A word of warning: if you’re thinking of visiting Spice Market it’s a good idea to make a reservation in advance. On our visit, the place was as busy as a bookie’s on Grand National Day.
And rightly so. This classy establishment – situated inside the slick W Hotel – has a lot going for it from the louche yet sociable mood (aided by the low lighting), lush interior (think wooden, varnished floors and chocolate hued banquettes) to the top notch cocktails: friendly staff serve a mean Ginger margarita.
But enough of the décor and drinks, what about the food? Happily the food at the Spice Marketmore than matches the glamorous surroundings. Executive chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten has over seen an exciting, well executed menu and missteps are a rarity: every dish we ordered was prepared to an exceptionally high standard and full of flavour.
Start your pan Asian feast with the Spiced chicken samosas – the spice lends fabulous flavour to the chicken – or the deliciously memorable Salmon sashimi (warm crunch rice chipotle emulsion and spring onion). You’ll also find comforting Asian favourites such as Tom Yum Soup featured among the first course options.
Mains also hit the high notes. Again we liked – nay loved – everything we tried. Standouts include the Monkfish with Wok fired Chinese leaf cabbage, water chestnut and cucumber and the Vietnamese Chicken Curry with sugar snap peas and coriander.
Vegetarians have plenty of choice too thanks to an impressive Pad thai (it’s not overly greasy as is often the case) and the likes of Avocado maki rolls and fresh, zingy market salads and soups. Good tasting, if unnecessary, sides include the satisfyingly sweet Coconut sticky rice (beautifully presented in a banana leaf) .
For the dessert try the Thai Jewels and fruits, crushed coconut ice – so much more than a mere afterthought. The Kaffir lime cheesecake with mandarin sorbet and roasted pineapple also packs a punch and proves an enjoyable end to an excellent meal.
Service is sweet (the staff are among the friendliest in town) and professional. For a taste of the orient in the heart of London, head here. This is a serious destination dining venue providing a welcome injection of style to the Leicester Square environs. Whether you go for breakfast, lunch or dinner, you’ll leave a lot happier than when you first arrived. A class act.
PS For post dinner drinks head upstairs to the lounger bar in the adjacent W Hotel – a hidden jewel in Soho’s bar scene.