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 55 users
View Offers
Traditional Afternoon Tea, £19.50 at Scoff and Banter

Most Read Today

image
01 Noah Baumbach Interview

Noah Baumbach, director of Frances Ha, tells View ...

image
02 New Years Eve London

Ring in 2014 with a host of New Years Eve London e...

image
03 Boxing Day Sales London

The Boxing Day sales bring you bargains galore as ...

image
04 Recommended Kids Christmas Events

All the best kids Christmas events in London for C...

image
05 New Years Eve Fireworks in London

Discover more about this year's spectacular firewo...

Content updated: 21/12/2014 16:40

Restaurant Hire

Planning a party?

Find a special restaurant to make your party special here.

.

Latest Restaurants User Reviews

  • Lokkanta
    In one word; Fantastic! Tremendous evening at the new Turkish on...

    Teddyboys on 21/12/2014 @ 00:56
  • Taj Mahal
    We visited here for a pre-xmas staff meal. If you like slow indif...

    brixtongit on 19/12/2014 @ 18:26
  • inamo St James
    I went to Inamo St James recently as part of a birthday party, an...

    Jenny9999 on 19/12/2014 @ 14:20
  • Luna Rossa
    I love this restaurant as the service and food is magnificent!! I...

    Frutella on 18/12/2014 @ 16:21
  • Bloom
    It has such great potential, being on a corner in an area where t...

    geraldo on 18/12/2014 @ 02:55