SpiceBox, London E17: restaurant review
Try loaded onion bhajis, jackfruit jalfrezi and paratha piled high with coconut ice cream and Biscoff crumbs in Walthamstow’s all-vegan curry house
Looking for restaurants in Walthamstow? Read our review of SpiceBox, and check out more suggestions for Indian restaurants in London here.
SpiceBox in a nutshell
After a successful run on London’s street food scene, SpiceBox opened its first (vegan) home on Walthamstow’s busy Hoe Street in January 2019.
Grace Regan, who first popped up on our radar for her jackfruit tikka masala. A former Young British Foodie Street Food finalist, Grace has been experimenting with Indian food since 2015, after switching from a career in Silicon Valley.
What's the vibe?
Formerly housing a burrito takeaway operation, this tiny space has been brightened up with colourful (fuchsia pink and orange) walls and furnishings and hanging plants, and in the daytime benefits from a tall glass roof. There’s an open-plan kitchen at the front, where you can pick up takeaway, while at the back tables are small and packed in, so expect a buzzy and loud atmosphere when the restaurant’s full.
What's the food like?
Skip the chana chat (spiced chickpeas that underdeliver) and order the loaded onion bhaji to start, instead. Super-crisp bhajis are piled high with zingy, freshly pickled pink onions, more crunchy fried onions, green chilli, date and tamarind chutney and raita. Sweet, sour, hot, and salty – this is how you make a bhaji even better.
There are six curries to choose from – jackfruit jalfrezi is lighter and fresher than its meaty counterpoint, while sweet and sour lentil dhansak is loaded with seasonal veg. Tarka dhal, which was voted the best dal in Britain at the 2018 British Dal Festival, was as well seasoned and comforting as you could hope for. Three-grain pilau, with quinoa, bulgar wheat and barley, cumin seeds and onion, makes for a wholesome change to the standard fluffy white basmati.
Breads aren’t (yet) made in house but do the trick nonetheless and come into their own for a brilliant assembly-job dessert. Warm and flaky parathas are topped with coconut ice cream, Biscoff cardamom drizzle, crumbled Biscoff biscuits and toasted coconut flakes. A dream finish.
And the drinks?
The drinks list is as short and sweet as the food, with house and ‘posh’ wine, a lager and IPA, and cider. There are several rum cocktail options – from spiked mango lassi to boozy chai – but rum was sadly off the menu on our visit. Dry-drinkers are well catered for with sweet or salty lime sodas, chai and turmeric lattes, alongside 0% Cobra, Thums up cola and Limca lemon and lime drink.
Best for a light and bright lunch.
Spice Box, 58 Hoe Street, Walthamstow, E17 4PG
Words by Laura Rowe