Dinner Express

Seems to have closed down. Ballifs notice on the shutters when I went to collect an order. Shame as it was very good. Doesn't leave much other choice for Indian


  • How did you order if it's closed down?
    I was speaking to the chap in Dhonia the other day, he said that young people don't really eat Indian food and, like the chippy and greasy spoons that used to be everywhere, Indian restaurants will probably move out of gentrified (sorry) areas within a few years.
  • edited September 2018
    Its the type of restaurant that's the issue, I think. There are too many supposed 'Indian' restaurants on the traditional model which have failed to adapt. I.e. they serve various greasy anglacised dishes from the whole sub continent (which is like having a 'European' restaurant) but are very often Bangladeshi-run and focus on the dishes of that country, or more broadly the northern sub-continent. Places that focus on more specific local cuisines or modern takes on it - think Dishoom or Gunpowder - do very well indeed. Its a failure to adapt rather than a dislike of the cuisine among the youf.

    Chinatown is having a similar problem - Jay Rayner wrote about it the other day.
  • I like the guy in Dhonia, he said that to me as well, I think it is too heavy a food for people on a night out now there are lighter options around like Thai.

    It is a throwback in there like the one at Hornsey, I know people that are snobbish around that fact as well.

    Chinatown is also struggling from rent increases like everywhere else.
  • @Arkady do you think Dishoom do well because of the cuisine?

    I always thought it was due to the modern marketing techniques, the very reason I have never been in one...
  • Yeah. If you can get a table at one, which is next to impossible because of their hellish refusal to let you book, then the food is fantastic. And it's a very specific cuisine, I forget the details but something like members of a Persian-origin ethnic group who settled in Bombay and are famed for their street food. Or something. Could all be made up for all I know but it beats the balti slop I grew up with in the Midlands. They do an amazing keema brunch thing.

    I read a fascinating thing once about the origin of the British Indian restaurant tradition. How men traditionally did zero cooking in India, but Indian (usually Bengali) conscript troops were asked to make anglicised versions of Indian dishes for their white officers, had a crack at it, and then we're brought back to Britain where they opened restaurants serving these confused and inauthentic dishes that they'd learned to cobble together to retired Raj officials. The rest is history.
  • Arkady, try the Dishoom in Kensington High Street. I've only had lunch there but I understand that even in the evening it is considerably easier to get into.

    I like Dishoom and the food is great, but I also like Dhonia and the traditional Indian restaurant / takeaway.

    I reckon with a bit of imagination it isn't difficult to take the traditional Indian and replicate some of the small plates / sharing based stuff that makes Dishoom so popular.

    A traditional curry house in the Hertfordshire town where my mum lives has been taken over and reinvented as an Indian street food place and is doing such a roaring trade that people can't get a table

  • Yeah. In most places they just need to pare the menu down and do a medley of small plate options rather than one big tray of slop. If they can add specificity and authenticity (or focused experimentation) more the better.
  • Funnily enough i was in Brick Lane yesterday and the whole strip of Indian restaurants does look completely tired \ dated, the Streetfood stalls were much busier.

    The Pride of Spitalfields is still looking resplendent, as is the cat.
  • real shame this has closed. cheap and cheerful tasty slop at a very decent price. nice and ungentrified. perfect for a casual take-away to fill the spot. a veg byriani and a side dish was huge enough to feed two for a little over a tenner. really nothing similar around (unless someone here knows otherwise!)
  • I don't think you can survive with 2nd rate Indian food anymore as the average punter cant be fobbed off anymore

    i love the fact that you can do a tour of London and essentially do a tour of different culinary regions of south east asia. If anyone wants recommendations for Restaurants let me know

    East - Forest Gate/Green Street - food from Pakistan
    East - Brick Lane (selected places) - food from Bangladesh

    North - wembely - food from Gujarat

    West - Southhall - Food from the Punjab region

    South - Tooting - Food from South India (Kerala/Tamil Nadu)

  • according to their website they haven't closed just renovating


    Sorry, we're closed for renovation from
    Sep 23, 2018 - Oct 22, 2018
  • edited September 2018
    I think he owns the Chinese next door as well.
  • What Sutent said.

    @HolbornFox - is it the same cat? The legend has been there so long I wonder if they occasionally sneak in a replacement.
  • I thought Dinner Express was pretty good (better than slop!), although not quite as good as Yak & Yeti. I hope it hasn't closed. Undeserved closings of ndependent places always make me sad; it feels like someone has lost their dream.
  • Miss A I orderred on their app. I did get an email apologizing cancelling the order later on. I hope it is just shut for renovations but the note on shutters seem to indicate unpiad bills
    The message wasn't on the site on Saturday. The food is very reasonable. The Yak and Yeti Lamb Byirany is very good
  • Love the Nepalese options at Yak and Yeti.
  • edited September 2018
    Funny you say that @Arkady because i thought he was bigger but he does sleep in that very unique way of covering his eyes with his paws, he is in very good nick considering he must be about 38.

  • My cat covers her eyes with her paws - a lot of them do as they get older. I hope she lives to 38, from your mouth to God's ears.

    I tell you which cat is a deffo replacement, Street Cat Bob. There is no way that is the same cat as the original Bob.
  • Has Dhonia closed down?
  • No. Do you live locally? I'd highly recommend a walk round the area and talking to local businesses.
  • Thanks, I have done! Does anyone know when exactly Exotica of India and Balti King closed down? Was it all within the last three years? It's a shame to see the Indian restaurant trade struggling
  • Last three years? You mean last three months.
  • ok thank you! So it was all within the last four months
  • just to confirm - did balti king and exotica of india both close this year? I don't want to get my facts wrong. Thank you for your help :)
  • You don't want to get your facts wrong even though you are taking them from a forum?
  • I can't find the information online and I thought local people would be more knowledgeable. Thanks
  • When you look on their web site the date for reopening just goes back all the time now December. Must be saving up to pay the lease.
  • edited November 2018
    I noticed on Google Maps a new business operating from the same address as Dinner Box...

  • It is quite an extensive menu which is a little difficult to translate into the old favourites
  • It looks interesting nevertheless
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