Brick Lane in London is notorious for it’s curry houses. I’ve never been myself, so when I got invited along to try out City Spice, I soon realised this was every Indian food lover’s dream. Titled as King Of Brick Lane, City Spice is a family-run business owned by Abdul Ahad who took on the restaurant in September of last year. With a celebrity clientele, the venue has a slideshow on repeat of all those star studded names who’ve tasted it’s award-winning dishes.
Now I’m no food blogger and nor am I a food connoisseur but I do love myself some Indian food. My spice levels have definitely risen from the mild korma to around the Balti/Rogan Josh level. I have also found a recent obsession for saag aloo but I refrained myself and went into City Spice with a view of trying their most favoured dishes.
We were met by the manager, one of Abdul’s sons, who sat us down right by the window near the entrance (I’d asked for the table with plenty of light for photo purposes – what a diva!) and were given poppadoms and dips within a few minutes of being seated. Now myself and Sam love poppadoms and we always stupidly fill ourselves up on them before we’ve even picked out any starters or mains. The poppadoms came with a wealth of dips and a new dip that we’d never seen before. We believe it was a sweet sugary paste from smelling and looking at it, although we didn’t actually taste it.
We ordered our traditional Cobra beers from tap (always better than the bottled version) and perused down the menu to find our starters. We both went for something new, rather than picking the standard Onion Bhaji. Sam went for the King Prawn Butterfly and I had the Prawn Puree.
Sam’s King Prawn Butterfly looked incredible and although the appearance may make you think it’s going to be heavy, it’s actually very light. The king prawn is incredibly fresh and the same can be said for my starter. I’d never tried the prawn puree before, especially with the light puree bread. The bread again looked greasy but was so light that I kept telling Sam how good it was. I think he got the message after I said it for the gazillionth time…
|Prawn Puree and King Prawn Butterfly|
|King Prawn Butterfly, lighted crumbed and shallow fried (£5.95)|
|Prawn puree fried in chillies, onions, and spices in a light puree bread (£4.95)|
After wolfing down our starters, we had a brief chat with the owner himself and watched whole groups, couples and families enter the restaurant. For a Thursday night, it was their ‘quiet night‘ but by the time we were on our mains, the place was packed. The venue is surprisingly big, with a downstairs area that’s the same floor space as the street level dining area. The place does need a little refresh in places but that doesn’t distract you from the tasty food they put on your plate.
I find that most Indian restaurants have a great attention to detail, making sure the customer is well fed and looked after. I noticed that each waiter worked with one table only which gave that extra bit of customer satisfaction.
For the mains, we ordered from the award-winning dishes section of their menu. City Spice has won numerous tourist and cuisine awards so it felt necessary to try them. Sam went for the Meat Thali which was a mixture of meat dishes including tandoori chicken, chicken tikka masala and sheek kebab. I went for the Chingri Marasi which was King Prawns cooked with baked tomatoes, peppers and flavoured with fresh ginger and garlic. The taste was new but so good! It was a little too spicy for my tame taste buds, but I managed to at least finish all the fish that was in the dish. Sam’s main also seemed to go down very well and we were both very much stuffed by the end of it.
|Meat Thali with a selection of meat dishes including chicken tikka masala,
tandoori chicken, sheek kebab, rice, nan and raita (£14.95)
|Chingri Marasi – King prawns cooked with baked tomatoes and peppers
flavoured with fresh ginger and garlic. Garnished with spring onions and coriander
It’s hard to deny that City Spice lives up to it’s iconic title that is ‘King of Brick Lane’ because the flavours are delicious, the environment is welcoming but lively and the sheer amount of customers being ushered in, shows that this a popular spot to get a taste of our much loved curry. Why not try it out when you find yourself down Brick Road?
Have you visited one of the curry houses on Brick Lane before? Let me know in the comments below.
*Disclaimer – I was sent to review this restaurant in return for a complimentary meal. All words are my own.