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Millbank Spice

Tel: +44 (0)20 7630 1444
Address: 34-38 Vauxhall Bridge Road, Pimlico, SW1V 2RY
Cuisine Type: Indian

Describing itself as offering “contemporary Indian cuisine”, this restaurant just moments from Pimlico tube is modern through and through. The bare wood floors and variously coloured walls hung with an eclectic mix of pictures give the impression of being in a boutique art gallery. And lo and behold, on closer inspection, the works are from the Garden of Eden gallery and you can take one home with you for a few hundred pounds.

Drinks and papadoms staved off the hunger while we leafed through the menu, finding it hard to choose between the traditional (tandooris, madras, vindaloo) and the more unusual (Hash Pineapple – duck breast cooked in coconut milk with pineapple and cherry tomato, Murgh Tikka Haryali – lamb cooked to the chef’s own special recipe). We chose the Jhinga Masala king prawns (£9.95) on our waiter’s recommendation, Hash Shugonda duck curry (£7.45) because it sounded intriguing, lemon rice because a similar choice arriving at a neighbouring table looked so good, and completed our order with a side dish of BabyBaingon Bhajee aubergine (£3.25) and a peshwari naan (£1.85).

The portions are bigger than many other Indian restaurants; our waiter told us that our order was sufficient for two people, and I didn’t quite believe him until the plates began to arrive. A generous helping of king prawns, charcoal grilled until slightly charred round the edges, came in a vibrant red saffron sauce, piquant with spices and almonds. Meaty slices of beautifully tender duckling breast in a mild, rich and creamy sauce of onion, ginger, garlic, spices and garam masala was certainly different – a pleasant dish but the pairing didn’t work as well as the prawns. However, all the side orders went down a treat – spicy baby aubergines cooked with onions, tomatoes and chilli, fluffy naan with a buttery filling of almonds, pistachio and raisins, and the lemon rice tasty enough to eat on its own.

Drinks-wise, most diners opted for beer. Wines are limited to one each of main types (Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc etc), but are keenly priced at £9.95 to £12.95 a bottle. The mango lassis we ordered were good – thick and fruity – and compensated for the fact that we were too full for dessert or coffee.

The restaurant filled up as the evening went along with a mix of couples, young urbanites and city suits in search of dinner after a day at the office, with more arriving as we were leaving. While it may not pick up the passing trade that similar restaurants in the city would do, the buzz created by the steady stream of customers suggests that this has become a popular local, and deservedly so.

– Tracy Yam, 10/2003

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