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Ever since my obsession with A Little Princess when I was small, I have had a love affair with the idea of India, I dream of the day I get to visit and see in real life all the beautiful colours, detailed saris and smell the incredible spices that I have envisaged for years. However, I’ll let you into a secret, despite being a food blogger and a general food enthusiast, I do not know much about curry, I mean I know what tastes good but I couldn’t tell you the difference between a Madras and a Rogan Josh. I wish I did and even more so I wish I could cook a mean curry, (Side note: One of my life goals is to become a knowledgeable, well-travelled lady who can recreate dishes from around the world from scratch) but until then I leave it to and learn from the experts. So when an invitation arrived in my inbox to visit City Spice in Brick Lane, London I jumped at the chance.
If you haven’t visited Brick Lane before, you may not be aware that Brick Lane is overrun with Indian restaurants if you are in London and want a curry head there, but what has set City Spice apart is that they have recently been awarded ‘Restaurant of the Year’, in what is considered The Oscars of the curry world! A vote that is decided by the 12 000 member restaurants from around the UK.
“The restaurant takes inspiration from the food of the North Indian Murghal Empire, but fuses with a Bangladeshi twist to create a point of difference.”
Located on the Spitalfields end of Brick lane, City Spice is highlighted by its bright sign, despite visiting on a Tuesday evening we found a moderately busy restaurant and we were welcomed by smiles. The packed menu will leave you spoilt for choice but is conveniently split into titled sections such as ‘all-time favourites’ and ‘City Spice award winning dishes’, we were served poppadoms and various chutneys and yoghurt while we pondered the menu. For starters, we were not too adventurous and opted for a Chana Masala dish (£3.95) and Onion Bhajis (£3.50), we arrived promptly with a wonderful aroma.
The menu has an extensive vegetarian section, so for the first time in a long time, I was actually spoilt for choice. In the end, I choose a dish I had never tried before, Mattar Panner (£7.95), a spiced and creamy curry with peas and paneer cheese, which presented with the most wonderful smell, the dish is quite sweet, which is my preferred taste but it would not be a good option for someone who enjoys a kick to their curry. DJ went for flavoursome Curry Leaf Chicken (£10.95), a signature dish of the restaurant, cubed pieces of chicken with fresh chopped ginger in a medium sauce with curry leaves to have the authentic flavour, which he absolutely loved. Alongside this, we ordered a pilau rice and a Peshwari naan, to add even more sweetness. Our meals left us suitably stuffed and were perfectly washed down with Cobra beer.
What struck me most about City Spice, was the overwhelming sense of pride in this family run restaurant. The Owner, Abdul Ahad, greeted us while we ate, and spoke at length about the achievements and the work that has gone into his dish creations and recipes, this alongside the achievements displayed around the restaurants created a welcoming and personal atmosphere often lost in busier chain restaurants. From meeting Abdul and hearing his evident passion for Indian food, it quickly becomes obvious why City Spice have achieved their recent accolades, credit where credit is due, he has created a fine restaurant that serves a damn good curry.
Address: 138 Brick Lane, London E1 6RU
We were guests of City Spice London in return for an honest review, as always all opinions and love of food is our own