IF you chucked the 1970s and a vindaloo into a blender you’d probably get something close to 7 Spices Incredible Indian Cuisine.
It’s a gloriously old-fashioned looking curry house – an ode to tan flares, Minder and the songs of Nana Mouskouri.
The ornate decor, peach colour scheme and heavy-set wooden chairs all evoke memories of visiting countless curry houses in the UK that looked a bit like someone’s front lounge.
And what about the fantastically over-the-top name? Like something you would see when the carnival came to town.
But I’d rather eat in 7 Spices than some soulless, cookie-cutter franchise abyss, so good on them for having a bit of kodachrome charm. But was the food any good?
The menu catered to the classic-curry brigade: all the favourites were covered including korma, tikka masala, vindaloo, rogan josh and madras.
I began to feel a bit uninspired when I noticed a Balti murgh, some chef’s specials (Chennai goat, prawn malabar) and a whole section devoted to dosa (a crepe-style dish made from lentils and rice from South India), uttapam (a sort of South Indian pizza made from rice and lentils) and idli (small savoury rice cakes).
There was also a great range of vegetarian curries (remember the old days when you got a couple of token dishes that looked like the bottom of a budgie’s cage?). So clearly the restaurant had a few spicy tricks up its sleeve.
I went for the prawn malabar ($26.90) with steamed basmati rice ($4.90). The accompanying naan bread ($4.50) was superb – it had a strong garlic aroma with crispy edges and tasted incredibly fresh. It was just the right thickness and super light. A joy to eat.
I’ve had so many naans that were the size of a whale’s tongue and sat in my stomach like a bowling ball for days.
My malabar curry had plenty of tail-off prawns and a thick creamy, inoffensive sauce.
It lived up to its “very mild” tag, but my interest was maintained by the odd cardamom seed, some curry leaves and soft cubes of tomato.
If you like a mild seafood curry, this could be the way to go as the spices don’t overpower the prawns, which were nicely cooked.
My wife “Special K” is a disciple of the CWA Cookbook and likes her curries as lively as an episode of Better Homes and Gardens, so she went for her usual chicken korma ($22.90).
“I like the cashews mixed into the creamy sauce and there was loads of chicken in there,” she said.
“The diced chook is nice, but not melt in your mouth, but it’s still good quality. An enjoyable korma without quite hitting the heights of others I’ve tried.”
Bamm-Bamm and Pebbles were busy sharing a butter chicken curry ($22.90). They wolfed down the large cubes of chicken with no complaints and hoed into the garlic naan as well.
Normally they don’t finish all their curry, but this was gone in quick time, so it obviously hit the spot.
7 spices do a buffet on Friday and Saturday nights and make the most of their large dining room by hosting functions, and also do catering.
Situated on Ardross Street in the ‘Applecross Village’, the dining room has stylish arched windows and plenty of natural light.
If you’re after a bit of old-school curry charm, then 7 Spices Incredible Indian Cuisine is worth a visit (love the name).
7 Spices Incredible Indian Cuisine
35 Ardross Street, Applecross
by STEPHEN POLLOCK