Spice up your life
Adventurous Asian flavours bursting into the West End.
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GT were invited down to the new restaurant Spice Market, on the edges of China Town and tucked into the impressive architecture of the W Hotel. And you know what we're like with an invitations...
The friendly and super attentive staff took us to our low table, surrounded by a healthy mix of first time daters, after office socialisers and fine diners. Brightly but unobtrusively lit, with all manner of alluring smells wafting around, the potentially formal ambience is rounded off with a quiet but cool soundtrack. We heard Of Montreal, Goldfrapp, The Knife and Pulp played in the background, which made us feel very at home.
The food on offer is a bold mix of everything Asian - in the starters alone you have a mix and match approach, ranging from the more traditional crisp salty spring rolls, to a gorgeously sticky salmon shamishi. They take the mass market pairing of sweet and sour and give it a sophisticated showy twist - the crab dumplings with sugar snap peas and aromatic spices come with a delicious sauce that manages to be both sour and treacly sweet. And if you are a fan of bold flavours, the absolute best dish we were served was the salmon tartare with soy ginger dressing, avocado and radish. We never thought a dressing could be amazing, but it pops on the tongue and clears the way for the cold salmon. We'll say it again, amazing.
And they're just starters. The cocktails (made my obligatory hunky bar staff) were expertly crafted, and had the same renegade approach to mixing up exquisite flavours. Give the watermelon chilli martini a spin. The mains are of the same high quality, just more of it. Though the cod may have be plain, the accompanying Malaysian chilli sauce more than compensated, as this is where the Spice Market really excels - those seemingly small additions to a dish that brings the whole thing together. Their unfussy sides (such as coconut rice cooked in banana leaf) are prefect for drawing out the potent flavours of the main.
Miraculously we had room to try the puddings, which foodies will devour, satisying and sparking that 'ooh what's this' curiosity. The Thai jewels and fruits with crushed coconut is a feast for the eyes as much as the tongue, topped with edible sparkling green and red fruit chunks.
The Spice Market is a great discovery, located as it is on the edges of Soho, for those wanting to try out something a little bolder and more adventurous that their usual old standards.
Pre-theatre menus and offers available, check out spicemarketlondon.co.uk.