Indian Spice

1 Sunderland Street, Tickhill, Doncaster, DN11 9PT, Tel 01302 744122

Revisited: Sunday, 8 April 2001, 10.00pm

Review by Phil Coates

Category Marks
Food 7/10
Service 6/10
Value 4/10

"They shall seek me early, but they shall not find me ..." (Proverbs 1, 28)

A jury of six experienced, Bradford-hardened curry eaters assembled for the retrial of Indian Spice - and this time it was not to get off so lightly. The verdict, however, was not quite unanimous.

Our party joined ten other customers, which made the restaurant three-quarters full. Not bad for a Sunday night. No wonder the staff were pleased to see us.

At prices like these, and a menu promising all meals specially prepared to order, I would expect a receptive attitude to special requests. Okay, so apna-style, easy on the ghee got us what we wanted (more or less, I still found the dishes a bit too oily) but not without raised eyebrows. As for yoghurt sauce, they would not make it the way I wanted; the waiter was too busy checking repeatedly that we were not mistaken in forgetting to order popadoms and rice.

And the yoghurt sauce was too sweet and underspiced. And one small prematurely-removed pot was expected to do for a table of six. I am labouring this point, I know. But it is attention to the right kind of detail that makes the difference.

The highlights were the tandoori par (chicken wings) starter, and the chicken balti main course. I didn't have these, but those who did were full of enthusiasm. I believe these dishes were excellent, but a couple of swallows do not make a summer. The rest was only average or slightly better.

I won't go on - the scores speak for themselves - because, frankly, it is difficult to recommend this restaurant. At prices like these the service and the food should be consistently excellent - and they just were not. Not only that, but the place exhibits some of the worst characteristics of a typical SYIR.

Who is this restaurant for? It isn't worth the trip if you don't live in Tickhill because equally good if not better food and much better value are to be found elsewhere. If you do live in Tickhill and have transport ... ditto. That leaves poor people living in Tickhill; if such people exist they couldn't afford to eat here anyway.

We departed to the sound of a ringing cash register, and perhaps a few high fives once we were out of sight.

Dish Price (£) Marks Consumer
chicken bhindi 5.70 7/10 Jeff D/Phil C
chicken sag 5.70 8/10 Jeff D
chicken sag 5.70 7/10 Phil C
chicken balti 7.80 9/10 Andy H
karai chicken 6.80 7/10 Craig H
karai chicken 6.80 6/10 Dave N
karai chicken 6.80 5/10 Matt B

onion bhaji (2) £1.90, vegetable samosa (2) £2.50, chapatti 60p, plain nan £1.40.

Visited: Sunday, 12th November, 2000, 8pm

4 stars

Review by Jeff Davis

Category Marks
Food 8/10
Service 9/10
Value 5/10

We were resistant and apprehensive about reviewing another Doncaster restaurant following our last exerience. These fears were not realised when we visited Indian Spice, an establishment at the other end of the spectrum compared to the bland anglicized fare that was served at The Kailash.

We went in search of the Jamdani and were unable to find it. The local garage informed us that it had changed ownership and its name to Indian Spice about a year ago.

The onion bhaji was made from long ribbons of onions in a light, moderately spiced batter, it appeared to be freshly cooked and tasted very good. CL said they were the best he had ever tasted.

The aloo chop was very light and fluffy and melted in your mouth. Again these appeared freshly made. The starters were accompanied by an average amount of fresh salad, a slice of lemon (with squeezing device), and a mint dip. The dip was overly sweet; we prefer it hot and spicy.

The starters took about 20 minutes to arrive, this gave us an opportunity to have a chat with the proprietor and it transpires that he also has a restaurant in Sheffield called Ayeshas.

The restaurant is licensed, providing patrons with what they expect of an Indian restaurant in Doncaster, a couple of pints with their meals. We encountered no problems asking for water; a jug was promptly brought containing ice cubes and a couple of slices of lemon. Nice attention to detail.

The main dish portions were average, served in balti dishes, and arrived just a couple of minutes after we had finished the starters. The dishes looked very appealing and appetizing, and had the distinction of being thermically the hottest dishes we have ever had.

The chicken madras was very good, the heat generated from an intricate combination of spices rather than an abundance of chili or curry powder. CL described the vegetable dopiaza as subtly spiced with a wide range of vegetables - one of the best dishes he had had anywhere. The dish contained a multitude of vegetables, amongst which were: onions, aubergines, carrots, tomatoes, mushrooms, green peppers, peas, and potatoes.

The chapattis and nans were of high quality.

The proprietor and waiter were very attentive in a friendly, family sort of way, as opposed to an overpowering business sense. We were the only diners in the restaurant and it helped put us at ease rather than make us feel the centre of attention. We noticed they were doing a lot of take-away business.

The only desserts on the menu were ice cream. I tried the pistachio kulfi. CL finished his meal with trufito, another ice-cream based dessert.

The Indian Spice surprised us as we were expecting another bland presentation of Indian dishes. We also thought that the lack of competition in the area (it is the only one in the village) would mean sub-standard fare. I think this establishment reminded us of the old proverb, never judge a book by its cover. It is one of the best restaurants we have tried anywhere in the county, offering excellent food. The only negative comment is the price - average by Doncaster standards, but expensive when taking in the wider context of Bradford and Sheffield.

However we are looking forward to re-reviewing this restaurant at some point in the future.

Dish Price (£) Marks Consumer
chicken madras 5.50 8/10 Jeff D
vegetable dopiaza 5.80 8/10 CL

onion bhaji (2) £1.90, aloo chop (2) £1.90, chapatti 60p, plain nan £1.40, boiled rice £1.40, pistachio kulfi £1.80, trufito £2.50.