Lunch Goals at Smoke & Spice

Edit: Smoke & Spice is now closed

Do you do lunch buffets?

I’ll be honest, I haven’t really made the effort to visit Smoke & Spice on Granby Street since its launch in December. And that’s because I was kind of put off by its prior incarnation – Rickshaw Rick’s. Every time I approached the door and looked at the menu I would see another gimmick that would put me off. The Candy Shop Shake, like an explosion in a sweet shop but in a glass. Or the sink of nachos, served in a replica sink. Yeah, no thanks.

Smoke & Spice buffet Leicester

But you know I can’t resist a lunch bargain. And one cannot let the sins of the father taint our view of the child. So the large A-board informing me about Smoke & Spice’s global lunch buffet for just £5 finally turned my head. If you only have a short lunch break to hand, you’ll be pleased to know that you can also pick up a takeaway box from the buffet for an even more reasonable £3.50.

spiced Himalayan chicken dish, lunch buffet leicester
Obviously making buffet food look good in photographs is nigh on impossible – please cut slack accordingly

What to expect

I confess to being surprised at the range and quality of the dishes on offer, considering the venue was so very quiet. I would say there were at least 20 different dishes to choose from on the hot plate display. Rastafarian Rundown pasta, Texas buttermilk chicken, vegetable Katsu curry, thai green noodles… Genuinely a global feast before your very eyes. Plenty of choice for vegetarians and vegans. Side dishes of poppadoms and various corn nachos and dips also available if you wanted them.

Deep fried cauliflower and vegetable Katsu
Deep fried cauliflower and vegetable Katsu

I managed two plates from the vast variety on display. The only real disappointment was the chana curry which was faaaaar too spicy for me. However, I am the first to acknowledge that pregnancy has DESTROYED my tolerance for chilli at the moment, so this is probably more my fault than theirs.

Lunch buffet at Smoke & Spice Leicester

It is a bit of an occupational hazard with the old buffet that food loses it’s crisp. It is kept in a humid environment full of condensation after all. This didn’t show the deep fried cauliflower and gunpowder potatoes, for example, at their best. But that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy them!

How did I find it?

There were A LOT of dishes that I thoroughly enjoyed though. The red pepper and spinach potato gratin was absolutely delicious – rich and creamy. I did really like the fried cauliflower – much to my own surprise, as I tend to be pretty down on cauliflower.

There were plenty of very tasty Indian style curries in the mix. The surprise favourite that I went back for a second time were the corn lentil dumplings. They had a firm comfort-food texture and a lightly spiced gravy that was just lovely.

jaggery dessert

As if that weren’t enough, there were also a couple of Indian style sweets. The one I picked was jaggery, and the other appeared to have flecks of pistachio in. Even though I thought I could just manage the one little square, turned out I actually had room for two…

Manja Paal

I washed it all down with a Manja Paal – a hot tumeric milk sweetened with virgin palm rock sugar, which probably didn’t really go well with anything I was eating particularly at all. But it was delicious in and of itself!

Smoke & Spice were not aware I was going to write a review of my visit and I paid for my meal in full.


Bestselling author and freelance drinks writer. Champion of pubs and breweries. Occasional printmaker.

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