarStarNo Star
Review byVivienne Egan06/12/2011
Hidden down a side street that narrowly avoids the hustle and bustle of Brick Lane is this small cafe-cum-restaurant, offering authentic Bengali cuisine at low, low prices.

The Venue
Meraz calls itself a cafe and, appearance-wise, that is exactly what you get – no frills, no fuss. Nevertheless, the bright, clean surroundings and cheery lime green and red colour scheme prove inviting, and a respectable amount of space – considering the venue’s size – is available to all.

The Atmosphere
Despite its side street location and modest size, Meraz still manages to draw in a sizeable crowd; perhaps encouraged by the promise of delicious eats on the cheap. The tone is strictly informal and busy chatter abounds, creating the ideal environment for a casual dinner with friends.

The Food
Starters include tandoori lamb chops (£3.25) – a house speciality – which offer a welcome degree of heat that complements, rather than overpowers, their paprika and cumin based marinade. Aloo shami (£2.20) - a dish of mashed potatoes fried with egg yolk and seasoned with mustard and coriander - is also pleasant but perhaps a little bland in flavour. That is, if you disregard its intense spiciness, which you are advised to counter with a well-made mint and yoghurt dressing.

For mains, vegetable biryani (£4.25) is an extremely economical choice; its mountain of well-seasoned basmati rice buries a thick layer of delicately spiced slices of potato, pepper and aubergine, and is served with a sizeable bowl of spicy curry sauce to top it off. This meal also entitles you to one vegetable side dish, and ‘the sukhna nalee sag’ (£2.75 separately) is an extremely popular choice. Consisting of sun-dried spinach fried with garlic coriander, it is comparable to that more familiar staple of Asian restaurants - crispy seaweed – with an intense flavour locked in to its crunchy leaves. At the same time, it manages to avoid the downfall of relying too heavily on extreme saltiness/sweetness – with the fresh taste of the spinach still very much present.

Chana chicken (£4.95) combines large, tender chunks of meat with a filling blend of softened chickpeas and mild spices. As with the majority of the menu, it possesses a wholesome quality that is afforded, in part, by a distinct lack of oiliness. The real guilty treats here are the bread options, which include a neat circle of fluffy peshwari naan (£2.20), enriched by a delectably sweet and creamy coconut filling, and the pan-fried paratha (£1.50) – served as flaky and buttery as you could want.

The Drink
Without its own alcohol license, Meraz operates a ‘BYOB’ policy. All the usual soft drinks (80p for a can, £1 for juices), teas and coffees are available, as well as a selection of lassis. Mango lassi (£1.65) is truly a winner; soothingly creamy yet light enough to be enjoyed alongside a hefty meal, with the fresh fruit flavour incorporated into the yoghurt perfectly.

The Last Word
Whilst not being the ideal venue for a romantic date or glamorous celebration, Meraz offers incredible value for money - and then some. Sneak away from the aggressive bids for custom on Brick Lane and uncover a true gem of an Indian restaurant, in the guise of a plain and simple cafe.
Meraz Restaurant has been reviewed by 56 users
View Offers
Afternoon Tea at Henry's Cafe Bar

Most Read Today

image
01 Pimms No 1 Cup

A guide to the history of Pimms No 1 Cup, Pimms dr...

image
02 Free Summer Festivals in London

Don't be put off by little things like money, part...

image
03 Bat Out of Hell Musical Tickets

Jim Steinman, the genius behind the Meat Loaf albu...

image
04 Summer Sales London

Grab a bargain bikini for your escape to the sun a...

image
05 Outdoor Film Events

Enjoy the good weather with outdoor films in Londo...

Content updated: 04/08/2015 08:23

Restaurant Hire

Planning a party?

Find a special restaurant to make your party special here.

.

Latest Restaurants User Reviews

  • MOMMI
    Although the ambience and environment of Mommi is great, sadly, t...

    kelliegirl01 on 03/08/2015 @ 12:12
  • El Patron
    The staff are friendly, but the drinks are overpriced. The food ...

    EH23445 on 03/08/2015 @ 00:08
  • Arabesque
    Arabesque has been and continues to be a loyal restaurant to its ...

    pdotlz on 02/08/2015 @ 22:16
  • Noura Brasseries
    The best Lebanese food I've had in London. Authentic, delicious a...

    LCF on 29/07/2015 @ 14:08
  • Aladin Brick Lane
    Great overall experience. Unique vibrant bustling curry house. ...

    Nicola_I on 25/07/2015 @ 17:38