Ministry of Spice
Lewisham Road London SE13
With cars, they always say that intermittent faults are the worst kind. You get the thing to the garage and then look a total fool as the mechanic pokes around, sucks through his teeth and finally says there’s nothing wrong.
Inconsistency in curries is my equivalent of the motoring annoying on-and-off knocking sound. You tell everyone a place is great, they try it and it’s rubbish. Should you go back and try again, just in case it’s as good this time as the very first chicken tikka you had there but didn’t get last time, or just move on?
Some friends told me they’d just tried this place and had been quite impressed, and since I can’t resist the opportunity to test out a new curry house, we all got together last night to have a tasting.
The usual control menu was ordered, of course, plus all sorts of yummy-looking extras, and we sat down with a nice glass to wait.
Time flies when you’re having a nice glass, so it was some time before we noticed we still didn’t have any curry. I’m trying to remember exactly how long we waited (we had had a couple of extra ‘nice glasses’) but it was at least an hour and a quarter; probably more like an hour and a half. Perhaps more. Presumably they’re either busy or short-staffed or both on a Sunday night.
I have to say now, that nothing was really bad (save, perhaps, the non-specific extra sauces that arrived with the ok-puppodums – they were very strangely flavoured, strangely coloured and tasted suspiciously as though they were straight out of a bottle. Which bottle, I wouldn’t like to say.) It just didn’t shine. The rice was fresh and the puppodums were crispy (neither of which are a given, of course) but most else was really only adequate.
They’d forgotten to include the onion bhajiis – not worth calling and complaining about, of course, just worth a good grumble amongst ourselves. The meaty starter was good, and the salad (which hadn’t been ordered but arrived anyway) was varied and included olives – not very ‘traditional curry,’ but an enjoyable extra all the same. Also not very traditional, but, I understand, perfectly ok, were some little meatballs. Another side-dish was excellent.
The rest of the sauces, though, were a disappointment. Thin-feeling, with little subtlely in the flavour. One especially, was very sweet, and very hot – but had no real flavour. Our friends agreed that this was nowhere near as good as the one they’d had before which had been so nice they had considered switching allegiances. On the basis of this test, I certainly won’t be.
Has anyone else here had Ministry of Spice food? How was it? Did we just get a duff night?