In London, Flavors of India Without the Fuss

Café Spice Namasté

Intricate, fascinating, different, delicious and unpretentious.

That should do it, though some details are in order. Café Spice in the East End has a casual, ’70s, almost hippie-ish look, with bright colors and uniformed staff. It demonstrates not only how sophisticated real “Indian” (O.K., last time with the quotes) food can be, but how fine it can be, even in such a laid-back place.

Appearance aside, it is a terrific restaurant, very close to mind-blowing. The food was among the most intricate I ate during a three-week eating tour of Europe. The chef is the well-established and much-loved Cyrus Todiwala, at home with a variety of styles and able to discuss details of every dish at length.

Among my favorites were cheera wada, small patties of yellow split pea and spinach fromKerala; prawns, Parsi style, in a sauce of tamarind and sugar; and missal pao, mushrooms and chickpeas in coconut curry, served with crisp chickpea noodles.

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