Our reporter searches out hottest “Ruby” on Brick Lane for National Curry Week

Reporter Mark Shales tries to find the "hottest curry in Brick Lane"

Reporter Mark Shales tries to find the "hottest curry in Brick Lane" - Credit: Archant

To celebrate National Curry Week, I’ve decided to put my taste-buds on the line in search of the spiciest “Ruby” in Brick Lane.

Reporter Mark Shales tries to find the "hottest curry in Brick Lane"

Reporter Mark Shales tries to find the "hottest curry in Brick Lane" - Credit: Archant

While not averse to a bit of heat I arrived at my first destination, Preem and Prithi, with some trepidation.

Warmly welcomed by owner Azmal Hussain, it wasn’t long before a steaming chicken vindaloo was sitting in front of me and my curry marathon had begun.

Described by Azmal as a good cure for flu, the potent dish certainly cleared my nasal passages and proved an enjoyable start.

Next up was Popadoms. Sticking strictly to the fiery brief, I was treated to a chicken phall, something waiter Bair Miah admitted was “too hot” even for him. Great.

Reporter Mark Shales tries to find the "hottest curry in Brick Lane"

Reporter Mark Shales tries to find the "hottest curry in Brick Lane" - Credit: Archant


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The dish didn’t seem too bad at first, but like a smoking piece of tinder setting alight a bonfire, the searing heat kicked in seconds later and I reached desperately for the yoghurt.

Half way through my tour I was treated to a Bollywood Blast – a cocktail of chilies including one-time world’s hottest chilli the naga – at curry house Sheba. So far each restaurant had upped the ante and here I thought we’d found the night’s winner.

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But at my next stop, The Famous Curry Bazaar, a “Bombay” version of the blast at was even hotter than the last.

Getting into the spirit of the night I gamely chomped on a whole chilli and instantly regretted it.

Reporter Mark Shales tries to find the "hottest curry in Brick Lane"

Reporter Mark Shales tries to find the "hottest curry in Brick Lane" - Credit: Archant

As the burning eventually began to subside, lips still tingling, I thought I might have impressed waiter Zonny Chowdhury with my feat. “Oh no, that’s just a green chilli,” he said. “It’s not too hot at all.” I beg to differ.

My mouth ablaze and stomach swelling with food I was beginning to hit the brick (Lane) wall as we headed for Nazrul – my fifth and final stop.

Pleading that a small sample would do, head waiter Jazz Miah insisted I was treated to the full works, including a chicken naga.

Opened in 1978, the restaurant claims to be the oldest in Brick Lane – today a thronging cultural hub.

“The restaurants originally opened for migrant Asians,” explained Jazz. “But other ethnicities began trying the food and liked it, so eventually the demand got bigger and bigger.”

After conceding defeat to the last dish, I swigged at my glass of mango lassi to extinguish the flames for good.

I felt strangely proud as I walked back through the night-time hubbub, reflecting on the past four-and-a-half hours in search of the hottest curry on the Lane. No one could ever mock me for “only ordering a korma” again.

I’d heartily recommend all five dishes, though perhaps not all on the same night. The hottest in my books? The Famous Curry Bazaar’s “Bombay Blast”. Phew.

Do you agree? What’s the hottest dish you’ve ever eaten in Brick Lane, and at which restaurant? Let us know via Twitter at @ELAdvertiser or email mark.shales@archant.co.uk

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