indian

Bye bye the Green, hello Zainab

So farewell then, Wanstead’s Green Fish restaurant.  Even though the blackboard outside still proudly advertises a £16.95 Sunday lunch special, there’s a “closed” sign on the window, and the decor is being removed. It’s a little over a year since the restaurant opened.

Soon to fill the Cambridge Park spot once occupied by Applebees is – wait for it – an Indian restaurant to be called Zainab (the name feeling perhaps a bit more E20 than E11?).

Fans of Indian restaurants in Wanstead are becoming slightly spoiled for choice. Nearby there’s Purbani, Cinnamon, 52Spice, Bipasha and The Lane, with the Tiffin Tin delivery mopeds never far from sight. Some might event think a bit more diversity in menu choices would be a good thing; the market however seems to be able to support the current number of players even though some rarely appear to overflow with diners.

One Wansteadium reader tweeted his reaction:

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/pvmullen/status/151430372872294402″]

Ironically, the Southend Echo seems to be hinting at a similar but slightly different situation there, as Robins Pie and Mash announces another branch there. Once councillor told the paper: “It is another pie and mash establishment. We already have one or two in the town.”

Suki Orange, Wansteadium’s food blogger, adds:

It’s always sad to see something you admire fail, so I’m sorry to see the Green go. But of course I wish Zainab well. I can’t help thinking, though, that from a customer’s point of view, we just don’t need any more choices for Indian restaurants in Wanstead. I know I’ve said it before, but what we could really do with is something a degree or two more mainstream – though with two restaurants closing in the past 18 months this does not appear to be the ideal spot.  There’s clearly a demand for weekend lunches – just look at the Cuckfield on a Sunday after Desert Island Discs. Wanstead is brimming over with young families and not many places for them to eat comfortably together. At the risk of looking spurned, I’ll repeat my invitation to Strada. It’s a chain, yes, but it might be just want our menu needs.

Wansteadium’s new food blogger Suki Orange writes;

So we are heading towards the middle of January and resolutions are off to a good start for some. But with recent information suggesting that one in eight of us are likely to surpass our three score years and ten to that magical 100, should any of our resolutions be a healthier diet? All things in moderation methinks.

Moderation should surely then include a weekend takeaway from one of Wanstead’s finest. A recent survey by Valued Opinions, a paid surveys site, revealed that Chinese came out ahead of Indian, Italian, Thai and Greek as our favourite takeaway. Suki has never found any of the local Chinese offerings worth a return visit, though of course the Oriental Chef has its devotees (and any other reviews or recommendations would be welcome).

However, despite the findings, Suki has returned to Wanstead’s newest Indian takeaway – the Tiffin Tin – several times. Word of mouth recommendations are generally pretty favorable, and if the length of wait for delivery is indicative of their popularity then this doesn’t seem to have waned significantly since they opened their doors in July.

Wansteadium hosted several reviews in those early days, but all has gone quite since; a just-a-bit-of-fun Peter Snow-style poll of more than 100 readers found the newcomer in joint second place behind class act The Lane.

But one of the things which made them stand out was their Weekly Special offering, an ever-rotating selection of something you would not normally try. Last week’s special, for instance, was tender pieces of lamb with chickpeas, green chillis and onions in a tomatoey sauce. It was hot, all right, but had a pleasantly rounded flavour which left a slight heat.

But the imprecision with which I describe it points to a larger flaw with the way The Tin (as Suki refers to it in her house) does these specials; most are off menu, and so unless you take particular, dare one say anal, care when ordering, the all-important repeat purchase will never happen. In short, if you don’t know what you’ve had, it doesn’t matter much if you think it’s the most delicious thing in all of Redbridge, you’ll not be able to buy it again.

So, The Tin, if you’re reading, how about a wee note tucked into your beautiful packaging, saying exactly what the special is. Or let Suki know and she’ll keep a list for Wansteadium readers’ reference.

Drop me a line with tasty tips to suki@wansteadium.com.