Shad Indian

Posted by Colin

Where: 96 Tooley Street, SE1 2TH
Cost: Mains approx £9-£13 per person
Food Rating:
Service Rating:

Ruth and I are in mourning. Our grief has led to a I Live By The River first – two ratings for a restaurant, one for the food and one for the service. On Saturday night we took two friends along to Shad Indian on Tooley Street, our favourite and local Indian restaurant. We’ve eaten here many times before and its our Indian of choice when it comes to takeway. No longer.

We had originally booked for 8pm but it became clear that it would be touch and go if one of our friends would make it on time due to a delayed train. So we duly called the restaurant and asked whether it was possible to delay our table by 30 mins, to which they said it wouldn’t be a problem. We get to the restaurant and are told they don’t have a table for us because we booked for 8pm and no-one had informed them of our call. After a discussion in front of most of the restaurant, the waiter said he would go and find out what was happening. After 10 minutes we had to ask again because no-one was forthcoming. Eventually, we were shown to a table at around 8:50pm and the head waiter told us he was going to “kick the arse” of the person who’d taken our phone call.

A different waiter took our orders. The first two people ordered different things and the waiter made a sarcastic comment about how the chef “would be pleased” that he’d have to cook different dishes. I was next and I ordered the Seafood Bhuna and was asked whether I really wanted that as the chef “always overcooks it”. Having eaten there before, I knew how good the food is and so I suspect he was trying to get me to order a dish that was quicker to cook. He then left the table and we had to get him back to take the final person’s order.

When the food arrived it was, as usual, delicious. The seafood bhuna was beautifully spiced and the seafood perfectly cooked. I would recommend the food to anyone. At the end of the meal the head waiter came back and asked how things were. I calmly explained that the service had been poor for the above reasons and that it was a shame because we were regulars and the food was so good. He snapped back at us, cutting me off mid sentence and saying “if you’re going to go down that route, I’ll give you 10% off and that’s it”. I thanked him and asked him whether, in two hours, he’d managed to find out who took our original call and why we’d been messed around. He said that he’d been too busy to find out. I said we wouldn’t be coming back again.


Delicious food that isn’t too expensive, we’d rightly loved this place for ages. However, we just feel let down by the way we were treated from not dealing with our phone call properly to originally missing someone’s order. And I have never ever been to a restaurant before where you order a dish and the waiter discourages you from ordering it apparently because the chef is incompetent. Maybe they don’t need to look after their regulars because of their location on such a busy street, but it is such a strange way to run a business.

So we’re now on the lookout for a decent Indian restaurant in and around SE1. Got any suggestions for us?


Indian Fine Dining at Tamarind

Posted by Ruth

Where: 20 Queen Street, Mayfair, W1J
Cost: Mains approx £20 per person (pre/post theatre set menu £28.50)

Michelin stars and Indian food don’t often go together in most people’s minds. Often going for a curry is more of a guilty pleasure where we all order, and eat, too much. Tamarind, a Michelin starred Indian restaurant, seeks to challenge those perceptions. Keen to test out the reality, we took advantage of a London Restaurant Festival menu deal in October.

On arrival at this beautiful, but understated, restaurant, we were treated exceptionally well (often not the case when having pre-booked with a cheaper menu), and the great service continued throughout. After selecting our dishes we were quickly brought delicious poppadoms with an array of chutneys. A regular start to an Indian meal you might think – but this was on a different plane to the norm. The poppadoms were light and fresh, while the chutneys were enthralling – particularly the date and ginger variety.

Each dish that followed lived up to this high standard. Our starters of spiced chickpeas and chicken kebab sounded simple, but actually delivered complex flavours and techniques.

The mains (paneer and lamb curries) were beautifully spiced, and served with freshly made Indian breads and pilau rice. The lentil side dish was probably the least exiting aspect of the meal, but still tasty.

The deserts (never traditionally a high point of an Indian meal) were sublime. Cinnamon and pistachio rice pudding was creamy and sweet. Carrot fudge was inspired, a simple dish that enveloped the taste-buds.


A fantastic restaurant, and a must for fans of Indian food. It may not offer the levels of presentation found in many Michelin starred restaurants, but this is appropriate for the cuisine, and in no way detracts from the quality of the dishes. There are also affordable lunch and evening set menus available.

Kanapina Indian Street Food

Where: Reuters Plaza, Canary Wharf, E14
When: 29/10/12

On Monday night Ruth and I went to see the wonderful Scott Mattthews at the East Wintergarden in Canary Wharf. Whilst Ruth was stuck on the Tube, I grabbed us some dinner from one of the food shacks right opposite the exit to the station. Of the three, the one that caught my eye most was Kanapina Indian Street Food.

For £4.85 you can build your own roti roll, adding your own choice of filling, salad and sauce (menu). I plumped for the chicken tikka which had been marinated for 24 hours and added in both salad options and topped it off with the Imli sauce (sour tamarind pulp and sweet dates). They wrap it up in silver foil for you to keep it warm.


Not a bad option if you are in a hurry, but it is not anything special. I can’t really fault the food – it tasted fresh and wasn’t greasy – but the street food scene in London is so strong that Kanapina is in danger of being eclipsed by the crowd of competition.