It was already easy to be jealous of Elia Street's residents. Close to the Regent’s Canal, it’s the kind of leafy road in Angel that'd get Richard Curtis going. And now, in The Tamil Crown, from the same people behind The Tamil Prince, they have an excellent neighbourhood pub and Indian restaurant, made for moody date nights where the lighting is low and the chances of sharing an Uber home are high.
Downstairs is fine for snagging a walk-in table and for more casual meals, but it can feel cold and stiff—especially for somewhere cosplaying as a pub (that really leans more restaurant). It’s sparsely decorated and the door swings open at regular intervals, filling the small space with gusts of air. You really want to be upstairs. Water rings are replaced with trembling candles blown out by the breathy giggles of a couple on a third date, and sticky, spilt Guinness floors make way for polished wood. Come evening it’s so dark and moody we’ve been known to exclaim, “oh my god, there’s a golden retriever in here” mid-way through our meal. It’s the kind of place where an accidentally-on-purpose finger brush while reaching for roti turns into an actually accidental elbow caress.
If the candlelight and linen curtains don’t make you go all doe-eyed, the aubergine curry—jammy, rich, and more tender than a John Legend lyric—will. Not all the dishes reach these heights. A mango sambar in particular is forgettable, but the ratio leans more hits than misses. And if you want to be guaranteed a good meal, come on Sundays for an Indian roast so flavourful and exciting that it feels like a personal attack on Aunt Bessie. You might not be an Elia Street local, but food like this will turn you into a regular.
These crispy strands of onion knotted around each other are our kind of eternity ring. We’ve eaten a lot of bhajis over the years, and these crunchy, but never greasy, ones are worth committing to. The swirling, tumeric-stained balls come with a moreish herby dipping sauce.
Lime Leaf Roasted Chicken & Pineapple Chutney
This is one of our favourite dishes to order at The Tamil Crown. The crispy, citrussy skin is a bar snack we’d eat all on its own. The fact that the meat is so juicy too just feels like showing off. The spicy slices pair well with the sweet, jammy pineapple sauce.
Beef Masala Uttapam & Spicy Coconut Chutney
This dosa is barely holding it together, in the best way possible. Golden curling edges, a soft centre, impossibly thin, but still supporting a generous scattering of spiced beef mince—these are non-negotiable. And on cold nights, we’d like to be wrapped up in one.
We would cross London for this curry. The aubergine is soft and caramelised, but not mushy, and the sauce is sweet, spicy, and thick. The two almost blend together after a few greedy dips with roti.
If this mango sambar was at a party, it’d take on the role of a wallflower. The sauce is so mild that it all but fades away and the skin on the mango is a little tough which can make for a jarring mouthful. It’s perfectly fine, but you aren’t going to see it dancing on tables or making out with the host's mum.
Thanjavur Chicken Curry
Another mild dish that, while creamy and tasty, isn’t worth ordering when there are more flavourful and memorable dishes on the menu.
Chettinad Lamb Curry
For mild curry lovers, choose this dish over the Thanjavur chicken. It’s spiced with woody, earthy cinnamon, has a deep, rich flavour, and the lamb is softer than 1,000 thread count sheets.
Buttery, Flaky Roti
If only all menu items were this truthful in their descriptions. Each bite of this buttery (check) and flaky (check) roti will cure you of your trust issues. It is exactly as it’s described and is practically perfect in every way.
This small portion of tangy yoghurt is satisfyingly thick, topped with pistachio and almond, and flavoured with the right amount of saffron and cardamom. It’s tasty but this dessert wasn’t one of the dishes that made a lasting impression.