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Restaurant Guide

Star Rating

* * * * * * * * * *

Chennai Spicy (formally Elephant God)

NOW CLOSED feb 2013

218 Hoe Street 

London, E17 4SA   map

Tel : 0208 521 5458
Web Site

Just wanted to add to the reviews for Chennai Spicy.We  have eaten there now several times with our  kids ( 4 and 10 ).The food is great, really tasty and extremely reasonably priced.  Plus the staff are very welcoming and friendly to kids. makes eating out as a family enjoyable- which is not always the case. 

November 2012

I understand the faces at the Elephant God are new, but I’m pleased to report the food is still delightful.  It is also noticeably lighter and less oily than the great majority of South Asian restaurants (probably the South Indian influence). The ambience is still colourful and smart, and the service attentive and helpful. We had the spicy fish stew and lamb pepper fry with sag aloo, Nan and rice – all for £15 (take away).  
Restaurants in Walthamstow do seem to have more empty chairs since the recession, but it would be a real shame if the Elephant God didn’t thrive – it certainly deserves to.

11th April 2011

We really love the Elephant God. We went at least 10 times and we were never disappointed! We took many friends there and they all enjoyed very much the experience, which was always very rewarding. The Elephant God is clean, the decoration and the lightings are very pleasant, and waiters are very kind, thoughtful and friendly. The chef sometimes comes to check that guests are pleased with the cuisine and you can have a chat with him and ask him about his receipes. The food is fresh and excellent. Everything is made from scratch, even the delicious mango lassi, so expect high quality at a very affordable price. Digestion is really easy. The menu offers a broad choice of starters and main courses (different types of meat and fish but also lots of vegetarian dishes, so perfect for all tastes).

We warmly recommend the following dishes:


- The Elephant god salad
- Vegetable samosas
- Squid pepper fry

Main courses

- Malabar sea food stew
- Baingan Bharta
- Chicken chettinad
- Karaikudi chicken korma

These are our favourite but anything you order will satisfy you!
You should also try the Dosa! Bon appetit!

28th March 2011

Saturday night and the place was completely empty – how could this be? The stained table clothes might have been a bit of a give away, but when the food arrived, all was made clear.  Papdi Chat to start was cool and refreshing, but squid pepper fry came a disturbing shade of brown with “fragments” of squid. Was this leftovers? The Malabar seafood stew seemed to consist of those same fragments of squid with a tin dubiously smelling muscles thrown in for good measure. The chicken chettinad was still that disturbing brown colour, but was really flavoursome and the star of a very disappointing show. With so many good Indian restaurants around it wasn’t hard to see why the place was so quiet.

6th December 2010

It may be unfair to compare Elephant God with it's predecessor Cumin's but it's a bit inevitable seeing as the origin of the food is very similar. The first good thing is that the menu has less choice. One of the problems with Cumin's was that the menu was quite extensive which made a bit confusing.

The clean, chic, contemporary décor hasn't changed that much and the atmosphere on the night we went was relaxed and the restaurant more than half full. Service is, as mentioned below, friendly without being overbearing but we did wait for what seemed an age for our starter to arrive. There didn't seem to be a reason for this but the waiter was very apologetic and offered us poppadoms on the house.

Unfortunately, during this haitus I managed to knock a rather attractive and tasteful glass tea-light holder off the table which, of course, broke on impact with the slate tiled floor and very closely missed showering one of our fellow diners with hot wax. This was carefully cleaned up by one of the waiters and helped, at least, to kill time. Anyway, moving on...
Starters were a delicious, crunchy, tangy, hot and sweet papdi chat and a tandoori paneer tikka which would have benefited from a little more tandoori spice and a bit longer in the tandoor. 
Main course was a fresh, delicately-spiced meen kozhambu (a spicy fish stew from south India cooked with tamarind and coconut milk), aloo gobi, a light and fluffy pilau rice and a very buttery butter naan. The dosa that was ordered along with it was one of the best we've had. 
All in all Elephant God is well worth a visit. The food mentioned above came to about £25. And my apologies for the breakage.

If you want to find out more about Elephant God - including the menu - take a look at their web site.

October 2010

In a word: outstanding. There are four things which go together to make a good restaurant: ambience, service, quality of ingredients and flair with cooking.  The Elephant God scores pretty high on all four, in my view.

We mostly prefer a take-away when we’re not cooking ourselves (so we don’t have to leave our beloved dog behind!).  I didn’t have a  phone number, so decided to call in and then wait for my order (15m).  The place has been thoroughly refurbished; the rather odd, cold lighting of the Cumin has given way to warm colours of rich orange and purple (see the website for an impression), with wooden figurines on the wall and a pleasing overall attention to detail.  Service was informally attentive – just comfortable.  The new owner “Naveen” was very ready to explain his background in the up-market hotel trade, and his pitch at “fine dining” in Walthamstow.  The couple sitting near me certainly seemed very pleased.  Of course a bit of the magic did evaporate as I trudged back down the High Street with my carefully-packaged dinner. It had been a bit more expensive than I’d expect for a take-away. Would it be worth the extra? Oh yes...

While most “Indian” restaurants are in fact Bengali, the Elephant God is indeed Indian, with chefs from both the North and the South.  The menu has a few familiar “faces” and also some more distinctive ones.  I’d chosen Kebab Selection for two, Adraki Murgh, and Lamb Pepper Fry, with the usual rice and bread accompaniments (Just over £30, including my beer while I waited).  The kebabs were very good cuts, beautifully prepared, and including an intriguing cut of filleted fish, with a dusting of green spice.  The Adraki Murgh had a delicious delicate sauce with tomato, balanced with hints of coriander and chilli.  The lamb was a dark and rich dish, with the benign and exhilarating heat which comes from really skilful blending of spices. Real quality throughout.

This place is really, really good, and my only hope is that it gets enough support early on to establish it securely as one of the borough’s best restaurants.  The menu’s on the website: www.theelephantgod.com. Warmly recommended (no connection).

Just to put this in context, I tried a Thai curry from one of the Hoe Street take-away-only bars a while back.  I’d asked what the difference was between Thai green curry and Thai red curry (apart from the obvious). She didn’t know. I suggested that someone in the kitchen might, perhaps? A few minutes later she came back with a shrug: “Doesn’t say on the tins.”

Philip Herlihy
June 2010


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