Tuesday 16th May 2000
I was down in London for a couple of days of meetings. Our tame
hotel booking squad had told us there wasn't a room to be had - I
only got into the Tower Thistle at the last minute thanks to a
cancellation. Quite lucky really, as the room was a "City Club
Double" - a pretty good upgrade - overlooking Tower Bridge.
I knew that Cafe Spice was nearby. It had been a lovely day - not
a cloud in the sky and quite warm so I went for a stroll.
Cafe Spice has two large rooms with tall ceilings (which I like
because any smoke gets suitably lost). The waiters were, er, earnest
- hardly a smile, but when I asked about the menu, they were very
friendly and helpful. The place was already buzzing at 7:30, and I
was found a table (unfortunately, I was dining alone).
I took my time reading the menu - this is no standard high-street
Indian, and I was eager to try something out of the ordinary.
Lately, I have been suffering stomach upsets, and my appetite has
been less than sparkling, so whatever I picked had to be enticing,
and fairly light. They brought Poppadoms and relishes while I
examined the list.
Just a few items from the menu:
Frango No Espeto Piri Piri (Goa)
Hottest amongst the
chicken tikkas, piri piri is marinated in Goa's notorious red
masala, ground entirely in palm vinegar to throw that extra punch
which has made it quite addictive to some of our patrons.
Dhanajeera Ni Sea Bass
Whole Sea Bass marinated the
delicate Parsi way with cumin, coriander, lemonjuice. Skewered and
chargrilled in the Tndoor. Served with Mushroom Rice. £13.90
Chorise Carne de Javali
Wild Boar sausages made
exclusively with our recipe, filled with spiced meat in typical Goan
style. Cooked with diced green peppers & onions in a thick
vindaloo gravy. Served traditionally with hot bread. £5.45
I started with the Channa Chutt Putti - Chick peas tossed with
dry spices, lemon juice, green chillies and chopped shallots. Topped
with beaten yoghurt, tamarind chutney and sprinkled with crushed
poories. A street side speciality of Dhaka, Bangladesh. (£3.85).
This was absolutely delicious - the crunchy texture of the poories,
the tang of the yoghurt, and the freshness of the coriander was
"just so". The dish was also probably enough for me as a main
course, given my lack of appetite (One of the reasons for picking
this dish was the yoghurt, which is supposedly good for upset
I asked for another small bottle of Cobra (£2.95) and told the
waiter to hold fire for five minutes for me to regain my
Main course was Vegetable Dahi Kadhi - a unique curry made with
yoghurt in a typical Keralan style. Whipped yoghurt is cooked with
roasted chickpea flour, tempered with mustard seeds, curry leaves,
cumin and asafoetida. Cauliflower florets, baby carrots, deep fried
aubergines and green peas are simmered in this mild and flavourful
curry. (£3.95/£6.75). Served with a bowl of Pilau rice and a bowl of
Raita. I had to leave about a third of it, as I was overfull. I
finished with an espresso, which was pretty good, and paid the bill
of £27.11 including 12.5% service.
Verdict: Highly Recommended
PS They have a sister establishment in Battersea, London SW11
PPS They do takeaways - I wonder if they'll deliver to
PPPS - See
our re-visit review