Shimla Spice – Shipley

Reviewed on April 26th, 2015 by Dina

Shimla Spice looks quite decadent with its flocked wallpaper, ornate silver mirrors and little lights covering the ceiling. It has the banner in the window stating that is the Best Indian Restaurant in England 2013 from the English Curry Awards.

The Shimla Spice Vegetarian Mix was a good combination of vegetable pakoras, onion bhajis, paneer pakoras and vegetable samosas. It came with a side salad. Although all of the items were fried, there were not at all greasy. The batter and pastry encasing the various items were crispy.

Shimla SpiceShimla Spice Vegetarian MixShimla Spice InteriorShimla Spice Balti Veg PaneerShimla Spice Saag PaneerShimla Spice Vegetable Masala

The Vegetable Masala was a combination of aubergine, cauliflower, pepper, peas and carrots in a thick sauce. Peas and paneer made up most of the Balti Mixed Veg Paneer. A side dish of Saag Paneer was also had. The spinach was not overcooked and not too mushy. The paneer pieces had a grilled texture to them. All of the dishes had a lot of flavour and were not too spicy as requested. The naans that accompanied the meal were freshly cooked, soft and fluffy.

Even though we had enquired about the closing time to make sure we could dine without time being an issue, the waiters did not give us an enjoyable dining experience. Throughout the whole meal, the staff were constantly hovering over us, taking away plates even though we were still eating. The main dishes were brought out as soon as the starters had been finished, without letting us have a gap in between.

Shimla Spice was given the benefit of doubt, thinking that this was just a one off experience. But we have returned a couple of times, only again to be rushed through the entire meal. It is a real shame as the food is of good quality.

If you want curry in a hurry, then Shimla Spice is the place to go. If you are looking for an enjoyable relaxed evening out, then it may be better to head to another eatery in the vicinity!

Shimla Spice, 69 Otley Road, Shipley, West Yorkshire, BD18 2BJ

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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Roti King – Euston

Reviewed on April 17th, 2015 by Dina

Down a random side street near Euston is the place to get authentic Malaysian and Singaporean street food. Don’t let the look and the size of the eatery put you off in any way. Two signs, one of Roti King and the other of Euston Chinese Takeaway mark the site.

Roti King is nothing fancy and it is all pretty basic. A very small eating area, together with the chef making the rotis at the front by the entrance is pretty much what Roti King is. Queues of diners going out of the door and up the stairs to street level eagerly wait for a table so that they can have some of the roti and curries. The place is so small that tables are shared between diners and there is a quick turnaround with food and customers. Quality is no way compromised though.

Roti King Roti Telor and Dahll CurryRoti KingRoti King Roti Canai with Curry Fish

Flaky, buttery, crispy, hot rotis are made by the skilled chef. It is mesmerising to see the Roti King chef at work. You can watch his skills from the covered glass area. Everything happens front of house, from the roti making to the washing of the dishes.

The way the rotis are made are first the chef flattens the dough ball fairly thin. Then through a series of flips and turns, he makes it paper thin. With some additional folds, rotations and more flattening, he makes it a round shape ready for the hot plate. After the roti is cooked, back it goes onto the stainless silver work surface to be scrunched up. And there you have it, the Roti King has worked his magic and the roti is ready to be served with your curry.

Two dishes were chosen for this weeknight meal. One was Roti Telor which was the roti with egg in the middle. This was had with the Dahll Curry. The Dahll Curry was a combination of a dahl with a curry base which gave it a wonderful distinctive moreish flavour. The roti was perfect to dip into the tasty, mild Dahll Curry.

The second dish was the Roti Canai with Curry Fish. Fried pieces of fish in a slightly spicy sauce accompanied the plain rotis. Again a wonderful and delicious dish.

Roti King provides pure comfort food. As the size of the curries are not huge, you don’t feel overly full. A bigger portion of curry could have easily been eaten. There are also some noodle, soup and rice dishes on the menu which looked tempting when other customers had ordered them. If you have a sweet tooth, then sweet rotis are also on the menu. But we did not have room for them, as we were happily full from our dose of the savoury rotis.

If you want to know exactly what Roti Canai is, the menu states:

“Roti canai is a type of Indian- influenced flatbread found in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. It is often sold in Mamak stalls in Malaysia. It is known as roti prata in Southern Malaysia and Singapore, and is similar to the Indian Kerala porotta”.

Roti King is closed on Sundays and also they have a rest time between 3pm and 5pm on the other six days. It is always best to get there early to avoid the queues.

Roti King, 40 Doric Way, Euston, London, NW1 1LH

Rating: ★★★★☆

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Old Tree Bakery – Golders Green

Reviewed on March 29th, 2015 by Dina

Old Tree Bakery is a Taiwanese bakery with displays of its buns and cakes in the shop window. This bakery is a little different in the sense that it prides itself on trying to keep their products low in salt, sugar and fat. All of their food is baked fresh every day on site. Trays of small bags of hand made cookies are also on display.

It was great to see that the baked good items were all covered on the shelves and that it was not self service. After we were seated, we went to the front of the store to choose our delights. One of the staff picked all of our items and packed them for us as we had wanted some for takeaway.

To dine in at Old Tree Bakery, the Chinese mushrooms, bamboo and vegetables in soup was ordered. The big bowl of steaming soup was packed full of the vegetables and garnished with coriander. The soup was very flavoursome with a slightly sweet and sour taste and it was also thicker than I had expected. It was a hearty soup with its gravy like broth.

Old Tree Bakery SoupOld Tree BakeryOld Tree Bakery Coffee BunOld Tree Bakery DisplayOld Tree Bakery InteriorOld Tree Bakery Interior 2

As I was not feeling adventurous to try the milky bubble tea, a decaffeinated Americano was had instead. Coffee and cake are a match made in heaven. The coffee bun was soft and had a light texture to it. The coffee paste that intertwined through the bun was just sweet enough.

Old Tree Bakery felt clean and well maintained. The cafe area is of a medium size with some comfy seating by the windows and normal tables by the counter. There are a few tables and chairs outside too. The staff were friendly and gave us good service.

There are so many cakes, buns and savoury dishes that Old Tree Bakery has on offer and it really is hard to decide which ones to choose. It is great that the products are available for takeaway. The Curry Bun that was had as a takeaway was equally delicious as the other food had at the bakery. The bun was fresh, soft and had a slight sweetness to it. The curry filling was potato based and not too spicy.

It was great to have such a wonderful first experience of Taiwanese food and it is all thanks to Old Tree Bakery!

Old Tree Bakery, 105 Golders Green Road, Golders Green, London, NW11 8HR

Rating: ★★★★☆

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