Lucie Loves... Food // Best curry on Brick Lane? Try City Spice, London
I’m a huge curry fan (particularly if I’m a bit hungover) I like my spice! However, when it comes to east London curries, I’ve only had a handful and none of them had been on Brick Lane… until now!
An email popped up in my inbox announcing the news that City Spice Londonaka ‘The King of Brick Lane’ had been awarded London’s best restaurant of the year award at the Bangladesh Caterers Awards – considered The Oscars of the Curry World, the vote is decided by the 12,000 member restaurants around the UK.
And so, after seeing this latest accolade, I was keen to nip down to their east London gaff and try a Ruby Murry for myself.
“The restaurant takes inspiration from the food of the North Indian Murghal Empire, but fuses with a Bangladeshi twist to create a point of difference.”
City Spice is a family-run business, headed up by owner Abdul Ahad and son Abdul Muhaimen. Located at the Spitalfields end of Brick Lane, it’s a short walk from Liverpool Street or Old Street station. It was easy to find. The bright ‘City Spice’ signage lights up the street, and the friendly front of house staff, welcome you in. It’s a reasonably sized restaurant, and even for a Tuesday night it was pretty packed. There’s also a large downstairs area which is good for groups.
The menu tells the story of the art of Indian Food and heralds Bangladeshis as pioneers of the UK curry scene. It describes the British impact on Sylhet’s ‘little England’ and the exchange they made by introducing the food of the Indian sub-continent to far and wide across the globe.
If you’ve been to Rusholme’s Curry Mile in Manchester or Ladypool Road in Birmingham, you, like me, will have high expectations when it comes to a good curry. I didn’t want to settle for a tikka masala or korma. I wanted to know what made City Spice so special. This place apparently draws a good selection of celebrity clientele too!
What was their house foodporn dish that was really going to get my tastebuds tingling?
After scouring the City Spice menu, we chose a stack of popadoms and chutneys to get us going. A pint of Cobra Indian beer for my date, and a glass of house white wine for me. Being careful to make sure that none of the dishes we wanted contained nuts (Oh! The trials and tribulations of dating someone with a food allergy!) To start we opted for the mixed kebab cocktail to share, which arrived sizzling, smelling incredible and well priced at £5.95.
For our mains we went for a pilau rice and a naan to share, the Sylheti lamb shank, £14.95 – which is a pretty big dish and enough for two to share. It’s a succulent lamb shank, cooked Bengali-style and slow roasted with aromatic herbs, spice and saffron. You can see why it’s a strong hit with regulars! To mix it up a bit, we ordered a Chicken curry dish from the everyday favourites menu – around £9-ish, and a side of Palong Sag, £3.95 – spinach with fresh garlic and coriander.
We were pretty stuffed after this feast and didn’t have any desserts – partly because we didn’t have any room left in our bellies to fit them in, after the delicious food – but partly because the service became a little less attentive towards the end of the meal, and we seemed to have been forgotten about a bit, as the restaurant got busier.
However, I would recommend City Spice, if you’re looking for a decent curry on Brick Lane and feel a little overwhelmed by the sheer choice available. It’s not for those who need a waiter glued to their side throughout the whole meal, but it is for those who enjoy a bloody good curry.
138 Brick Lane
To make a reservation call 020 7247 1012 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Over to you…
Where are your favourite restaurants to go for a good curry on Brick Lane? Send us your suggestions please.
See here for more Lucie Loves… Food reviews.
*Disclaimer* Thank you to City Spice for inviting us down to do a review.
Photography © Lucie Kerley