Who doesn’t love a good Indian on a Saturday night?
If you ever find yourself in Elmers End, Beckenham then head straight to Spice Society. It’s one of the best asian restaurants in the area. Quite large establishment with ambient decor and extremely polite staff. I have been there a number of times and have never have been disappointed.
Now my partner in crime would probably give you a lecture how ‘Indian’ restaurants in England are all actually Bangladeshi owned and what you are eating is not Indian at all. But since I am no expert on originality of these dishes I go by taste alone.
They have a very extensive menu, whether you feel like prawn or lamb there is something for every craving. All dishes are so fresh, you get overwhelmed by fragrance when they serve them on your table.
Some of the dishes we ordered were lamb biriani served with vegetarian curry, chicken masala and paneer. What a feast! All plates were heaped, which meant my lunch next day was sorted. Sweet!
139 Croydon Road, Beckenham BR3 3RB
I often spend my Sunday’s watching Indian Soaps and admiring the unique ‘thali’ way of eating. The idea that you get to try 7 dishes all during one sitting sounds incredible for a foodie like myself. So when I drove past Thali & Pickles in Balham I just had to give it a try.
With its rustic interior, stripped timbre cladding and an array of hand painted bollywood film posters, it has a very cool and modern feel to the place. Thali & Pickles is known for its Thalis and Indian street food so I was delighted to see some of my favourites on the menu so naturally had to order lamb samosas and the mouth watering pani puri. The pani puri was refreshing and a mix of sour and tangy, I loved the fact we could add our own tamarind water as it just added to the messy fun.
In theory a thali is a serving for one person in which you get: rice, naan, one main curry, veg curry, pickle, daal, raita and a dessert. Sounds like a lot but the portions are small so enough for your tummy. Thali & Pickles doesn’t just serve thalis but also biryani, regular portioned currys and tandoori dishes. The food is South Indian in flavour so is low on spicy in comparison to your regular Indian so the flavours are more creamy.
Whilst at Thali & Pickles you must try their mango lassi, even in the middle of winter it was creamy and sweet with an under tone of mango sourness. Delicious.
The waiters are lovely and ready to serve, exactly what you need on a Thursday night after work. We will defo come back for seconds at Thali & Pickles.
Thali & Pickles
5-6 Balham Station Road, Balham, SW12 9SG
Located in the most industrial estate, it’s hard to imagine that this jewel encrusted asian food heaven exists. Chak 89 is the gem of Mitchem eateries and I usually treat myself to a meal there at the end of every term for a bit of bollywood wow factor and well when you are there you can’t help feeling like a celebrity with the outstanding customer service which is offered. However, this is also helped with bling decor they have, a chandelier lovers dream.
Chak 89s menu covers the best of all the asian cuisines from South Indian to Bangladeshi all cooked to perfection. They also have a few little fusion surprises such as the olive and peri peri naan which has become a favourite for my friend Shivaani and I. We have now been there a total of 5 times to Chak 89 in the last year and have still yet to make our ways through their extensive menu. It’s also hard to get through the menu with their more than generous portions of each dish.
Saying that we always have to have the following. The chilli paneer at Chak 89 is to die for, slightly crispy on the outside with lots of that sweet/sour/spicy sauce on the outside. The size of the paneer chunks is also worth a mention as often I find other restaurants have tiny chucks of paneer and lots of other fillers in the dish but not here. The other staple dish we go for is the Chak Allepey King Prawns, now upon reading the description I did winch a little when I saw it had a mango and coconut cream sauce but the flavours together were amazing, a mixture of sweet, sour and tangy. The king prawns are always massive and juicy so it’s well worth the £10.95 price tag for the dish. The last dish I would like to mention is the Chak 89 Dal Mahkni, black creamy lentils in which you can taste the fact it has been cooked for days to get the all rounded blend of spices which are balanced.
We will obviously be coming back to this gem but next time you fancy indian/ asian cuisine, why no try Chak 89.
Star Rating: ****
105 Bond Road, Mitcham CR4 3HG