Ahh Harrow East, why can’t you be more like Harrow West? Two sides of the same borough, one red and one blue, having never voted the same way since the days of New Labour. While Harrow West is safely Labour, East is a different prospect with a Conservative incumbent who has always been fewer than 5000 votes ahead of the next candidate. A small swing towards Labour may take it, although ironically it may be conservative Gujarati voters that define the race. Gujarati options also define the food scene here and there are plenty of choices for the canvasser in need of respite on the streets of Harrow East, but a predilection for samosas, kachori, dabeli, masala fries and other golden brown delights certainly helps.Read More
Where to Eat When Canvassing in Harrow East
Gujarati options define the food scene here — samosas, kachori, dabeli, masala fries and other golden brown delights
1. Dynasty Lounge & Restaurant
Switching between regional, British and Chinese Indian in different sections of the menu, this popular Indian restaurant in Harrow Weald has something for everyone. The Desi-Chinese food is done well here, from a crispy lamb as satisfyingly sweet and glossy as any Chinese takeaway, to hakka noodles, chilli garlic chips of mogo and the ubiquitous chilli paneer.
2. Poussin Plaice
The name is deceptive, serving neither plaice nor (the small bird) poussin, and this Kenyan-Gujarati restaurant in Queensbury has recently switched its entire menu to veg, with a particular specialisation in that beloved Kenyan-Gujarati snack: chips. The whole world is represented here in fried potato and cassava, from Kenya — chips with a buttery poussin chilli sauce — to India — Masala chips — China — Szechuan chips — and Wales — cheesy chips.
3. The Regency Club
Outside the constituency boundaries by a few metres, this iconic Desi-pub in Queensbury is pitched somewhere between Gymkhana and a big Indian Spoons, without the dismal politics. The draw here is extremely obvious: it’s a pub that does good Indian food, where those who like beer and those who like mixed grills, and those who like mixed grills while drinking beer can meet in one big Venn diagram.
4. Mazar Restaurant
Pashtun food is becoming more and more visible in Harrow, and on a single side road in Wealdstone it’s possible to find two restaurants serving it from the Afghan side of the border. Mazar is the smaller, cosier of the two, and often found filled with older heads speaking Pashto and dressed in traditional garb. Carbs are worth a special notice, with an outstanding rendition of qabuli palow, sweet with carrot, raisins and lamb fat, or aashak, an Afghan pasta served with meatballs and quroot, a sour cheese. Don’t miss the parlour opposite selling sheeryakh, an Afghan ice cream heady with saffron and rose.
5. Masa Restaurant
Harrow HA3 5QH, UK
Bigger and busier than Mazar, Masa is usually only at a third capacity until it opens up for huge Afghan weddings. Mantoo here are decent versions of the never-spelled-the-same-way, pan-central Asian dumplings; but better are aashak filled with chopped leeks and topped with yoghurt and chilli oil. The true test is the simple bara, a lamb kebab, which Masa passes with flying colours, interspersing well grilled lean meat with crispy parcels of fat.
6. Pradips (Below Restaurant Timings)
Ostensibly a mithai shop that has undergone the well travelled migration route of Gujarat to Kampala to London, the vegetarian restaurant of the same name connected to it is also one of London’s best Gujarati hang outs. Snack on fried dishes of samosas and kachoris as well as simple but well executed homely staples like toor dal. It also does its own take on a quesadilla on the menu as a ‘quasidilla’, which may or may not be an extremely good joke and is probably trademark-worthy.
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7. Bombay Spice
London NW9 9HJ, UK
Just about the best thing in Kingsbury outside mango season, this Maharastian snack shop is both pure veg and no veg, an excuse to slam various textures of carbs together and see what happens. Choose vada pav and dabeli, the latter sweet and crunchy with sev, peanuts and tamarind, or masala fries, always a spicy, sticky pleasure. The piece de resistance is toast sandwich, a genteel mix of cucumber, tomato, grated cheese and chutneys on trash white bread, grilled to melting point.
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8. Balkh Restaurant Kenton
On the lower half of Kenton Road, this Afghan restaurant has quickly established itself as one of the best places in the area for grills and karahis. Depending on how big the canvassing group it’s possible to pre-order a mixed grill (3-4), a lamb shoulder (5-6), a lamb leg (6-7) or the whole beast. (15+).