Soho Spice

East Laith Gate, Doncaster, Tel 01302 811183

Visited: Wednesday, 6 December 2000, 8.15pm

Review by Phil Coates

Category Marks
Food 7/10
Service 9/10
Value 6/10

It is a shame to see one of Doncaster's better Indian restaurants totally deserted. I am told, even on a Saturday night, when other less deserving establishments are heaving, there are tables aplenty here. The premises are admittedly cramped and inelegant, disabled access only possible on the draughty ground floor, and the toilets located at the bottom of a precipitous and partially bannisterless staircase. However, this need not deter the able-bodied aficinado.

We started with popadoms and a good selection of chutneys and dips - the yoghurt one spicy and not too sweet - followed by vegetable samosas. These were home made in a thin crisp batter, a little under-spiced and heavy on the potato for my taste, but nevertheless delicious.

The breads are a little pricy so we opted mainly for rotis. These are tasty enough, but small - chapati-size, in fact, which makes one wonder just how small a chapati would be! I don't normally rate keema nan, but I have to say the piece I tried was excellent, if a little rich and flaky; a whole one might be too much for some.

My chicken madras was a decent dish, above average, but - my usual complaint - it lacked sufficient ingenuity in the spicing to make it special. Also, it lost a point for not containing the best cuts of chicken.

Both the vegetarian main dishes, of which I had a quick taste, seemed more piquant and varied in their spicing, and my fellow diners rated them highly (see below). Vegetarian dishes do seem to come out better here, meat dishes less so.

I should add that the price for the off-menu tarka chickpeas is not typical and probably had something to do with the fact that JD has made several recent enthusiastic visits to this restaurant. The owner is a charming salesman and, in spite of (or perhaps because of) his apparent generosity, you may find yourself spending more than you expect.

We finished with passable instant coffee and a small selection of very good (complementary) barfi.

Dish Price (£) Marks Consumer
chicken madras 4.25 6/10 Phil C
tarka chickpeas 3.00 8/10 Jeff D
vegetable balti 4.65 8/10 CL

popadom 50p, vegetable samosa £1.50, keema nan £1.75, tandoori roti 65p, coffee (cup) 80p, tea (cup) 70p.