Flavours of Spice
A recent trip to Verwood was the perfect excuse to call into the only Indian restaurant in town.
Established four years ago, Spice of India is a firm favourite with the locals. The Sunday Nick and I visited was no exception with plenty of diners already feasting when we arrived.
As well as all time favourite curries, the restaurant offers a variety of delightful chef’s specials and the great news is, they are under £10 each. Bihari Jull, Jamadani Ghost and Akbori Chicken are just a few of the temptations.
But let’s start at the beginning. Following poppadums and delicious home-made chutneys, our starters were a kebab puri, and a Spice of India special.
My show-stopping special had a master chef wow factor. It was a toasted green pepper that stood on the plate like a mini volcano. Stuffed with finely minced chicken and fresh coriander, it was served with a lemon wedge and side salad. Delicate flavours combined beautifully with the pepper, which was tender and succulent – a memorable starter.
In contrast, Nick’s entrée was a seekh kebab rolled in a deep fried pancake. Mildly spiced, it married well with the house red sauce made with tamarind, tomato puree, garlic, onions, carrots and black pepper. A squeeze of lemon and side salad completed the fusion of flavours.
After such satisfying starters, the mains had a lot to live up to. For Nick it was a chef’s special tamarind chicken, and for me, a prawn Sally. We shared a pilau rice, had a naan bread each (plain and Peshwari) and added a plain doi (yoghurt).
The Sally, a famous Parsi wedding dish cooked in spicy sauce, was lavishly garnished with crisp straw potatoes. It looked stunning. Traditionally of medium heat, I asked for extra chilli to pep it up. The crunchy potato added both texture and flavour, and made an unusual change from a straightforward curry.
Nick’s tamarind chicken was cooked beautifully and served in a rich, sweet and sour sauce with a hot kick. It was incredibly more-ish. The sauce was perfect for dipping, and my Peshwari headed in that direction several times.
The restaurant is comfortable, stylishly decorated and offers a private area. Up to 70 people can be accommodated and parties are welcome. A takeaway service is available with free local delivery on minimum order of £9.95. Outside catering can be provided by negotiation.
Tuesday is Banquet night when you can enjoy six delicious courses for just £12.95 per head. (Supplements apply to king prawn, chef’s specials and mixed kebab).
Spice of India’s owner Shahik is very community spirited and his restaurant sponsors Verwood Town Football Club and Verwood Cricket Club who are regular visitors.
If you like Indian food, Spice of India offers all the ‘usual’ suspects, but for the price, the chef’s specials are well worth trying.