House of Spice

Sector: Somewhere in Oxford
Stardate: Wednesday 5 June 2002
Event: First escape from the Reading Black Hole
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The first Naan Trek review from outside the Berkshire Quadrant occured rather by accident. The original mission objective was for a night out in Oxford including touchdown in a Mexican restaurant. We communicated ahead to book a table, only to find when we arrived that it had somehow been transformed into an Indian in the year since anyone had been there, or else we had inadvertently slipped into a parallel universe containing slightly more curry houses. Not willing to squander an opportunity we whipped out our throbbing tricorders and your dedicated reporter set about making microscopic notes on the back of a "Flackwell Heath Cricket Club" raffle ticket.

AMBIANCE OK

Decor: A mixture of cream walls and exposed brickwork.
Music: Cool Miles Davis at first, followed by Indian music.

SERVICE Surly

Time to get served: Around 45 minutes.

STARTERS Adequate

Popadums and chutneys: Normal popadums, four dips including lime pickle; fairly ordinary.
Lime pickle: "Adequate but not exciting" (Allan).
Onion bagees (2.25): Four, but very small, although the taste was good.

MAIN COURSES AND DESERTS Uniformly excellent

Sag Prawn (5.50): "Delectable" (Christopoulos).
Lamb Patia (6.25): "Mmm, fruity! Nearly as good as the one I had in Exeter (but I was more p*ssed then)." (Ellison).
Fish Curry (7.50): A whole fish in sauce "Subtle flavour makes up for the expression of excruciating pain on the fish's face" (Allan).
King Prawn Bhuna: "Very good, Gulab standard" (Holden).
Chicken Bombay (4.95): "Pukka!" (Neale).
Boul Dansak (7.25): Bangladeshi fish "delicious" (Hogan).

MISCELLANEOUS
Buffet option Egg-fried rice Sweet Lassi Liqueur coffees Hot towels Sweets with bill

Key: Yes No Too drunk to remember

FINAL VERDICT
Fantastic main courses and desserts, let down a bit by the cheerless service and mediocrity in other areas. In Reading this place would be a candidate for a 4/5 grading, but good curry is easier to find in Oxford so we award the House of Spice 3 Cobras: