They say the best things come to those who wait. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case when me and my partner dined at The Spice Cube, located on the top level in The Gate, Newcastle.
We weren’t sure on were we were dining that night when we left the house, but were tempted by the deal they had going on, as well as the fragrant smell coming from within.
The restaraunt has two floors, we were sat at the top over looking the rest of the modern shiny restaurant and the tidy bar.
The place itself is bright and very new-looking with everything sparkling clean. The walls were covered in a warm maroon paint and colourful images , giving diners a real taste of what Indian culture is really like.
Our drinks were order right away by an uncomfortable-looking waitress. I ordered a small coke, my partner ordered a large. A few moments later our drinks arrived, one small coke, one Cobra beer, but it was soon resolved and the large coke arrived shortly afterwards.
The menu itself offered a good deal – order a main and accompaniment then receive a free starter, which had to be ordered before 7pm. Around 6.40pm we were asked if we were ready to order, deciding between two delicious-sounding curries, I asked for another minute.
A minute past seven our order was taking, even though the awkward waitress, and her ditto colleagues walked past us many times with our menus shut, we were disappointed, and unsure if we would get the deal, but let it pass to enjoy the rest of the night.
For starters I ordered onion bhaji’s and my partner liked the look of the chicken chat wrap. They were both beautifully presented, a lot of care had been put into the plates and I couldn’t wait to dig in, but I was slightly disappointed.
As I put my knife through the first onion bhaji there was no satisfying crunch and it was a lot lighter in colour than onion bhaji’s I’ve had in the past, and it is the ones I’ve had before that I consider perfect.
These ones, were really soft, and had a strong spicy taste, the onions were cooked well, but I wanted that crunch. They also came with a sauce, which was fantastic, creamy with a pungent of different spices throughout, I was even dipping my fresh salad in it.
The wrap, filled with a firey chicken, red onion and cucumber all coated in a sweet and sour sauce, was a great little find, but the chicken was to overpowering for my tastes, not so much for my partners, who loves to be tackled by heat.
For mains we choose North Indian garlic chili chicken and chicken tikka makani masala with a plain naan and masala chips on the side.
There was a long wait for the mains and I was starving again by the time they actually arrived.
Once again they were presented beautifully, so our hopes were high for the taste. The North Indian garlic chili chicken had a strong garlic-ey smell, which wasn’t surprising as there was slices of garlic floating in the thick sauce. The chicken was perfectly cooked, soft and melted in your mouth.
The sauce only had a delicated garlic taste, which surprised me and it was actually the chilli that shone through, it was really quiet strong, but it worked.
The chicken tikka makhani masala was a little disappointing again, it didn’t have much depth of flavour, it was just sweet instead, but the chicken was perfectly cooked again. However, I did enjoy this curry after a few mouthfuls, but it wasn’t what we hoped.
The naan, was cooked to perfection, springy and thin, a perfect jacked for those bits of soft chicken, and a great mop for the sauce.
The chips were most definitely just frozen chips sprinkled with spices. I couldn’t complain about the spices, it was the chips that were disappointing, I was expecting homemade, chunky chips.
The Spice Cube is proud to boast a handful of awards including best curry chef in the North East in 2010 and curry king in Newcastle. I wouldn’t say they don’t deserve these awards, the chef clearly knows what he is doing, but the hiccups that happened on that night did put me off, and it didn’t end there.
The wait for the bill was also a very long wait, and it turns out we didn’t get those free starters.