Spice Empire Review
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Spice Empire Review: Trendy Gem of Sunderland

Trendy décor, exquisite food and warm service. Caroline Dask is in for a treat at Spice Empire, Sunderland…

Looking outside the window, the sun is beaming and I can almost feel the taste of Spring in the air. It’s as if the North East has an inkling I’ve got big plans for Friday night and is encouraging me to get out there and make the most of it.

After a busy week at Luxe HQ (when is it not?), I’m on my way to Sunderland this time and I’m bursting with excitement. After all, is there a better combination than spectacular theatre paired with scrumptious food?

Before heading to see Disney’s Aladdin, we’re making a stop at a trendy little Indian gem of Sunderland – Spice Empire. Located conveniently just a short walk from the theatre, it’s the perfect place to grab a bite before the big show.

First Impressions

Before even entering the restaurant, I can feel the warm atmosphere exuding the building. Taking a quick glance through the window, I can see Spice Empire is full of lively aura. Friends catching up, lovers holding hands and the regulars stopping by for a well-deserved weekend beverage.

Upon entering, we exchange warm ‘hi’s’ with the owner of Spice Empire, Imad, who introduces himself and his staff. Taking a look around I’m at ease. The friendly chatter, the warm hospitality and the trendy, yet warm ambience reassure me – we’re in for a night to remember.

The Interior

As Imad guides us to our table, there’s no hiding, we’ve been treated to the best one there. Enwrapped in a beautiful lilac light, our table booth is adorned with flowery details and neon signs, ones that bring me back to my original thoughts of Spring and how there’s much to look forward to in the months ahead.

Looking around and taking in the place, I can tell that their unique interior just adds to Spice Empire’s charm. Tables by large windows for people watching, some away from the hustle and bustle of the city, for those, who wish to have a quiet moment for two and booths, perfect for double dates and catch-ups.

It seems that every kind of customer has been carefully thought of, their needs and wants meticulously planned and this attention to detail is greatly appreciated not only by me but also by the vibrant people of Sunderland, considering the restaurant is fully booked for the night.

Spice Empire Review: The Starters

Looking around and taking in the beautiful surroundings, I sense that I will feel right at home here. Before I have a chance to glance at the menu, Imad is here to take our order for drinks.

Considering it’s Friday, and with a little bit of encouragement from Imad, we opt for cocktails. Strawberry Mojito for me and a Passionfruit Mocktail for my dinner companion. As we clink the glasses and take the first sip our eyes pop open as we’re hit with the delightful taste. The fruity flavours dance on our taste buds creating a feeling of nostalgia. It’s taking me back to hot summer days, sipping cocktails in a chic city cocktail bar and just like that, I’m dreaming of Summer.

For starters, it’s Garlic King Prawns (£7.50) for me and Onion Bhaji (£4.50) for my company. The friendly team at Spice Empire offer a speedy service and in what feels like minutes, the food is already on our table.

The presentation of my Garlic King Prawns is exquisite. If it tastes as good as it looks, I’m in for a treat. Garnished with fresh, I tuck in, enjoying every bite. The mild, sweet, zesty and fresh flavours combine into one creating a fusion of perfection. Minutes pass by, my plate is clean and I just know I’ll be thinking of this delightful starter for days to come.

Spice Empire Review: Mains

With their extensive menu, catering to a good variety of customers, I inform Imad that I’m no good with extremely spicy food, and decide to go with his recommendation for the main.

A mild and flavourful Hariali (£11.90), from the Chef’s Specials menu is my dish of choice. It’s a lean chicken breast in fresh garlic, ginger, green chillies, coriander and cream spinach. Otherwise known as the green dish!

My dinner date opts for Chef’s Choice of Lamb (£17.90). It’s a marinated spring lamb slow-cooked in herbs and spices in a flavoursome sauce, served with rice.

Once our food arrives, the cameras are out as we can’t help but capture the chef’s creations. Once again, the presentation certainly does not disappoint and after a few minutes pass by, we decide to dig in.

My Hariali is a charming flavour combination. I can clearly taste the spices and the undertones of them as I take my first bite. The coriander and the cream spinach are the stars of the show. They blend beautifully together, showcasing the chef’s expertise. The chicken is tender and melts in my mouth, getting praise and nods of approval.

I simply can’t get enough of the Garlic Chili Nan Bread (£3.80), which complements the whole ensemble. As we enjoy our food, my colleague and I share glances that only mean one thing: ‘This tastes absolutely delicious!’.

Spice Empire Review: An Experience Like No Other

As we’re lost in the cloud of quality food, the time passes us by. Busy discussing how delicious our dishes were and gasping over the fact that this is our first time at Spice Empire, the time has slipped away from us and we’re in a rush to make it to Disney’s Aladdin at Sunderland Empire.

As we say our goodbyes, we promise to come back time and time again. After all, Spice Empire proved to be a more than just a welcoming embrace this Friday evening. It’s a place where all the troubles float away, and where one bite of their delicious offerings has the power to infuse you with everything this Indian restaurant is about – friendliness, warmth and positivity.