The Spice Lounge Durham is a little Indian Restaurant that we’ve been going to for years, but it’s hidden away behind the Market Place, so you have to know where it is or you’ll probably be looking for it for weeks without finding it. It’s tucked away in a little alley, down between the Durham Indoor Market and St. Nicholas’ Church. It’s long and narrow and you just wouldn’t expect to find it there. The entrance is through a small door, and once inside the little foyer, with it’s ‘fish-tank-esque’ window, you are in front of the bar area. Once again, we hadn’t booked (need to get that sorted out), but after only about 5 minutes wait they found us a table. Hot diggety, no trouble.
The waiters are all smartly turned out in trousers and waistcoats and are very attentive, getting our drinks sorted out as priority before taking the food order. We stuck with Cobra Beer (mega bottles) and a house White wine. We also got complimentary glasses of water just in case the food was too hot. The menus are nice and clean, bound stylishly and are well laid out, making choosing our meal very easy. Starting with poppadoms and pickles, they were plentiful and tasty, and as usual, we made a mess of the nice crisp table cloth. Sorry guys! Pickles were fresh and zingy. I always gauge the pickles by the Lime, and this was sharp and spicy without tasting of soap like some Indian Restaurants seem to serve (why is that?).
The girls played it nice and mild, ordering the Lamb and Chicken Pasanda, done in fresh cream with yoghurt, cous-cous, almonds and cashew nuts. Us blokes went for the ubiquitous Chicken Tandoori Masala and I decided Chicken Tikka Jalfrezi was the thing for me. Rather than the food coming in little bowls over a candle powered warmer, the meals are in dishes, like soup-bowls, which is a bit unusual, but cuts down on the table clutter. The Jalfrezi came served as a sizzler, so the waiter spooned it in while balancing the sizzler and plate precariously on his arm. It looked impossible to do without covering himself and us with sauce, but he managed without spilling a drop. Vegetable Pilao Rice was nice and fluffy and the Peshwari Naan passed the Mrs DFD test (it’s the only Naan she’ll order).
The bill at Spice Lounge Durham came to about 75 quid between us, including drinks, so quite reasonable and they didn’t try to hurry us out of our seats afterwards, which was nice as we just wanted to sit and talk for a bit. Highlight of the night was the customer who leaned back a little too far on his chair and went a**e over t*t, thanks to a helpful nudge from his Mrs. I thought only kids did this, but it was pretty funny, and he wasn’t hurt, just a bit embarassed. We tried not to mock and point, but it was difficult 😉
Price : £75 for four
Durham Food and Drink Rating
First Impression : 8, Service : 9, Food : 8, Value : 8
The Spice Lounge,
St. Nicholas Cottage,
Tel : 0191 3830927