The Empress of India

130 Lauriston Road
Hackney, London
E9 7LH
Tel: 020 8533 5123 Bethnal Green 0.9 miles

Housed in a beautiful 19th century building, The Empress of India is a gastropub designed to impress. Located in Victoria Park, The Empress of India follows the success of The Gun as Tom and Ed Martin's fourth venture. Head Chef Tim Wilson, formerly of the Ivy, has created an enviable menu of modern British cuisine with a dash of European influence. Food is served breakfast till supper and a take-away service is on hand for those nights in with a bottle of wine.

The Empress of India, London Tables at The Empress of India, London The Empress of India bar in Victoria Park, London « 1 of 3 photos »

Add your review

Blog review URL


The Empress of India reviews

Unless you are starving to death and everything else around is closed, don't go there. Wrong from start to finish - rude and inexperienced staff, expensive and frankly not exceptional food, extremely noisy... So disappointing when you know its sister restaurants. Even one star rating is too much, but this website will not let me save my comment with none!

Useful review?
 by rickidy, 25 Nov 2010
Went in without a booking on a Sunday afternoon. They looked a bit doubtful but said it would be OK as long as the table was free by half past two (about two hours later). The place was half empty and was even less full two hours later. We were seated on a table next to a family with noisy children, despite plenty of tables elsewhere.

The roast chicken on a board for two was really nice but the service wasn't the best and I didn't like the general attitude. Won't be going back - I'd rather go down to Broadway Market and The Cat & Mutton.

Useful review?
 by gdpreston (2 reviews), 03 Apr 2009
I agree with Margot, the below comments are outdated and inaccurate. The Empress is great! For families, for friends or both. I love popping in for breakfast at the weekend and will definitely be back.

Useful review?
 by dora, 11 Jul 2008
I love this venue. The comments below sound nothing like the Empress of India that I know. The staff are helpful and always go out of their way to make you feel welcome, and the food is nothing short of spectacular. I moved to Victoria Park 5 months ago and straight away this became my local. I recommend this restaurant to everyone I know, it's so great!

Useful review?
 by margot, 28 Apr 2008
Went there with my mum when it first opened, and what a huge disappointment! Overpriced, poor quality food and bad waiting staff. We shared a starter and both had a main with a bottle of wine and 2 bellinis. The bill came to over £95.00! We'd never go back, and have warned all our friends.

Useful review?
 by blondie30 (2 reviews), 26 Oct 2007
I went here about 2 months ago expecting to like it and wound up being really disappointed. The food was boring, the service totally unprofessional and the prices way above what they should be for mediocre food in East London.

The owners seem to be counting on the fact that there aren't many alternatives in the area to make this place a success.

Useful review? 1
 by frostypane, 19 May 2007
We arrived just before 8 o'clock and hadn't booked, but as the restaurant was less than half full did not think it would be a problem. We were told that they could seat us at 8.20, which seemed strange given the amount of empty tables, but nevertheless we had a drink at the bar and waited. At just gone 8.20 the same lady who had promised to seat us then came over and informed us unapologetically that it would now not be until 9 o'clock, despite the restaurant still being largely bereft of customers. We were given no real explanation, and furthermore it was fairly obvious that my wife was very heavily pregnant and therefore needed to eat before that.

If we had been told no from the outset or been given a more truthful estimate, we could have politely declined and gone elsewhere. As it was, we were kept there under false pretences. If this is how this shoddy operation is being run, I don't expect them to have many returning customers (we certainly won't be). If The Empress cannot function properly when it has less than half its maximum covers present, then when can it? I made our feelings clear to the manager, who likewise was very unapologetic and gave no reason for their actions. Quite frankly, rubbish.

Useful review? 1
 by Chachi, 07 May 2007
We had high hopes for this place given its pedigree (The Gun, The Wells), but unfortunately it was an unmitigated disaster from start to finish. We went for brunch one Sunday and shared the dining room with one other couple, which, bizarrely, we were seated beside...

The service was slow and beyond incompetent, which was difficult to understand given that there were three times as many staff as customers.

We were met with a blank look after pointing out to the dim waitress that the "Mushrooms on toast with ricotta" had come with no ricotta. Thereafter ensued a 10 minute debate between the chef, manager and waitress regarding the issue. Finally they were good enough to provide some ricotta to accompany the now cold mushrooms on toast.

Astoundingly bad. Still, the silver lining is that there's room to improve. But they've got a long way to go if they want to get anywhere near The Gun or The Wells.

Useful review? 1
 by Franky Four Fingers, 02 Feb 2007
The Empress could be a really nice place but the food is somewhat overpriced (£84 for two courses for two people and a bottle of wine) and the quality does not reflect the pricing in my experience. For example, a rib of beef for 2 people included a tiny amount of bearnaise sauce (with a request for more sauce refused) and a very small portion of chips that was insufficient for one let alone two.

The tables are very close together, which is not great if the people next to you are loud. Some of the staff speak very poor English, which means that you have to repeat your order several times and booking over the phone can be a trial - not their fault but it can be frustrating, especially when you are paying a big service charge.

It's certainly not as good as its sister venue, The White Swan. There are other restaurants and pubs in the area that offer better value for money and the same or better quality.

Useful review?
 by Anonymous, 11 Jan 2007
Popped in a couple of times, once for a swift half, the second time for breakfast. Nice beers on tap, impeccable service and the place has been done up right lovely. But there is a gripe and it's the same as can be levelled at a few places in the vicinity - namely, you seem to be paying a little bit too much for what you're getting.

I had kedgeree for brekka and it cost 8 quid. Fair enough, but I want to see a herd of kedgeree on my plate for that and instead it was a rather moderate portion. And a pot of tea was £4.50! They are clearly angling for affluent East End media types but with these prices I think they are going to struggle to fill the place.

Otherwise, perfick.

Useful review?
 by La Paletta, 09 Jan 2007
The food's fantastic and reasonably priced too.

Useful review?
 by bigeater, 13 Dec 2006

Have we missed a great gastro pub in London? Let us know.

» Gastropubs

Map of The Empress of India » Enlarge map
My lists
  •  Favourites
  •  Wish List

Add The Empress of India to a list of your favourite nice things in London, places you want to go, or a new list on any subject…