In a curry? Read this

Out of a humble enterprise serving local Indian immigrant population on Queen’s Crescent grew iconic brand Patak’s

Home of Patak's: Queen's Crescent. Photo: Stephen Emms
Home of Patak’s: Queen’s Crescent. Photo: Stephen Emms

It’s not widely known that Queen’s Crescent was where one of the UK’s biggest ever curry firms first set up shop.

Back in 1957, a certain Mr Pathak arrived in Kentish Town with his family. Unable to find authentic Indian food locally, they started making authentic meals to sell to the local Indian immigrant population. And out of this humble enterprise grew iconic brand Patak’s, which now apparently supplies an astonishing 75% of British curryhouses with sauces and spices.

And, let’s face it everyone likes a curry, right? None more so than Mrs Kentishtowner, who’s firmly of the school that a good curry should be a 5 minute crawl from the sofa (she doesn’t do delivery). And so by virtue of geography she awards Malden Road’s Bombay Bites her first choice, but both their lamb shashlick (£6.95) and tender chicken tikka (£4.95) are undeniably spot on.

Other places we frequent include the open-air curry stall on Queen’s Crescent market (Thurs & Sat lunchtimes), Fleet Tandoori and the excellent Aroma Spice (both on the fringes of Gospel Oak) and, like most locals (and many broadsheets), the critically-acclaimed Bengal Lancer.

“Ah! the splendid Lancer,” agrees Tom Kentishtowner. “As a vegetarian I’m always looking out for places that offer more than the usual identikit side dishes; therefore the sinfully good aubergine, chickpea, cheese and flaky pastry pie at the Bengal Lancer is an unexpected delight. I remember when it had zebra skin seats, jungle-themed water features between the tables and a thick pile red carpet – classic decor from a lost age. They also had a picture of Neil Kinnock’s shadow cabinet Christmas party held there sometime in the 80s. Perhaps it’s even still a Milliband fave?”

Perhaps. And what about you lot? Well, @nellefant agrees with Tom:

“I’ve always absolutely loved Bengal Lancer for really interesting dishes. Staff are lovely, too. Only gripe is it’s a bit overpriced, so we only go on special occasions nowadays. I’ve tried Gulshaan which was tasty enough but a bit too small inside for comfort!”

Laura Murray (Twitter @StarbarMurray) rates it a little more highly:

“Admittedly, ambience/ decor inside Gulshaan isn’t up to much but the curry is second–to-none in my opinion.”

For those of you in the Tufnell/Dartmouth reaches of the manor, here’s @JS:

“I recommend you try Liberty Kebabish on Chetwynd Road, on the site of the old Chameli, whose chef was a proper talent (but whose food was more top Mumbai hotel than Anglo-Indian high-street.) This Punjabi joint offers the closest thing to Indian home-cooking you’ll get in NW5. Unpretty, shall we say “boldly-spiced” dishes are cooked by the owner’s wife, but everything is good, and the veggie dishes and breads are outstanding. The mistake they’ve made is that the place looks like a high-street Indian circa 1995 rather than someone’s front-room, which would be more fitting for the cooking. Consequently, it’s struggling but the food makes it worth a visit.”

Yes, the sun is shining and a hot curry is the last thing on your mind, but indulge us: are you a rogan josh or chicken korma kinda person? And where else in NW5 do you recommend?


  • Show Comments

  • VantageNW

    I am experiencing much ‘shock’ and ‘awe’ about the Pataks link with Queen’s Crescent. Who knew? Not us, anyway. We also LOVE Paradise curry – it’s technically Hampstead Heath (South End Green) but the curry is top class, the service at once hilarious and professional and it has big floor to ceiling doors which are fab when opened in the summer. And they always give you a free glass of whisky at the end of the night. Perfection.

  • Kentishtowner

    Thanks for that. Mrs Kentishtowner is a big fan of Paradise too. It’s charming – and South End Green always has that ‘holiday’ vibe. Sigh.

  • jd2511

    Have you tried Spice in Fortess Road. The best Indian restaurant in Kentish Town. The family who own and run the establishment (Charlie and his sons) have been in the area for years and treat you as old friends every time you visit. They also have authentic Bangladeshi dishes on the menu, and the food is always excellent. Very competitively priced, very important at theses times.

  • Ahsan

    The best curry in Kentish Town is now to be found at the newly opened, and delicious, Lahore Masala House on Kentish Town Road. It’s not only authentic, it’s a BYO too!

  • Jo

    Can I add Maharani’s (109 Camden High Street) to this delightful list? I have been going there for a decade and in my humble opinion it is the best! Authentic, well priced and long established (1963) it is the most delicous curry I have tasted since leaving my native Midlands (where we take Indian food VERY seriously). Warm and friendly atmosphere goes a long way too, prepare to be welcomed like old friends.

  • Chris

    Tiffin Tin is good for delivery. Consistently great quality…


    Hey all Curry Lovers,

    I would also like to add that I have been in Camden for years and tried almost every Indian out there but for me Bombay Bites on 159 Malden Road, NW5 rocks the charts.

    The reason being is that the food tastes really fresh, great portions and very well priced. What tops it up even more is the warm service you get from there and not to mention all those freebies with orders. I do order from other places aswell but 8/10 I use Bombay Bites.

    They also run a points & discounts scheme on their website at:

    Try them!!

  • LauraK

    I consistently like Gulshaan, reasonable and speedy delivery. You should also try Rose Tandoori on Malden road!

  • Lydia

    I just visited the Bengal Lancer…. I couldn’t eat what was served to me and the staff were rude. My curry had a glacier cherry in it! Will try Lahore Masala house next time!