Sunday 12 June 2011

The Spice Club Manchester

It was a cold Saturday in June (yes, June. Summer. I know.) Hubs and I made our way to North Manchester for dinner with friends. But this wasn't any old dinner with friends. We had just discovered The Spice Club, an underground Indian restaurant ran by Monica, with her mum Anita doing the cooking and brother Anjay the ever attentive Maitre'd. Opening in September 2010, The Spice Club is going strong, starting out with Clubs once a month, now increasing to once per week and always a sell out. They're now moving onto Sunday Brunches too!

Monica and her family welcome you in to their lovely home in the leafy suburbs, with introductions and a welcome drink as they show you to the large and lovely dining room, table perfectly set for dinner for 13 with a menu to guide you through the evening. A lovely touch to keep referring back to, but as we were given the dishes, Monica introduced them so we knew exactly what we were eating, how it was cooked and the traditions behind the food. But more on that later.

I always worry that, with Supper Clubs, you are in someone elses home so could feel rushed - after all of that cooking and hosting wouldn't you just want your bed? But not at The Spice Club. The evening was wonderfully relaxed and by sitting around the large table we met some truely lovely people who were enjoying the experience just as much as we were. And that's why there are no photographs in this post. So carried away were we with the evening and enjoying a shared experience, it wouldn't have felt right to whip my camera out. So I didn't.

Monica invited any foodies to have a wonder around the kitchen if they felt the need to see what was going on. How could I resist! So after our starter, an indian street snack I'd never come across before but can't wait to try again, I up and left the table expecting to find, if not panic, then a hub of activity.

I was wrong.

Monica and her mother were stood chatting, enjoying the sound of laughter coming from the other room. The plates and bowls were being heated as Monica stirred the entrees. Salivating with anticipation I fought the desire to jump on the food and chatted with Monica and Anita, not once feeling in the way, mainly because everything was prepared and they had the time to chat. I may have just stumbled upon the Actual Hostess With The Mostess (Damn it, I was going for that crown!) with the most fabulous food (ditto).

So onto the menu. I want to describe every dish but I won't, can't, do it justice. I only cook the odd curry at home keeping everything easy so I don't have any authority on the style of cooking or indeed the ingredients, but what I will say is That Was The Best Indian Meal I Have Ever Eaten. Officially.

No grease; no orange fingers; no chicken-that-could-be-other-animal; no lamb-that-probably-came-from-the-floor-of-the kebab-shop-next-door; no 'My mouth is on fire' syndrome synonymous with that 'Indian' (read 'English Lout') favourite, Vindaloo.

But we did get tender, juicy chicken slowly roasted in aromatic spices; Food cooked in olive oil; Spices so beautifully toasted the aroma was like expensive perfume filling the house; lamb so juicy, tender and flavourful we asked for seconds (and thirds. And we got them). We enjoyed traditional Indian, home-cooked fare, a delicious starter and five entrées, with salad, rice and fresh steaming chapatis followed by delicious fruity sorbets and chai cardomom tea to wash it all down with, nicely rounded off with a raspberry biscuit and an Indian sweet I wish I knew the name of.

The menu, in full, was as follows:

Welcome Drink: Fresh Orange & Mango Juice
Appetiser: Papdi Chaat
Entrées: Keema Mattar, Murgh Masala, Aloo Gobi, Sukhi Urad Dal, Raita
Dessert: Mango & Raspberry Sorbet with Mint Sugar
Cardamom Chai served with traditional Indian biscuits

All in all, a fantastic night; fantastic hosts, fantastic friends (old and new) and, most importantly, fabulous food (and the best bit? Unlike every Indian meal I've ever eaten, it's now 4 hours after eating as I type and I've not got Delhi Belly. Fabulous).

If you want a curry in Mancester, forget the Curry Mile and call Monica at The Spice Club to find out what a real Indian meal should taste like.

The Spice Club
Upcoming Events
Monica's Blog 'Spice Diary'


  1. Thank you so much for your kind words Jemma! Hopefully see you v soon...

    Monica x

  2. Jemma! no photo's??? shame on you - you know you've now created the perfect excuse to go back for another Spice Club? ;-) x

  3. Ah-ha see! There is a method to my madness! Waiting with baited breath for the July dates to come out! It was so good, I could eat it again right here, right now!