My history of eating curry in Brick Lane, the most famous location for Indian food in London, if not the whole of the UK is patchy at best. When I used to work in the city, a curry in Brick Lane would be an afterthought – a last minute addition to a boozy team night out.
We’d find ourselves wandering down the road, a little bit drunk, working out who was going to give us the best deal of the night. Restaurant workers outside their establishments would approach our group with offers of free drinks or poppadoms with the meal and we’d pile in without a second glance at the menu.
On the whole the food was good. I love Indian food, and even if the English interpretation isn’t that authentic, a curry is always tasty. And then we’d pay up a leave, never to remember where we’d gone or what we’d ordered until we repeated the whole sorry take the next time.
And it didn’t matter how many times I visited Brick Lane, I’d never be able to give a restaurant recommendation.
City Spice, with its prominent corner position on Brick Lane is like a breath of fresh air when it comes to eating curry in Brick Lane. As we were ushered in through its doors, the first thing I noticed is that it was busy. Really busy, even early on a Tuesday night – filled with city workers, intergenerational families and couples, with downstairs seating too. Always a very good sign.
The first thing I always do is order a round of poppadoms – I truly think it’s the best thing about eating at an Indian restaurant, as you never bother with them when ordering a takeaway. It’s just not the same, heaping mounds of chutney onto your plate from delicate silver dishes as opposed to juggling the sticky sauces whilst lounging on the sofa – and inevitably getting it down your top.
As we filled up on raita and poppadoms, we looked through their extensive menu of Bangladeshi favourites, and were stuck with a difficult decision – do we get our old favourites or do we try their award winning special dishes. We compromised with a little of both.
There was no rush and there was no fuss – another difference from some of my other Brick Lane experiences. The starters arrived just as we’d had a chance to get hungry again and I didn’t feel like the staff were trying to turn our table quickly, no matter how busy they kept on getting.
So, the food then. Well, the food was outrageously good. I took my Step Dad who likes to think of himself as a bit of a curry connoisseur, and we barely came up for air as we ate, the food was that delicious.
We started with Duck Tikka and the Lamb Chops. Both simple, but I think both difficult to get right, as I’ve had dry versions of both. But the dishes were succulent and delicately spiced, topped with onion slithers that I wish I knew how they were cooked. I don’t often come across duck in an Indian restaurant and it’s an experience I’m keen to repeat. Our plates were inevitably cleared.
Our main courses were just as tasty, and specifically the Lamb Chana Makhani is really the only Indian dish I ever want to eat forever. It was rich and creamy with a perfect amount of sauce to mix in with the rice and of course to mop up with a well cooked roti.
We also ordered the Chingri Marasi with huge king prawns with a slow cooked tomato and red pepper in the vibrantly coloured red sauce. Both of these dishes are from their sassed winning specials menu and I’m so glad we made this choice. Despite the very large portions, we finished the lot, which meant no room for anything more than a fragrant masala tea.
We waddled all the way home.
The next morning, I didn’t wake up with that food hangover feeling I often get with a big Indian meal. I woke up wondering how soon I could get myself down there for another portion of the Lamb Chana Makhani and how many of my mates I could persuade to come with me. It’s no surprise that they have won so many awards (including the Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellent 2017 and best London restaurant at the Asian Curry Awards) for their food, and whilst every restaurant down Brick Lane comes adorned with banners for their awards, City Spice is the real deal.
They’ve earned their King of Brick Lane title. City Spice – I’ll definitely be back for some more royal curry!
**I was a guest of City Spice, but the appreciation for curry is all mine!
ENJOYED THIS POST? PLEASE PIN IT!