It’s been a long time coming but something needed to change. Time and time again, the Sutton Tandoori has proven itself to be a lackluster Indian restaurant only defended by some of the fiercest locals desperate to believe their Indian was a cut above the rest.
Being a long time Sutton resident myself, I have always wanted Sutton Tandoori to be a success. Christ knows, I’ve given it enough chances but it always just fell short of other rivals in the area.
This is why I was delighted to see that Sutton Tandoori has recently been taken over by new management with a brand spanking new look. Living a stone’s throw away from the restaurant, I was keen to check it out as soon as possible to see if Sutton finally had the Indian restaurant it deserved!
Upon entering we were warmly greeted by the new team. The phone was ringing non-stop with other locals looking to try it out too. The restaurant does not seem to have changed much but it was early days, which is no bad thing, as the restaurant’s interior was never a problem.
The menu had a great selection with some familiar specialities such as Jalfrezi and Passanda.
Naturally, there were the classic dishes we all know and love. Vindaloo, korma, dansak, and bhuna, which all came to £8.50 for the entry level curry and an extra £1 for tikka. It was great to see these curries competitively priced which will no doubt please the regulars.
It’s worth noting that the old Sutton Tandoori was BYOB (Bring your own beer). This is no longer the case with Spice, offering a selection of bottled beers such as Cobra (330ml or 660ml) and Bulmers Cider. They will also be doing Kingfisher on draft within the next few weeks but currently don’t serve it for now. I noticed it was on the menu ready for when it is finally available, at a reasonable £4.50 a pint.
Let it be known that Spice will not only be the only place to dine-in in Sutton but also be the best place for a pint, with no other place offering a better lager/beer on draft in my opinion. It’s a shame they don’t have a separate bar!
We had some papadums while we studied the menu and decided what we wanted. They came out with the 4 classic selections – yogurt, onion salad, lime pickle, and mango chutney.
The lime pickle was absolutely lovely. So fresh and with great texture. The mango chutney was not bad either. The portions were absolutely fantastic and easily enough to share between four very hungry people.
Unfortunately, the onion salad was incredibly depressing. It was essentially crudely cut chunks of white onion with a sprinkle of coriander and cucumber. This is exactly how not to do it. If you want a lesson in how it should be done then make sure to check out my review at Yuva the other night.
The yogurt was very runny and lacked flavor too. So, in total, it was a very 50/50 experience with the papadums.
I ordered the ‘tried and true’ chicken vindaloo with mushroom rice. My wife ordered the chicken tikka and my son ordered the chicken wings and Chefs Special (tandoori chicken with peas and cheese). We also split a saag aloo mains to share between us.
The vindaloo is my favourite dish and something I always order when trying a new restaurant because I know it like the back of my hand. It’s a great way to judge a restaurant on a familiar benchmark.
First of, the vindaloo had a great taste and a really good kick to it. So often, I find that vindaloo’s are served mild, even when requested extra hot, which is something Sutton Tandoori used to do. Not here, Spice brought out a smoking hot vindaloo exactly as it should be!
It tastes fantastic and was a real upgrade on the restaurant we knew.
The saag aloo was good too. The portion was decent and there seemed to be no complaints from anyone.
My wife found her chicken tikka to be very good. She found it a significant step up from the Sutton Tandoori and it certainly looked the part from where I was sitting too.
The chicken wings were fantastic. There’s nothing quite like the excitement from the sizzling noise of tandoori from there clay oven!
The favourite of the evening had to be my son’s chefs special. Clearly it’s a special for a reason as it was absolutely superb. The depth of flavour and the texture made it an incredibly moreish dish. This is something I highly recommend for anyone fancying something a little different.
An unlikely hero of the meal was the peshwari naan. Usually, you find these with huge gaps in the sweet coconut inside but the naan was absolutely packed. The naan was soft and light without any sign of burn. Top draw!
After our meal we were absolutely stuffed and couldn’t handle a dessert, so we asked for our bill. We were offered a selection of wet towels which were unfortunately served cold but it didn’t stop the boys from enjoying them either way. It was certainly needed after a very spicy vindaloo.
The staff here were excellent. You could see that the restaurant was packed, even this early in the evening, but the service was still attentive and friendly. The phone was ringing frequently but they still found time to serve us and managed their time well, despite being under pressure. The restaurant has only been open for 2 weeks so we expect a few minor teething issues, which the staff were very conscious and apologetic about, but generally speaking the service was above expectation.
Overall we were impressed with Spice. It’s only natural to compare it to Sutton Tandoori but it’s clearly a step up. If everything we have had tonight was anything to go by, I’ll be ordering and visiting a lot more frequently. Especially once the Kingfisher beer is sold on tap!
Finally, Sutton has an Indian restaurant it can be proud of.