Last week we were invited to try out the new SpiceBox 100% vegan curry house in Hoe Street, Walthamstow. After visiting the previous owner’s burrito take-away shop, we were amazed at the transformation of such a tiny space. Spice Box owner, Grace Regan, has designed the interior herself to create a colourful, modern curry house – and the decor is lovely, bright and very pink (so forgive the pink-tinged photos!). It feels quite summery with a concrete floor, white walls, hanging plants and big glass roof. They’ve squeezed in tables to seat about 30 and a waiting area for takeaway customers at the front entrance by the open kitchen.
So, our view on the food as non-vegans…
The sharing Street Bite Tiffin (£15) for 2 was a great way to start. Packed with 2 delicious pea and potato samosas and a cucumber and mint raita; a bowl of ‘far far’ spicy puffed crisps; light and crispy onion bhaji with mango chutney; and tasty chana chaat. On every table there’s a bottle of date and tamarind chutney, but we also had the pickle plate including an aubergine chutney, sour lime pickle and delicious home-made fresh seasonal pickle.
From the mains we tried the Jackfruit Jalfrezi which is a fiery curry with a strong vinegar / sour flavour, and a hot chilli kick. With such strong flavours, it’s the kind of dish where you just don’t notice it’s meat-free. The Shroom Keema is another full-flavoured dish ideal for sharing, with a mince made of mushrooms, lentils and walnuts (I think), mixed with peas.
We would probably have preferred a cauli and butternut squash Korma rather than the soya chick’n as we didn’t feel it added much. I get that could be different if you are vegan, so maybe a with/without option would work. But we loved the rich creamy coconut and cashew sauce, and it was nice knowing it wasn’t going to be a guilty, fatty, dairy overload. Prices are competitive with starters £4-6, and mains from £6-9. Portions look small at first but the dishes are deceptively filling and satisfying.
From the side dishes we really enjoyed the spinach and potato Saag Aloo, which was just much fresher than usual, with a slightly roast potato flavour. The Tarka Dahl and Aloo Gobi were also comforting and delicious. The 3-Grains Pilaf with cumin seeds, was a lovely alternative to traditional pilau rice, and a recipe idea I am going to steal. The parathas were light and easy to over indulge in. But this time we were so full we had to get take-away boxes.
Finally we cooled our taste buds in sweet coconut ice cream. Next time we will try to save room for dessert – either the Biscoff and Cardamom Paratha or the Banana Chai Doffle! There is a good range of drinks – a house and one ‘posh’ white red and rose wine. Then a few beers and cider including a 0% alcohol beer. Cocktails, and softies/hot drinks including Limca, Mango Lassi, Indian Cola, Masala Chai and Turmeric Latte.