The Spice Lounge, Derby, Restaurant Review

Dining out at The Spice Lounge, Friar Gate, Derby

The outside of the restaurant struck us as crisp, clean and contemporary with parking sometimes available right outside. Once through the door the wonderful aroma of spices assails the nose, tempting the taste buds. The subtle lighting, with soft leather cream seating and chocolate brown textures invites comfort and ease. The seating has several arrangements for different dining groups, from those who want a quiet intimate meal through a small gathering of friends to a large party; there are individual and private seating booths for between four and six people and an open, cream leather suite of furniture with a round table, again for six people,  and lighting from a beautiful glass chandelier ball for a special event.

The restaurant takes up to 72 guests and was full on the evening of our meal – but this certainly didn’t distract from our experience. Children are very welcome and made to feel part of the full eating experience. We took a ten-year-old to the restaurant to get her views too. 

When we were seated we scanned through the menu and were quickly served with fresh poppadums and pickles to get us in the mood for our first course. This began with an onion bhaji, four slim and crispy pieces with a nice crunchy shell and soft onion centre, with a side serving of a sweet tangy sauce which complemented and calmed the spicy element of the bhaji.

This was followed by a prawn puri, which came in a three-tier stack of chapati breads, bursting with succulent prawns cooked with aromatic herbs and spices, and accompanied by a neat, crispy side salad and a creamy tomato-based sauce.

The third dish was the ‘Spice Lounge Special’, strips of marinated chicken, lamb tikka and tandoori chicken pieces stir fried in spices with sweet red and yellow peppers and complemented with a crisp green salad on the side – a mouth-watering dish ideal for any Tandoori lover.

To accompany these lovely dishes we had a cool refreshing Cobra beer, a glass of orange juice for the young diner and a glass of Kissing Tree Zinfandel. This crisp, delicious, medium ros� wine is a beautiful salmon pink and ideal with the fish course at �12.50 per bottle. The Spice Lounge has an extensive range of wines, including a selection of three champagnes.

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For our main courses the waiter was happy to serve a smaller portion for the younger member of our group. She’d chosen Chicken Tikka Badami at �11.95 (for a full portion). If you are a Korma lover this would definitely be a better choice as it was an irresistibly creamy blend of Chicken Tikka, cashew and pistachio nuts and almonds – a mild and delicate dish, very much to the liking of the young connoisseur. With a shared portion of fragrant rice and side order of naan bread this was a great combination.

The second main dish was a King Prawn Shashlik (�14.95), a generous portion of large juicy king prawns with onions, peppers and Indian cheese (Paneer) in a low fat sweet sauce which had a slight kick to enliven the taste buds. This wonderful dish is accompanied by a Spice Lounge sauce which had a little more heat and a spicy kick for those who like that extra little zing to a dish – beautiful! The third dish was a Palak Bahar (�11.95) in which mouth-watering succulent chunks of lamb had been combined with spinach, bay leaves, cinnamon and onions. It was a fabulous tasty dish which delivered a wonderful mix of flavours to stimulate the taste buds. The three dishes provided a real variety of texture and flavours. 

Although by this time we’d all eaten so much that we couldn’t tackle a dessert, we scanned the menu and were surprised at the range of dishes. If you happened to be wearing loose clothing, the tempting ‘goodies’ ranged from a delicious-sounding cheesecake to a chocolate pudding. We ended the meal with mints and coffee, chosen from a refreshing range of coffees and teas.

The service was prompt, attentive and friendly. The restaurant offers an Early Bird menu seven nights a week at �12.50 per head from 5.30 to 8pm consisting of poppadoms and chutney, a main course, rice or naan, and a drink (house wine, bottle of beer or a soft drink) –  fish courses are excluded from this menu. My young guest is still talking about the evening and the wonderful food she enjoyed. Whatever the occasion, I would definitely recommend a visit to gain your own experience of The Spice Lounge – try it and enjoy!

The Spice Lounge, 10 Friar Gate, Derby DE1 1BU. Tel: 01332 346 145Open daily 5.30pm-11pm

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