My first visit to Cafe Spice back
in 1998 was such a fine quality experience that it's propelled me back
there several times since. Unfortunately, this initial high point
has also blinded me to the gradual decline of this former star of the
london scene. The welcome is still warm, the authenticity of the
dishes still beyond reproach, there's not really a fault to pick.
The place just needs to get up off its laurels, fling some fresh paint
on the walls and relaunch itself as the curry king it deserves to
be. Competition at this end of the market is dense now, there's a
posh indian at every turn in the city and across the river as
well. This means that Cyrus Todiwala's
great reputation is no longer enough on its own. Ignoring the
comparisons though and reviewing Cafe Spice purely on its merits
results in some fond memories and happy diners. The chilli
shellfish were a touch unsubtle but the Dhansak in its true form is
always a winner. Over the years the vege selection has improved
massively as has the wine list. The only aspect that hasn't
changed at all is the punter demographic. Proximity to the east
side of the square mile makes this a prime location for corporate IT
sales jollies which thickens the air with bad suits and false
joviality. Fortunately the tables are just spaced enough to
lessen the impact of the shouting boys.
Go there for the service and the real dishes but don't look too closely at the cracks in the make-up.