This & That (Original)

Soap St

It's difficult to say anything original about This & That - it's one of the oldest Curry Cafes still going and has many devotees. The food is different - more plain than most other places. This can be a good thing if you eat a lot of curries. Some people find it a bit bland and the sauces too watery - others feel it epitomises the Curry Cafe experience. It's iconic and usually busy. If you've never been we think you should - you may wonder what the fuss is about or find a perfect low key food operation. It's cheap enough to risk it.

September 2012
Funny how didn't go all summer. - This & That is very much a darker rainier kind of place. Not because it's gloomy, the opposite. It's bright and steamy and warm and is a perfect venue for when it gets colder. Life is good here. It just is.  Offal on a Wendesday is a winner, lamb steak and daal are always good. Throw in a chapati and you've got a great meal for £5. Cannot be denied.

February 2012
Went back for the Offal curry (and 2 others of course)  - decent, but as can be the case here there was a pool of water on the bottom of the plate. probably due to the thinner nature of the curry sauces than at other establishments - as the other possibly cause can be undercooked rice, but it was fine. Tasty curries but the excess water made the texture of the rice a wee bit gloopy. This happens from time to time at This & That - the curries are genuinely different here - thinner and simpler - which can be a bonus, but can cause 'irrigation problems'.
Offal, lamb and lentil & Chicken £4.90
Watery bottom plate - happens every now and again.

December 2011 - It's been a while. Fish was the highlight today - pictured in the foreground, I think getting there early is the key as it's essentailly cooking a little all day in those warmers. Other times its been nearly disintegrated but this time it was whole and fleshy - great stuff.

April 2011 - Slightly disappointing today. Water on the bottom of the plate, incredibly red chicken masala and stringy lamb (with pumpkin) - all edible, just not quite right.

Another cold day another...oh well you know. Pictured (bottom) and excellent. It wasn't sophisticated or subtle but it was just right. Unpretentious and unfussy. £4.60 plus 50p roti is still good.

Cold day, beer festival to come. Had to be This & That. Pictured.

Great trip on a cold day - no suprises. didn't want any. Karahi chops were the highlight. 

Saturday morning takeaway - fantastic, exactly what I needed for a minor hangover and set me up for the day. My first ever takeaway from here somehow made it all the better, which I was not expecting. Inexplicable really, but that foil container seemed to magically intensify the flavours a bit. Give it a go.  Or just eat in and avoid washing up. 

Didn't leave it quite so long this time - the lamb biryani is really growing on me - more the flavour of the rice than the meat. It was delicious today with a slight citrus vibe.

I can't believe it's been three months. - I don't think it has actually, there's just little left to say about this iconic place so we don't always bother.  Today was good - having lamb biryani instead of rice was little treat too, although I would have felt a bit short changed if having only that dish. The big question, is it as good as Top Quality's chicken biryani on a Friday? - Sorry, no.  But still a great trip, which is as much to do with the place as the food. Struggling to sit down at 12.30 on a Thursday has to be a good sign.

After a couple of mediocre visits This & That was back on form and we were really pleased.  After recent trips elsewhere it was really nice to come here, relax and enjoy the lesser spiced more wholesome and home-cooked food - it's just a bit more 'real' and a lot less oily. When it's on form we understand what that fuss about. 

A bit better than last time, enjoyable but nothing massively exciting. Perhaps that's the point here, the food is not all that flavoursome, which actaully can be a welcome change form the over salty, over greasy, artifically coloured stuff served elsewhere. Kidney and liver was pretty tough but the lamb steak was good - chicken a tad dry but fine - mixed veg excellent. 

It's a shame to say it but This & That is getting pretty average. It's still a great place to go and remains the archetypal curry cafe, but the food today was only OK. There was a big pool of water under the rice after we finished, the chicken was bland and tasted as if it had been (over)cooked separately from the sauce and chucked in at the end. The lamb and chana were good. We're hoping they'll recover. Still £4.60 for 2 meat one veg, which is good too.

General blurb
This place sets the standard for all Curry Cafés. It is a long standing favourite with many loyal customers and is the prime example of what these places should be. The décor and seating are basic, and the place has a rough and ready feel to it. On a cold and miserable day the steamy and warm interior are perfect for eating a hot and wholesome meal. The staff are excellent, with the operation being efficient and homely. The food is very good, with most dishes being in a rustic, 'home-cooked' style. The curries are not brightly coloured or heavily spiced, generally consisting of meat, vegetables and a subtly flavoured gravy. There are a small range of free sundries on offer - coriander, chillies, onions and yoghurt sauce. The menu is reasonably extensive, with a range of 9 or 10 freshly cooked curries that change daily. The additional items (roti, pakora etc) are limited, but perfectly judged and done well. The value for money is excellent (currently £4.60 for two meat curries, one vegetable curry and rice) and the portions are generous. This & That has the winning formula for Curry Cafés. Any changes could easily upset the delicate balance found in this near perfect place. On their day, the best of the rest are equal or even better for food but This & That has very few off days and therefore many satisfied customers.

Key Ingredients 17.0 (out of 20)
Other Food 8.0 (out of 10)
Service Setting 9.0 (out of 10)
Value for Money 5.0 (out of 5)
Range 4.5 (out of 5)
Average Rating 8.7 (out of 10)

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  1. We had planned a trip to Yadgar Café but it was packed out Friday lunchtime (great sign) and no seating, but This & That didn't disappoint. Chicken & Chickpea, Hot Keema & Daal with rice and a chapati were enjoyed for £5. Yadgar Cafe will have to wait another day!

  2. The best thing to eat at this n that is the cabbage curry, which doesn't sound great but believe me it's wonderful. Tuesdays and Saturdays are the days for it.
    The daal is always great too.

  3. I totally agree the cabbage curry is excellent.