Occupying a former Victorian magistrate’s court, Café Spice Namaste is furnished in swathes of brightly hued cloth, which lend the substantial interior something of a pantomime feel. Chef-patron Cyrus Todiwala is credited with popularising Goan dishes in London and also with bringing genuine Persian-inspired Parsi classics to the city’s restaurant scene.
A simple Indo-British collaboration of juicy seared scallops paired with cumin and spinach mash was let down by an overload of cumin in the potatoes. And though we appreciated the fiery heat of a crisp puff-pastry pasty filled with fried chicken livers cloaked in a ginger-shallot masala, the accompanying pool of sweet and sour turmeric-hued cream described as ‘Goan curry sauce’ did the dish no favours. More of this yellow sauce partnered a passable rice pilau studded with chopped garlicky sausages in a piquant chilli masala. And as if we hadn’t had our fill, the same sauce morphed into the masala in a king prawn curry.
Todiwala is one half of the duo featured in BBC TV series The Incredible Spice Men, and his restaurant has become a hit with fans of the series as well as tourists and City business diners. Yet though we found plenty of ambition here, the execution in the kitchen needed attention. Service is well-meaning if slow at times.