Despite curry being my absolute favourite food, it'd been a while since I ate in an Indian restaurant, so when my partner and I found ourselves all shopped out and starving after a hard evening shopping in the centre of London, we were pleased to stumble across this little gem of a restaurant. Taste of Spice is a small Indian restaurant in the heart of Soho, about a five minute walk from Tottenham Court Road station. **** FIRST IMPRESSIONS My first impressions of the restaurant were good. From the outside, it looks cosy and inviting. The dining area, which is essentially one small room, is painted in shades of muted pink and brown. The walls are decorated with pretty Indian paintings and the staff are smiling and friendly. The menu, which is extensive for such a small restaurant, is displayed in the window for the perusal of passers by. The bar is unobtrusively situated towards the back of the room. The smell as you walk in is absolutely fantastic - I started drooling instantly! **** MENU Both the food menu and wine list are impressive. All the standard Indian dishes are available, plus some surprising extras such as Mussel Puri and Crab and Ginger Aloo starters and Fish Masala/Jalfrezi main courses. As a seafood lover, I was very pleased to see the variety of fish dishes on offer - something that's often lacking in Indian restaurants. There were about twelve starters available, and at least thirty main courses. The wine list boasted some impressive new and old world labels at reasonable prices. My partner and I plumped for the Penfolds Kalimna Shiraz which is one of our favourites, it was served at a good temperature and offered to us to taste first. **** FOOD I tried the Fish Tikka starter, which was mouthwateringly tender and subtly spiced, and my partner opted for the Mussel Puri starter, which consisted of delicately spiced mussels cooked with onion, coriander and c
umin on a small flat bread, and was simply delicious. I'm having that next time! The main courses were slightly - but only slightly - disappointing after the fantastic starters. I'd ordered the Fish Masala, which was a bit too sweet and coconutty for my tastes, not to mention an alarming bright red colour, and my partner ordered the House Special Korma, which despite its name was pretty bog standard. The Tarka Daal (lentils) we ordered as a side dish was fantastic though - just the right consistency, and a good balance of garlic and spices. The pilau and plain boiled rices we ordered were well cooked and smelled wonderful, and my partner was more than happy with his keema naan, which was soft and chewy but charred black in some places, just as we like it! We were too full to look at the desserts menu, and I didn't actually see any other diners eating dessert while we were there, but I've no doubt there was a decent selection. **** SERVICE The service was very good. Our waiter was very attentive and our orders were brought within a reasonable amount of time. Our bill was brought promptly when we asked for it and they fetched my coat without me having to ask. My one complaint is that one of the waiters kept opening the door, and I had to ask another to close it a couple of times, as I was sitting directly in front of it and it was a chilly October evening. **** PRICES Taste of Spice is quite pricey for an Indian restaurant, but then it is in the heart of the West End. Starters range from £2.50 - £7.00, and main courses average around £6.95. Our entire meal cost £48 for two, including a bottle of wine. **** SUMMARY It's a nice little restaurant and well worth a visit if you happen to find yourself in the area - particularly if you've had an exhausting day shopping in the madness that is Oxford Street! I'd happily revisit, but I'll make sure I order
something a bit spicier for my main course next time. A Taste of Spice is located on the right hand side of Wardour Street off Oxford Street.
Work anywhere near Tottenham Court Road? Bored of refrigerated sandwiches, crisps and a drink for lunch. Like curry? If you can answer 'yes' to all these questions then the YMCA in Fitzroy St. near Warren St. tube is the place for you. I'm suspicious of the tikka masala school of British indian cuisine but you will not find any of that here. This guest house for visiting Indian opens its doors to the public for lunch. Grab a tray, then choose from plain or pilau rice, fish, mutton, chicken, several vegetable curries (dry and wet), pickles, chutnies, chapati and popadoms. I challenge you to spend over a fiver and not leave feeling 100% satisfied. It is, quite simply, superb food which a smart joint could easily get away with at 4 times the price. You know it makes sense...