Monday 7 July 2008

Spice Merchant - Osborne Road, Southsea

There a probably as Spice Merchants as there are Balti Expresses or Taj Mahuls, there were 3 in Cardiff (2 were the same chain but...) and there's one in Southsea. It's to be found toward the sea front on Osborne Road, populated by several decent ethnic eateries. The dining room is smart but rather dull, subdued maroons and off whites. The grey July evening didn't enchance the drab atmosphere.

Things brightened up when starters arrived. Tandoori chicken on my right looked lovely, more than the large, fruity Aloo Dosa (potatoes in rolled in a chappati) in front of me though it’s light aniseed-fennel savour proved quite agreeable. Pleasingly a main course of Darjeeling Chicken did turned out to be similarly satisfying: a subtle tea flavoured, herby, mild curry with hints of leafy coriander, peppery mint and woody, fragrant cinnamon. Meantime a meltingly sweet pumpkin bhajee and caramel tasting okra slivers made fine accompaniment even if the simple carbs could have had more complex taste, in particular bland pilau rice. However, this is a relatively minor quibble given that food is well presented, cooked clean and comes in fairly sizeable portions.


Willp2328 rating: 7/10

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