Saturday 25 July 2009


‘’Upon England's mountains green and pleasant pastures seen, shine forth upon the clouded hills was Khan’s builded here’’*

Yes and well, someone had to blog about it. Khan’s serves up British cuisine, not the best but certainly indicative of what the rest of Britain have been eating for over half a century from Maryport to Tiverton. If I get visitors to London wanting a bit of Brit curry, I bring them here first. It’s all very well mentioning Tayyabs or Lahore Kebab House, but they’re too authentic and chicken tikka masala is omitted from their menus. Like E Pellicci, Wonky, Kebab Machine and F.Cooke; one has never actually been to London until one has dined at Khan’s. This notorious and equally venerable place is a London institution, like its Cantonese counterpart Wonky, the inherent flaws make both these restaurants beguiling to visit.

Khan’s has existed for more than thirty years and still owned by the same family of the same name. It’s huge and imposing but ultimately dated in appearance. It’s also perfect for solo diners like myself to venture here for lunch, I never feel out of sorts at Khan's. I’ve also noticed that Khan’s is a magnet for the semi-domiciled but idle rich (quit the mincing of words…) Middle Eastern community in this part of London. And speaking of which, booze is no longer served and I daresay BYO is discouraged. Khan’s has a reputation with its service, I wouldn’t call the waiters rude but they've been consistently ignorant and terse. Like Wonky again, the service has since mellowed over the years and best described as just ‘nice’…how boring!

It was ever so difficult to wield a camera in this restaurant, managed to accost one of the waiters to take this picture. Yes that’s me oozing smugness (at last and you haven’t missed much!). I’m glad I resembled a tourist.

I usually go for the Meat Thali which consists of rogan josh, mutter paneer, raita, papadom, nan, pilau rice, a piece of sheek kebab and a piece of tandoori chicken for a tenner. It’s consistently alright I suppose and the quantity is large enough for me to skip dinner as well. But I came here this afternoon to try out the Winter Buffet Deal at £8.50 per person. Times are obliviously still challenging otherwise they wouldn’t be offering this winter thing in the middle of summer. The eat as much as you like dishes included the following-

Onion Bhaji
Chicken Wings
Sag Chicken (you know what with the Popeye treatment)
Chicken Chilli Masala (hooray tourists, that’s actually chicken tikka masala)
Vegetable Curry (vaguest understatement)
Bhindi (Lady Fingers)
Chana Masaladar (accelerated wind-inducing dish)
Vegetable Soup (oh dear gawd…)
Loads of pilau rice (veggies beware, cooked in chicken stock!) and nan bread.

That fraught looking dish on the right is essentially a cabbage soup, it was disgusting and not even Oliver Twist would be able to finish his first helping of it!

Well there you have it, more choices than my usual meat thali meal, but lamb has been obliterated from the offerings. Overall impression of the buffet meal was simply average but psychologically satisfying. The food at Khan’s can never set the world on fire, my experience of it has always been ok but never despondently poor. If I get a shout from one of you folks wanting to meet up here for lunch I certainly wouldn’t say no, as mediocrity brings a welcome change to what I’m generally accustomed to. Long live Khan’s, long live Plan B!

*With apologies to William Blake.

13-15 Westbourne Grove
London W2 4UA


thora said...

Surprise! Nice to have a (handsome) face accompanying this blog. Thanks.

Helen Yuet Ling Pang said...

That must be the first photo of you I've seen, though I still wouldn't be able to identify you in a restaurant. I used to eat at Khan's quite regularly when I was a student (many many years ago) and always thought it rather good, but haven't been back since those good old days...

bellaphon said...

Thora- Who are you kidding? Danke anyway :)

HYL- Apart from looking like a tourist I also look like one of the Chinese first XI footballers. Enigmatic, I hope to remain.

Unknown said...

HAHAHA what a funny post! and it's great to finally put a face to the caffeine addict that i've been recommending to friends--a face framed by fake palms no less! I love it, B! :)

KHan: my plan C after Tayabbs and Lahore (oily fest)

ps: im going back to Singapore for a 2 week holiday (yay! Durian and Teh HALIA!) and guess which establishment I'll really miss here? Guess? ;)

bellaphon said...

Yvonne- My word, you're Singaporean, just like Little Miss Random; not many of you peeps in London!
I've only had Teh Halia at Rafee's Corner on Maxwell Road. To be honest the mamak stalls across the causeway are better; something to do with the clinical hygiene enforced in S'pore that removes the 'soul' from streetfood! I'm going to KL, Bangkok and Amoy (hate that Mandarin word Xiamen) this September...looking forward to it.

Unknown said...

I bet you are! Have a good one! Speaking of law enforcements, I wish there were more stringent ones in Amsterdam. I was robbed there two weekends ago. Stupid idiots on a moped drove onto the pavement and snatched my bag off me-the despicable swines. I didn't have the stomach to down a 'brownie' after that...(to say the least).

Love love love your blog btw.

bellaphon said...

Yvonne- Shall start a new blog about my adventures and family in that part of the world. You don't have to venture far out of London to become a victim of snatch and grab, I was pickpocketed a month ago on the Bus 7 in Oxford Street!

Dad said...

Let me get this straight.

You eat vast amounts of lovely (but seemingly unhealthy) looking food, call yourself Fat Les and yet the person staring back at me (albeit from behind poseur's shades), is a handsome, slim geezer with fabulously shiny hair?

Where's the justice???

I shall have to keep Mrs Dad firmly AWAY from your blog from now on!

Lookin' good Mr Bellaphon, lookin' good!

bellaphon said...

Dad- Ho Ho! The wonders of Paint Shop Pro! For once the photo here does not entirely tell the truth. Gone are the zits, warts, grey hair, etc...but alas I couldn't make myself chubbier! Perhaps the latter is down to three things-

I walk to most of the eating destinations except South London (groan!)
I'm not on an Atkins Diet but my carbs intake has always been historically limited.
Last but not least and I'm not proud of it, smoking does indeed suppress my appetite. I can survive on a couple of bananas a day if needs be.

BTW, I’m quite trampish in the flesh.