Londoners love a curry, and the place to go for a really good curry is Brick Lane in the East End. This narrow street is lined by curry houses serving traditional foods from Bangladesh and India. On any normal night of the week it’s impossible to walk down the street without being offered free drinks and specials by the hosts standing outside restaurants as they vie for customers. It gives the place quite a carnival feel all year, but for one week in May the festivities really unleash for the Brick Lane Curry Festival.
Timed to coincide with Baishaki Mela, the Bangladeshi New Year, in 2012 the festival runs from May 8th-15th. To kick it off on May 8th there will be alfresco dining up and down the street as around 40 restaurants bring their tables out into the spring warmth. There will be a procession of dancers and performers and musicians and in two nearby parks there will be stages, kids’ activities and food stalls. Allen Gardens will showcase folk traditions including the Pitta Market of traditional delicacies and home-cooked specialties, while Weavers Fields will have a fairground, music stages and picnic areas.
Brick Lane is easily reached by underground from Aldgate East and in the surrounding areas are Spitalfields Market, Whitechapel Art Gallery and, further up Brick Lane itself are very hip bars and clothes shops. Brick Lane always feels like a party, and for a week in May it really is a festival.