32-34 Upper Tooting Road, Tooting
London SW17 7PD
Spice Village has been voted the best curry house in the Tooting round of the 2009 Tiffin Cup – which is an annual competition run by a cross-party group of MPs to find the Best South Asian Restaurant in Britain. Last year the winner in Tooting was Al Mirage.
On Fircroft road side
Spice Village is located near Tooting Bec tube station, at the corner between Upper Tooting road and Fircroft road. The restaurant, which used to be quite a lot smaller, has recently been extended. As you enter, on the left is the ‘kitchen’ and the counter which handles takeaways as well as meals ordered inside, and at the right is the dining area which is a little like a moderm canteen with flashy colours (blue and green apple).
It was very busy with tables occupied mainly by family groups but we managed to find a table. The downside of being that busy is the noise which is not helped by the room’s acoustic: it is not easy to hold a conversation without talking loud. We ordered two seekh kebabs, a Masala fish, two garlic naan, a chicken biryani and a chicken tikka masala. To drink we had two mango lassi.
Sheekh kebabs & masala fish
Kebab and fish
Chicken biryani and curry tikka masala
My plate with everything on it.
The sheekh kebabs were lightly spicy and quite good (though perhaps not quite as good as those at Lahore Karahi nearby, which serves the kebabs with onions and on a crackling hot metal plate, which ensures they remain piping hot). The fish masala was excellent, really perfectly cooked and one of the best examples of this dish I’ve had.
I have mixed feelings about the naan. On the one hand, it was very garlicy – they weren’t at all stingy there. But on the other hand, the naan wasn’t as light and fluffy as it should be, so a little disappointing.
The chicken biryani was a bit average. It was too dry with stuck-together rice, dry chicken, and not a lot of flavour. To a degree, that’s just a feature of biryani (so maybe it wasn’t the best choice), but overall still a fairly average rendition. The chicken tikka masala was quite good. The chicken was tender, and the curry sauce creamy. But again, not quite perfect – it seemed just a bit too heavy.
Cost and conclusion: it was about £23. Overall, this is still a good curry house. I think it is not as good as Al Mirage and Lahore Karachi further down the road toward Tooting Broadway. But it is still good, and easily better than most others in the area. The service was friendly suggesting meals and efficient. Other curry houses reviewed in the same area are Mirch Masala and Kolam.