37 Bath Road crack
We visited Sami’s Spice at the High Street end of the Bath Road just a week or so after it opened in mid August. There was a bit of déjà-vu about the evening because, prior to its transformation, it had been the popular Hassan’s Indian restaurant.
The interior is now more modern with clean lines and contemporary furniture. The menu too is completely new and more in line with the popular, new style of Indian food. Out are the plates of rice and rich, heavy, sauce based curries. In is the light, more subtle and beautifully presented nouvelle cuisine indienne.
It will come as no surprise to local aficionados of Indian restaurants that Sami’s Spice is run by the same people as The Spice Lodge just up the road. The proprietor, Mohammed, popped in to say hello and welcome us to his newly refurbished restaurant. While we looked through the menu and he explained the thinking behind the transformation. “I think people are looking for a new, more modern approach to Indian food. The old red flock wallpaper and pictures of the Taj Mahal are now considered old fashioned and our customers are looking for a new eating experience.”
Sami’s Spice is a worthy companion to its sister restaurant up the road. The Spice Lodge is great for a special occasion. Its magnificent building and grand dining room with high ceilings, while maybe not daunting, are certainly quite formal. Sami’s, on the other hand is small, intimate, much more relaxed and quite a lot cheaper. Nevertheless, both the food and the service are comparable.
To start, I had a delicious Tandoori Platter while my companion tried the Monk Fish Tikka; tasty mouthfuls of tender fish infused with crusted coriander seeds, chilli flakes and grilled in a wood burning tandoor.
Jalal, our friendly and attentive waiter, recommended the Bharotiya for a main course, so that’s what I ordered. The chicken breast stuffed with spicy minced chicken cooked in cream and coconut sauce arrived beautifully presented with a selection of fresh, finely shredded vegetables on the side. The flavours were very subtle and delicate and it was a generous portion.
My companion tried a salmon dish which didn’t seem to have a name. The fish was bathed in mixed spices and shallow roasted in olive oil. It arrived, again perfectly presented, on a bed of spiced roast potatoes, shallots and capsicum.
We chose a couple of side dishes, although they were not really necessary. The Sag Aloo was exceptional; very light and understated with a perfect balance of potato and spinach. The Tarka Dall was also very good and complemented our main dishes perfectly.
We finished by sharing some ice cream and each having an espresso.
All in all we had a very pleasant evening at Sami’s Spice. Although we have eaten at The Spice Lodge a few times and really enjoyed it, Sami’s provides an excellent alternative having a more casual atmosphere and being slightly less demanding on the wallet. Highly recommended.
37 Bath Road
Tel: 01242 226 229