The Monsoon is an Indian restaurant in London’s East End that has ridden out many a storm. Founded in 2001 by Shams Ud Din, The Monsoon is the epitome of this long-standing Brick Lane community leader and restaurateur’s efforts to bring proper Bangladeshi cuisine (not what has been historically described, self-effacingly, as just Indian cuisine) to the broader London public. A fascinating example of how something we take for granted – food – can be central to crucial debates about cultural authenticity, and simply a great place to enjoy delicious meals and lavish banquets, The Monsoon is a shining light in the Spitalfields and Banglatown dining scene.
Proprietor Shams Ud Din grew up through the East London ructions of the 1970s and 1980s, observing how the clash of cultures between the wealthy City riches and the relatively marginalised Tower Hamlets community gave birth to a Banglatown renaissance that, to his mind, was a double-edged sword. On the one hand, South Asian culinary culture became widely accepted in London, with the East End and Brick Lane in particular becoming known as a hotspot for those seeking this kind of cuisine. On the other hand, Shams saw the burgeoning restaurant scene catering to a naive understanding of South Asian regional differences, resulting in all these distinct strands and styles being gathered collectively, homogeneously, under the general term Indian.
In response, Shams founded The Monsoon as a restaurant with a mission, determined to serve authentically Bangladeshi cuisine. Let’s get educated. Given Bangladesh’s riverine interior and stunning coastal environment, The Monsoon’s fish dishes are supreme representatives of this restaurant’s distinctive offering. Try the fish katli, shobji fish, or the adrak ki mass. Even more close to this East London South Asian restaurant’s heart are the Bangladeshi specialties, most of which typically involve green chilli, coriander, native spices and the seeds of the Bengali runner bean. Again dominated by seafood, the king prawn gatta, prawn shatkora bhuna and the shatkora mas biran are our picks. Brick Lane loyalists will want to check out the chef’s specials, with colourful dishes laden with giant prawns from the Bay of Bengal cooked in a tandoor and simmered in spicy red masala sauce for the golda chingri londoui. There’s plenty more meat and vegetable delicacies on offer here, and don’t forget that The Monsoon offers some of the most opulent and authentic banqueting events in this crowded corner of Spitalfields’ dining scene.
Always a great experience at the monsoon will be back
The food and service is excellent at The Monsoon. This is our go-to restaurant on Brick Lane. We always recommend it to people who are looking for a great Indian restaurant.
Food was delicious, service was attentive but not stifling. We were made to feel welcome and the waiter was very helpful with suggestions. Ambiance was nice and the price was fair.
Excellent experience. The food was top quality as was the service. The price was also very reasonable given the location. I would highly recommend this restaurant.
It s a multi levels restaurant so each space is quite intimate, some floors being used for complete parties of about twenty. we were taken up to the third floor which has several smaller tables. The food was excellent and although we knew what to expect was cooked with a different twist so we didn't realize what some dishes were until we tasted them. Service was pretty good too considering them were really busy by 8 so definately worth booking.
The staff were helpful and friendly. We ended up letting our waiter choose our meal, he knows what the best items are! Everything was super, would recommend Monsoon to anyone wanting to experience Indian hospitality. They even provided a frozen birthday dessert, complete with a candle for our daughter's 19 birthday! Thanks again
Very fast service, extrelly busy on a saturday night. Delicious food throughout. Reasonable price. Wrong main bought out but quickly corrected no problem. Best chicken meat - tender and tasty. Vindaloo sauce a little rich and thick compared to what I am used to but very good heat. Poppadums and Nanns excellent.
Delicious and friendly, polite staff. I would come back to this restaurant and I would recommend it. Although we didn't, it is worth noting that some others haggled a bit at the door and got a discount from their bill.
Very good food, nice staff, woul really recommend it. I didn't know any Indian restaurants in brick lane, I knew that there weee plenty of them, so I looked up for one with very good recommendations and found this. And I agree with the rating.
We had a great time here. The food was delicious and portion sizes very good. Staff were wonderful and gave us all after dinner drinks too and magnets which was such a nice touch as we had visitors with us from over seas.