I love me a good curry, and London’s Brick Lane is the epicentre of curry world, lined with restaurants serving up some of the best Indian cuisine in the city, if not the country. This restaurant’s exterior isn’t necessarily the most glamorous looking or standout on the street, with graffiti scribbles and a simple neon sign. But we were intrigued by the fact City Spice was an award-winning restaurant, and supposedly one of the best on Brick Lane. Like most places in the area, the restaurant allow you to take your own drink in and offered us 20% off the menu price when we showed an interest in eating there.
The decor inside continued the simplicity, although the downstairs dining area which I nipped through to get to the loos seemed slightly more plush. The tables were quite close together so it did feel a little cosy when more people showed up. Our food did take a fair while to come out – it was almost at the point where it had been TOO long when it arrived. Once we tucked in though, it was pretty obvious that the reason it took longer than expected was down to a real dedication to cooking great quality curry from scratch. I opted for the Chicken Makhani with rice, and we shared a cheese naan. I’d normally opt for something a bit hotter, but I did really enjoy it. The curry was really smooth, with a subtle taste that allowed the perfectly-cooked chicken and the chickpeas to stand out. The cheese naan wasn’t actually that great, the cheese was very mature and there was a LOT of it on the naan, which resulted in it being very overpowering with my light tasting curry.
Another BIG DEAL for me when I’m off to an Indian is a good portion of mattar paneer – affectionately referred to by us as ‘cheesy peas’. Which is basically what it is. I’m not sure City Spice had the very best CP’s I’ve ever had, but they were tasty and a good consistency, the paneer not rubbery or overly chewy. The portion sizes overall were nice and generous, and the sauces offered with the pappadums had the best taste and selection of any Indian I’ve been to. I’m not convinced that City Spice is my favourite of Brick Lane’s offerings, but it’s definitely worth a punt for lovingly cooked, quality curry.