Indie Spice Grill in Swords is the original of the group now with restaurants in Sandymount and Naas as well. This is modern Indian food at its best, served in stylish and contemporary surroundings with more than a little panache.
The entrance is in a lane parallel to Main Street, Swords and it's on the first floor.It doesn’t feel like a first floor restaurant though, it’s bright and airy with comfortable chairs and smart cutlery and crockery.
The menus aren’t like that tradional Indian either. There are no long listings of the same dishes with different sauces or ingredients, this is a curated list of the best dishes of their choice, but you will still find plenty of classics and some new surprises.
The chefs are all indian and have been hired from some of the top hotels in Europe and the Middle east, including some of Dubai's finest. One my last visit one of the chefs blew me away with an authentic prawn saag; fresh prawns simply cooked with spinach and spices, delicious and super healthy.
Owner Tariq Salahuddin has been at the forefront of Indian restaurants in Ireland for over 20 years, and his restaurants have regularly been winners in all the top food awards, including one year when our late colleague Paolo Tullio awarded two of the restaurants awards in the same year. With that in mind, and because consistency is a byword here, I an going to let you read Paolo’s last review of Swords. Some small things may have changed, but the quality and pleasure in eating great food shines through.
“Gerard chose the Murgh Chaat, which was chicken in a tangy sauce, and he followed that with Goan fish curry. I decided to start with an old favourite, the onion bhaji, and followed that with lamb rogan josh.
"You're not being very adventurous," Gerard said to me as I ordered. True, I wasn't, but if a restaurant can do old favourites well, then there's a fair chance it can do the rest well too. Our waiter asked Gerard how he'd like the curry: mild, medium or hot. "Hot," said Gerard without hesitation. "You sure?" I asked. "I lived in Goa for six months and I'm well used to hot curries. Trust me, this won't be Indian hot, they never believe you when you say you'll have it hot," he replied.
To go with our main courses we ordered egg fried rice, Pilau rice and garlic and coriander naan bread. We also managed to dispose of a large bowl of poppadoms while we waited for the starters. I liked what we got, the bhajis were crisp and finely flavoured, while Gerard's chicken dish was tastier than I'd imagined. It came served on a fried pancake, which held the spicy sauce nicely.
Two large flats arrived with our main courses, each containing a generous portion. My lamb rogan josh was as good as any I've tasted and I managed to finish most of it. It took me a while to pluck up the courage to taste the 'hot' curry as I'm easily reduced to tears by super hot peppers. Turns out Gerard was right, the spiciness was well within my range and I liked the taste.
In many ways, Indian cooking reminds me of Italian cooking. They're both predominantly savoury cuisines, so looking at the desserts on a menu in an Indian restaurant is like looking at desserts on an Italian menu. In truth neither Italians nor Indians are good at desserts. In Italy you might find a tiramisu, a zabaglione and an ice-cream, but that's about it. Here in Indie Spice, they have another solution and offer seven desserts, not one of which is Indian.
Banoffi, Bailey's cheesecake, strawberry ice-cream, coffee ice-cream, caramel parfait, vanilla ice-cream and a mixed assiette plate. We chose the assiette plate at €6.95 to share and it came with the dark chocolate passion-fruit, white chocolate and raspberry, apple, chocolate tear-drop, orange chocolate wedge, lemon tartlet and a duo of dark and white chocolate.
Normally when I see an espresso at €2.95 I think 'rip-off'. But here I was delighted to pay that because this was one of the few times I've seen a restaurant use a Nespresso machine. Yes, the little pods are expensive, but the system unarguably makes a very good espresso. Plenty of crema – normally not present – and good flavours. It's an idea more restaurants should consider. The last taste in your mouth when you leave a restaurant is the coffee, why not leave the customer with a good taste?”