The Spice Market
I had to try the Spice Market. It was being reigned as the new hot restaurant in town. So many people I know have been. I had to go and make my own assessment.
I called to make a reservation about 2 weeks in advance. The hostess told me that the only availability was starting at midnight. Pleeaasse! The place is pretty large but there must have been a run on reservations that evening or my voice didn’t sound important enough. God knows. So, I called my friend who has some “ins” in the restaurant biz. He got me a reservation. I was set.
We were going to have 3 couples get together. Fortunately for my husband, who had no interest in going to this Spice Market, had to be in London last night. So, it was a girls night.
My friend was already sitting there when I arrived. It took us both a second to look at each other and say that we felt like we were at Disneyworld. The place is so over the top decorated that I truly felt that I was at a theme restaurant in Disneyworld.
We placed our drink order. The waiter was even Disneyish. He was wearing a ridiculous looking outfit. He wanted to know if we had been there before so he could explain the type of food they served. Is this a tourist operation? Do they actually think that I have never eaten Asian foods?
I had heard that the appetizers was the best thing there. So, we stuck with what we were told. We had the black pepper shrimp which was incredibly sauce and spicy. Not that interesting and it was hard to figure out which pieces were shrimp and which were something else. The lime noodles were pretty good. It was layered concoction. Noodles on the bottom, some type of green vegetable like rabe in the middle and then vegetables everywhere. A nice sauce and tasty. The shaved tuna which the waiter told us was signature was not tasty at all. Big pieces of tuna surrounded by shaved artichokes and roe. Not even pretty to look at and not interesting in taste. We ordered another round of appetizers starting with the fried chicken wings. The leg part of the chicken wing. The wings were deep fried and the skin was very bulky. We also had a pulled pork samosa served with a green curry sauce. This was the best thing there. The meat was tender inside. The samosa was the a bit soft on the skin but was highlighted by dipping in the sauce. We also had a sushi looking roll with chicken. It was terrible. The outside part of the roll was a vegetable which was really stiff and hard to bite into. All and all, the meal was not that good.
I crawled into bed and realized how much garlic was in the food. I also thought that everything sort of tasted the same. Nothing stood out except the samosas. The were a variety of sauces but everything sort of mushed into one. Restaurants survive because of good food and service not because of themes. This may be the hot place of the moment but mark my words, this place will not last. The meat market area is hopping but as time passes, the restaurants of the moment will have to be good enough to have people want to come back. I have yet to find a restaurant like that in the meat market area except for Florent which I used to frequent for years. It probably is not as good as it once was but it has been there for easily 15 years. Restaurants that survive have built a loyal customer base who can hardly wait to return.
I did not even want to go to the Spice Market when they told me midnight was the first available table. Now that I have gone, I do not want to go back either.
it is amazing how consistent they can be…do they get judged on that also? Two sundays ago on a very quiet day, we decided to pop in for lunch “without a reservation” and try the food. Like most restaurants in the city during a summer weekend, it was empty. However, there was “nothing available” except the communal table. Turns out that was a table facing the kitchen which was very interesting.
We found the food just okay and the service absolutely painful. I am glad we tried it but we don’t need to return. I will say, though, that the fresh ginger ale is amazing….you can go to 66 for that though…….
Can’t go wrong with a pulled pork somosa. Let’s try making them sometime, I know your talents would lend themselves to such a tasty treat.