Time Out says
A tiny family-run Pakistani restaurant.
Masala Wala Cafe – a dinky little family-run Pakistani curry joint, plonked on a roundabout near Brockley station – is one of those perfect neighbourhood restaurants. Having had a refurb, the cramped interior is now more like a hip Soho spot, with tables made from salvaged piping, neat Indian posters on the walls and some outdoor counter seating. Despite that, it remains a homely affair, with a reassuringly short menu (four mains, three sides, pickles and raita) and a BYO policy that gets you a discount from the deli opposite.
On my visit, everything on the menu was killer. Black chickpea curry was a smoky, warming dish, on the right side of spicy and the peas cooked so they still had a little bite; lamb and spinach ghosht saw tender meat strung through almost puréed greens – a swampy little bowl honking with ginger and spices. Portions are generous too – they’ve actually got bigger as the years have gone on, which is an unprecedented bonus.
On the side, a flaky pile of rotis could have done with a scrape more butter but a carrot and chilli pickle was tart and textural, full of crunch and the sour-savoury zing of fleshy pickled lemon (side note: you cannot have too much pickled lemon, the world’s most underrated ingredient).
Even desserts, rarely a standout in such spots, were grand. A cone of pistachio kulfi was dense and rich, like pressure-compacted gelato; a subtly floral rose lassi ambrosially light and refreshing.
Service is charming beyond belief, and the mother/daughter operation (in the kitchen and running front of house, respectively) has been rightfully praised by locals. Brockley’s gentrification has been pretty glacial, and it’s still lacking in good eateries. This is definitely one, though – a pitch-perfect little spot doing absolutely everything right.
5 Brockley Cross
|Price:||Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £60.|
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Users say (49)
Average User Rating
4.9 / 5
- 5 star:45
- 4 star:3
- 3 star:0
- 2 star:0
- 1 star:0
Anyone brave enough to open in Brockley Cross has to be commended - that having been said the food was not better than your run of the mill high street curry house.
Having seen only 2 Veg and 2 Non-veg dishes on the menu - my first thoughts were oh wow a very limited menu - that must mean quality home cooked food - but alas.
Ambience was good, staff were friendly and charming, food was disappointing but I would still urge people to give it a try and support a brave effort in darkest Brockley (I went to school there so know the area well).
This was our 2nd visit inside a month to Masala, and to try a veg option is something that just doesn't happen,except this time! I choice Aloo Gobi - cauliflower & potato curry, and wow what flavour and texture, I kind of knew the other dish - Slow cooked lamb & aubergine would be good, and it was, but a complete surprise with Aloo, highly recommended!
Nicer people and better neighbors have never existed, a great little business with a lot of love that deserves to have a good run!
Amazing home cooked food in an ever increasingly lovely dining environment. Friendly hands-on owner who clearly loves what she does! Proud to have Masala Wala Cafe in the area.
The food is incredible- I've never had a meal that's less than 'wonderful', and every single dish feels like it'a infused with mum & daughter's hospitality, friendliness, and care. The owners are so friendly and lovely too- absolutely love masalawala. Almost don't want them to win because I want to keep them my little secret- but they deserve it because they are fabulous!
It's the quality of home made curry, the fresh menus, the welcoming hostess, it's just all you want from a curry place, with the added flavour of a community favourite so you know it's all genuinely local and Saima waves you hello on your way back from work. Everyone should have a Masala Wala Cafe in their life!
They have a simple menu but what they serve is superb. The atmosphere is wonderful and the staff are super friendly and make you feel right at home. Would drive out of my way to get their take away.
There vegetarian stuff is just a cut above other Indian style restaurants. Really like the setting too.
Gets to the heart of good food by using fresh ingredients and creating a simple menu with fantastic flavours. I love the lamb and aubergine! Atmosphere is relaxed, friendly and cool. They let you BYOB and there's great service in their lovely little venue,
Great atmosphere and the best curry ever. Lamb is always tender and the vegetable curries are delicious.
amazing vibes, awesome food and inspirational all female ownership! To top it all off its really reasonably priced too. Well worth a visit. I travel from East Sussex to enjoy their food.
It has a humble and incredibly welcoming atmosphere. The food is great for either meat eaters or vegetarians and BYOB which makes for a cheaper meal!
Delicious home-cooked Pakistani food in a jewel of a setting. Service is wonderfully warm and prices are really reasonable. The best place to take friends and family for a special meal. Love it!
I love the unpretentiousness of the food which is totally delicious and authentic Punjabi, it's a relaxing and cosy atmosphere and really good value for money
Mother, daughter family run business, small and friendly, with yummy Pakistani, good quality home cooked food. Must try.
It's because it home cooking with great atmosphere and we'll worth the prices well definitely recommend it x
Proper Punjabi food in a modern London setting with a cool vibe - Masala Wala is the perfect example of London's multiculture at its best. A simple menu features four mains, sides and a list of delicious drinks ... that's it. Vegetarian and gluten free options are standard (as with most Punjabi food). Everything is home cooked, fresh and friendly with not a 'generic' curry house staple in sight. Real food made by real people.
This place is awesome home cooked food which is soo different to curry houses! Mother and daughter team really doing something different!!!
Friendly, intimate, simple, and full of flavour and love. Exactly what you want from a local restaurant. I love showing this place off to visiting friends, I just wish it was a better kept secret ;-)
I love the fact this place has a mum & daughter doing the food and it's noticeable in the food - it's full of love (and tastes AMAZING). Go check them out
Amazing home style Pakistani cooking, the roti's are epic and the best lamb curries I have ever eaten!
Brilliant Pakistani home cooking. The food and hospitality never disappoints! Such a wonderful addition to the Brockley community.
This is simply the most perfect dinner spot in south east London! seriously the best dishes, friendly staff, cozy atmosphere! All my love goes to Masala Wala!
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