A short jump over the river takes you to my bet for best curry in London - Tayyab's on Fieldgate St, near Whitechapel tube.
I've never paid more than 6 pounds for a delicious meal here (it's BYO booze) and the quality of the meat/fish is very high although the cooking is hot hot hot. This is basically where people who are sick of the over-commercialisation and corporatisation of Brick Lane seem to come, if they have heard about the place - it's very tucked away. You often have to queue for a table as the place is rammed, but worth it...
Actually, the "Simply Indian" flier says on the front "Bring your own wine & beers" so do they do eat in? I have to say, I never have - they're in Tabard St - has anyone else?
I'm not into pretentiousness (is there even such a word? - "pretentious, moi?") just good food, & one of the best places used to be an Indian workers caff in Charlotte St (just off Tottenhamcourt Rd) where they did an all you can eat buffet which include 3 different authentic curries for £2.50 (mind you, I am going back 12 years!). Delicious!
Again outside SE1 (but only just) is a great Indian caff type place in, I think, the Strand Hotel - just the other side of Waterloo Bridge - it isn't posh by any stretch of the imagination (think caff - formica tables, benches, bright lights ...) and I can't remember if you had to take your own booze (though I have a recollection of buying it there from the hotel bit, probably drank too much, hence the vagueness!)
You're absolutely right. The restaurant at the Strand Intercontinental Hotel is called The India Club, and is indeed BYO (although you can buy beer from a counter downstairs). It's very authentic and very cheap. It is used regularly by Indian staff who have been posted overseas to work at the Indian High Commission, just across the road.
Simply Indian do eat in and take away - but they only have 5 or 6 tables and they're pretty closely packed in ! This is a terrible generalisation, but if a couple of the tables are taken by student groups, it can be a very different eating experience from if they're families, couples, or just a couple of mates eating together. I tend to walk in, see how busy it is, and then take a view on whether to eat in or take out.
Definitely worth checking out on your way back from the "pub many-of-us-frequent-but-which-we-no-longer-to-mention-by-name-on-this-board-for fear-that-it-will-become-even-more-busy".
Simply Indian isn't as fancy as the Bengal Clipper, but is certainly a cut above the average.
Is the pub the tree with the regal connections? Someone asked me for directions to it on Friday and I couldn't for the life of me remember where it was. At least that meant one less person at the bar!
Can def second opinion on Kennington Tandoori - my man has lived in Kennington for 20 years as man & bachelor & has never strayed from KT. Will deliver. Gets pretty rammed as pretty popular with the Kennington crowd.
He even remembers the current delivery man as an 8 year old !! Have fab piccies of "celebs" in window. Have even supplied curries to Richard & Judy on their programme (studios round the corner !)