Cafe Spice Namaste – a classy Indian restaurant in E1

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Cafe Spice Namaste – in an old City Courthouse near Brick Lane

Cyrus Todiwala may not be a name you recognise but his face probably is. Well, if you watch BBC’s Saturday Kitchen that is.

There’s no shortage of great Indian restaurants throughout the UK, and in London’s ‘Bangla Town’ they’re two a penny. So it’s always good to find something a little bit special. Todiwala’s Cafe Spice Namaste is certainly that: it’s set in an old City courthouse, and is close enough to the appealing markets and attractions of Brick Lane but nicely differentiates itself from surrounding curry houses with its classy food and branded range of Mr Todiwala’s pickles and chutneys.

There are regular events and gourmet dinner nights with Chef Patron Cyrus. And according to Cafe Spice Namaste’s literature, their “extensive menus offer a contemporary… twist on traditional dishes from Goa, North India, Hyderabad and Kashmir. Using only the best of local British produce wherever possible, and always the freshest seasonal ingredients” they promise to cook and serve with pride and integrity.

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Cafe Spice Namaste interior

We arrived early last night (about 6.30pm) just as the restaurant was opening, and – briefly – saw it empty. It looks like it’d be a great venue for a party or event with its differently decorated rooms and ceiling spot lights.

For starters, I had squid dynamite, which was just that – delicious, tender baby squid in a fiery hot chilli sauce (not for the faint hearted but neither was it too hot to be pleasurable to eat) and K had a Frankie dosa. It was the first dosa either of us had tried containing lamb and was amazing – slowly cooked, tender lamb in a spicy masala with real depth of flavour.

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Squid dynamite starter @ £7.75
Even the purple cress decoration was tasty!

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Frankie Lamb Dosa starter @ £7.95

The main courses we chose were equally unusual: ostrich bhuna and dhaansaak. Both were as good as their menu descriptions (note: allow plenty of time to read the menu, it’s more like a book with lots of background and sometimes historical detail about each dish. It’s really informative and a joy to read).

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Ostrich bhuna @ £15.95 with peshwari nan @ £3.25 + paneer saagwalla @ £6.95 – menu info below

OSTRICH BHUNA
I know that the ostrich is not a native to either India or Britain, but it is indeed a fabulous meat, extremely lean and lower in saturated fats, cholesterol & calories than chicken and turkey, though expensive. Strips of ostrich fan fillet are tossed with the ever so classic of sub-continental Indian preparations, the ‘Bhuna’. Ours is a classical sauce and is not necessarily hot, served with pulao & chunks of fried potato to complete the dish.”

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Dhaansaak @ £14.95 – menu info below

DHAANSAAK
The efforts that go into making a traditional Parsee Sunday roast, or “Dhaansaak” are enough to deter many chefs! We are delighted therefore to offer you this all-time classic lamb dish, prepared in an authentic style. Dhaansaak is composed of two words “Dhaan” meaning rice and “Saak” meaning the puréed vegetable and lentil combination with lamb. For optimum flavour, we blend sliced shin on-the-bone. Please do not confuse or compare this dish with its namesake sold elsewhere as many do, we are Parsees and we know exactly how to prepare this dish the correct way, served with brown onion rice, kachumber (an onion salad, but served optionally if you so desire) and a meat kebab placed in the brown rice. Traditionally, the Parsee will only use the word Dhaansaak which would to us refer to lamb or mutton only. If some people do not like red meat or cannot eat for health reasons, is chicken ever substituted and never anything else, vegetable Dhaansaak is sacrilege! And we do only lamb here. This is best eaten the way we serve it, with the traditional accompaniments &we recommend you eat it with the onion salad”

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
~ Type: Indian
~ Address: 16 Prescot Street, London
~ Postcode: E1 8AZ
~ Tel: 020 7488 9242
~ Nearest stations: Tower Hill, Tower Gateway
~ Website: Cafe Spice Namaste
~ Menus: a la carte menu
~ Other food products: Mr Todiwala’s chutneys + pickles
~ Location: Cafe Spice Namaste map

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  1. […] score 4, includes: ~ Cafe Spice Namaste, East […]

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