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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.