“ 212 West End Lane / West Hampstead / London, NW6 1UU / Telephone: 020 7794 0228 „
Introduction Having lived abroad for many years, I have developed a taste for spicy food of any kind - Indian, Chinese, South American so long as it leaves me with a buzz. Unfortunately, authentic spicy food is not that easy to find in London. Luckily, my partner and I came across this restaurant purely by accident, and as it is not too far from where I live, I've visited a few times in the last couple of years. Location Address: 212 West End Lane West Hampstead London NW6 1UU Tel: 020 7794 0228 www.spiceplaza.co.uk This is just a short walk from West Hampstead tube station in North London. Entrance You could be forgiven for walking straight past this restaurant. The entrance is at street level, but the restaurant itself is downstairs and can't be seen until you get to the bottom of the stairs. In the dark, there is a neon sign which is fairly easy to spot; in daylight, you really need sharp eyesight. Décor The restaurant is tastefully decorated, with a bar in one corner, white tablecloths and some beautiful wooden carvings on the walls. It is nothing exciting, but pleasing to the eye, which makes up for the restaurant not having any windows. Everything looks clean and new. Service The staff are excellent. The restaurant is usually full at the weekend, but we are always greeted at the door and shown straight to a table. Drink and food orders are usually taken straight away and arrive promptly. Staff are very helpful; glad to give advice as and when needed, but don't hang around when they aren't. Food and drink This is the best Indian restaurant that I have come across in London. There is a wide variety of dishes, few of which I had heard of (ie not your usual Lamb Bhuna and Chicken Korma), but with excellent descriptions so that you know exactly what to expect. We're usually fairly boring with the starters - papadums, which come with four deliciously fresh dips and onion bhajis, mouth-wateringly light and gorgeous. There are a good selection of other starters though, including Indian cottage cheese, salmon, squid, crab and the usual meats. For the main course, we had Mirchi Murgh, a fiery chicken dish cooked with spices and fresh green chillies and Gosht Ka Tikka, which is lamb marinated in tandoori spices and cooked in a clay oven, accompanied by naan bread and plain rice. I am addicted to the Mirchi Murgh, which is so hot that it leaves my mouth numb. For those that don't eat meat, there are a wide range of fish and vegetable dishes - in the past I have tried spicy seabass and baby aubergines stuffed with Indian cheese, mashed potatoes and smothered in sauce. The latter is particularly well done - light and luscious. I like spicy, but there are much gentler choices if you're a wuss! I'm sure they do desserts, but I've never actually been able to squeeze one in, so I'm afraid I can't comment. There is a good choice of drinks - including wines, spirits and beers. I usually go for Kingfisher, which is really refreshing after the green chillies! Internet ordering It is possible to order takeaways, book tables and pre-book dinners on the Internet. I have ordered a takeaway before, which was quick, easy and arrived promptly. Price For two starters, two main courses, naan bread, rice and three beers, we paid £42, which for London prices, is not bad. Main courses vary between £6 and £12; starters between £.70 and £5. The bill was accompanied by a sort of kalua and cream cocktail a perfect end to a lovely meal. Conclusion I love this restaurant. I can find very little to complain about. The staff are fabulous, the food is great and the restaurant, including the toilet, is spotlessly clean. Price-wise, it is also very reasonable, unless of course you go for the very expensive wine. The restaurant itself is not big, but roomy enough that you aren't sitting right on top of people. If you're in London, I can thoroughly recommend this restaurant. Five stars.
Indian Restaurant. Open 7 days a week - including Bank Holidays. Fully air-conditioned. Seating for 70 Diners. Extensive Menu. Average Dinner Price Per Head £15-20. Nearest Tube Station: West Hampstead.