St Giles Spice, Norwich, restaurant review: ‘Authentic, delicious curries and that can’t be criticised’
PUBLISHED: 19:30 03 August 2017 | UPDATED: 11:41 04 August 2017
Will St Giles Spice live up to the Korma Chameleon’s hopes?
I’ve walked the streets of Norwich tirelessly looking for the best lamb passanda and peshwari naan. Dreamed of fragrant dal, longed for lassi and would kill for kofta. To satisfy my, basically permanent, craving for curry I’ve decided to document my findings and write up detailed reviews of the curry houses of Norfolk. Seek a Masala? Look no further. Don’t like terrible curry puns? Stop reading now.
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St Giles Spice specialises in Southern Indian and Bangladeshi food. It’s been open for around six months, making it one of Norwich’s younger Indian food establishments. We book the table midweek and we’re one of just two groups dining in the restaurant, the rest of Upper St Giles tends to quieten down after around 5pm so if you’re looking for a peaceful dining experience then St. Giles Spice is ideally situated.
As always, I stick to the sundries and popadoms to start. The usual thing happened, I devoured the sundries with the exception of the lime pickle which I tentatively tried and came to the same conclusion: that it is the food of the devil. I challenge anyone to make a lime pickle that doesn’t make people look like a tortoise eating lettuce. I was also a little disappointed by the cucumber raita, which is regularly my favourite of the sundries – I found this one to have a slightly bitter strange aftertaste.
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My main was the bangla hash – the chef’s speciality – succulent duck cooked with garlic, onion, tomato and peppers finished with coriander and fresh spices. Although described as medium hot, i’d have said this dish was mild. This is coming from someone who struggles with the heat of mango and lime chicken at Nandos (the mildest spice on the menu). However this did not detract from the flavour, the tomato and coriander hits you first, bringing you a burst of freshness before the fireworks start – a really delicious fruity and colourful curry packed with chunks of tender duck.
I also had a peshwari naan. It’s hard to find a bad peshwari naan but you know when you’ve had a good one. Brimming with sweet coconut that’s being cuddled by soft doughy deliciousness. I found the bread a little rubbery and the coconut lacking. Although you don’t always find a peshwari naan with currents, I love finding one with a cheeky few raisins scattered in. Like little gems of fruitiness. On the menu this peshwari promised currents, however I didn’t find a single one. It was a devastating blow, the deceit hangs over my head like a dark cloud. My quest for the perfect peshwari continues.
A fairly pricey house bottle of Pinot Grigot, which was fine – but at £17.95 I’m not sure I’d order it again.
We dined on a warm summer’s evening, as mentioned we were one of two groups of diners in the restaurant. It was a great place to catch up with a friend over a glass of wine and a curry: quiet, calm and lovely staff.
All in all the prices seemed average and fair, the Bangla Hash was £11.95, The Chicken Tikka Balti £9.50 and the peshwaari naan was £2.95. a little tip would be if you carry a Taste Card, book in advance and you can get 2-4-1 on any main dish at St. Giles Spice.
Pay & Display parking right outside the restaurant, usually quiet after 5pm – you shouldn’t have any problems.
Upper St Giles is a Norwich gem; it’s in the city centre but slightly off the beaten track so it’s perfect for a quiet evening meal.
There’s one cubicle per gender. The toilets are clean, well stocked and have some lovely hand wash.
The Chicken Tikka Balti. Strictly speaking this wasn’t my dish – usually when it comes to Indian food I share the opinion of Smithy from Gavin & Stacey, why when ordering Indian does the food become a free for all? Touch my bhuna, feel my fork. However, making a concerted effort to try something new and all – I made an exception. This exception may have changed my stance on curry house food sharing, this dish was delicious and like nothing I’ve ever had before, but would certainly order again.
The St Giles Curry House is generally an all around winner. There’s a few things that could do with tweaking but I would return, it serves up authentic, delicious curries and that can not be criticised.
This is an independent review.
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