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East End Curries for West End Boys
Over the last few years, I’ve reviewed and visited a number of the new wave of Indian restaurants. The food is often lighter and more fusion based than traditional curry houses. But sometimes you yearn for an old-school curry so I was delighted to be asked to review City Spice in the iconic surroundings of Brick Lane in London’s East End. Family run City Spice has recently taken the top prize as the best restaurant in London at the Asian Curry Awards, their third major industry award in 12 months alongside best restaurant prize at both the Bangladeshi Caterers Awards and the Masterchef Awards, an award-winning ‘hat-trick’ – never accomplished by any other restaurant.The menu is derived from the Indian food served to the Mughal emperors at the time of British India – but with a little Bengali twist. We are drinking Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc. It has a crisp citrus zing with enough acidity to handle the upcoming spice fest. First up were freshly cooked poppadums with delicious mango and lime chutneys and a coconut and a mint sauce.Starters were substantial! King prawn Purée was a warming dish of big chunks of Tiger prawns cooked with garlic and ginger, herbs and spices in a rich sauce and wrapped in a roti style flatbread.Aloo Chat was another perfect winter’s plate of deeply flavoured potato chunks cooked with chat masala and herbs and spices.For our mains, we decided to choose the fish and meat thalis as they were both great value and a real showcase for the variety of dishes offered by the restaurant. The fish thali featured a rich kufta masala, mild tomatoey prawn curry, crisp fried freshwater spiced Rohi fish slathered with onions, a deconstructed vegetable bhaji, a flaky fragrant pilau rice, and a chapati. It was a fishy feast!You need to be hungry to order the meat thali which included a classic coconut laden chicken tikka masala, a tender and mildly spiced lamb bhuna, the rich spices of a wonderful piece of tandoori chicken, a chunk of spicy sheek kebab, pilau rice, raita and a plain naan.Service is friendly and speedy but to be honest we couldn’t make it to dessert as we had eaten so much! But it was well worth the visit to enjoy curry house classics cooked with integrity.
To book a table at City Spice, head to their website or call 0207 247 1012
138 Brick Lane