Before moving on from my last post about our London visit, and back to canal boating, I will take a little more time out to review an Indian restaurant down in Tooting which we visited while we were in the area. The restaurant was The Spice Village Curry House, 32 - 34 Upper Tooting Road, Tooting, London SW17 7PD.....
The area around Tooting has a diverse population, and Upper Tooting Road is host to virtually any type of restaurant or take away food outlet that you could think of. Whilst passing through the area, we decided to stop, and sample what we thought would possibly give us a more authentic view of Indian and Pakistani food to what we are used to back in the Manchester suburbs.
We parked the car, and walked the length and breadth of the street, looking at the information displayed in the windows, and also taking note of the number of people who were dining in the restaurants at the time, to give us an idea of which outlet would be the best option to visit. We came across Spice Village, which looked great from the outside, and looking through the window, we could see it was packed, with waiters running between tables and the service counters. We also ascertained that the restaurant was the Tooting winner of the 2009 Tiffin Cup, a competition run to find the best South Asian restaurant in Britain.
We decided to go for it, and walked in. Food preparation was taking place behind service counters along the length of the restaurant in full view of customers, and there was also a queue of customers at the cash desk waiting for take away orders. The first thing that struck us was that, yes it was busy, but also the place had the acoustics of a large dining hall, with solid floors, tables without coverings, and cafeteria type chairs. The interior noise was so loud, a conversation had to be shouted out.
We visited as a couple, and we both ordered onion bhaji for starters. Unfortunately, they were flat, soggy and luke warm, as though they had been in the microwave not long enough. We expected round, crisp and hot, which was, unfortunately not the case. In my opinion, they were also over spiced, but I suppose that is a matter of taste.
I ordered Chicken Jalfrezi with garlic naan. I couldn't fault this, which was served piping hot this time, although again was on the hot side spice wise, again a matter of taste. There are huge differences between restaurants in the amount of spices used, and this was up there at the top end. The naan, although nothing wrong with it, was different again to what we are used to in our Manchester restaurants. There they are sweet, fluffy affairs. Here, they were flat and very strong with garlic. Not a criticism, just a comment on the difference, although we prefer the sweet and fluffy versions we are used to.
Margaret opted for Chicken Shashlick. Again, served piping hot, and again different to our Manchester restaurants, who serve this particular dish dry, although some do serve a separate sauce to accompany it. Here it is served as a "wet" dish, and was full of taste. We couldn't fault the main courses.
All in all, it was a pleasant enough evening, although if we are ever in Tooting again, would probably give one of the many other restaurants a try. This particular one, with its uncovered tables as described above, comes across as a mixture between a fast food canteen and a take away with eat in facilities.
We liked it, but with reservations, and certainly not the place for an intimate night out!