Featured Restaurant: Delhi Spicee

36 High Street • Northwood • 01923 841107

Reviewed by Alan Cox

Hiding behind a modest façade is this deceptively spacious Indian restaurant. It’s bright and sparsely furnished, reminiscent of a function room with its three rows of white-clothed, evenly spaced tables. But once the cavernous space fills with diners, the atmosphere – complete with Bollywood music – lifts instantly.

The menu, like the place itself, is huge. In fact, it’s one of the largest menus I’ve seen for quite some time. I’m glad my wife and I have also got our daughter in tow – with so many mouth-watering sounding dishes on offer, this will allow us to sample a few extra between us.

There are nearly fifty (yes, 50!) starters on offer, so it takes us some considerable time to decide. Eventually, from the poultry section, we choose Chicken Manchurian Dry – chicken dumplings fried and sautéed with chilli and garlic sauce; from the vegetarian section, Paneer Tikka Shaslik – slices of paneer cheese, green pepper, tomato and onion marinated and grilled and served on skewers, and lastly, from the fish choices, Grilled Fish Tikka – fresh deboned pieces of white fish marinated in signature Indian spices and barbecued.

All three dishes take a while to arrive, which we see as a good sign that everything is being freshly prepared to order. Happily, the wait is worth it – all the dishes look and smell amazing. The fish tikka, which continues sizzling for ages, is beautifully soft and flaky with the most delicious and delicate flavours; while the chicken dumplings, which look like giant meatballs, are slathered in a thick gooey sauce and peppered with onions and flakes of fresh chilli. They’re hot, spicy and a little unusual. The vegetarian Shaslik (kebabs) are a colourful affair, with chunky slices of red and green peppers alternating with huge slabs of paneer cheese, all delicately spiced and enveloped in those oh so distinctive bbq flavours.

We are glad of a pause as our main courses are prepared. Portion sizes here certainly demand healthy appetites.

We’ve chosen two main dishes to share… Butter Chicken – seared tikka of chicken simmered in a rich plum tomato, butter and cream sauce, and Lamb Chop Masal – tandoor-roasted chops, braised with onion and aromatic spices – both chefs’ recommendations. Our decision to limit our main courses proves a good move as both portions could easily have fed four.

With big chunks of chicken in a creamy mellow sauce, the Butter Chicken has all the requisite hallmarks of this firm favourite. Our rather thin looking, but very tasty and coconutty, Peshwari Nan makes the perfect partner for mopping up the creamy sauce. I’m not quite so convinced about the lamb chops, and find them a little dry, with an over enthusiastic portion of sauce swamping these modest little chaps.

To accompany our mains we select Palak Paneer – spinach cooked with spices, cottage cheese and herbs and Aloo Baingan – potatoes with aubergine in a tomato and onion masala sauce. The sludgy green colour of the spinach dish thankfully tastes better than it looks, but it’s the onion bhaji – we always do a bhaji poll – that’s a disappointment, looking rather sad, and with a dense, dry texture.

Service is polite and mostly efficient, but I would have liked our tablecloth cleared of the ‘debris’ left from the previous courses before we move on to dessert. We’ve chosen the highly perfumed, sweet and refreshing kalfi ice cream, which brings a light and contrasting conclusion to what is, on the whole, an impressive and confidently presented Indian feast.

Find Your Local