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Chennai Spicy (formally Elephant God)
NOW CLOSED feb 2013
London, E17 4SA map
: 0208 521 5458
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.
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).
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
Malabar sea food stew
are our favourite but anything you order will satisfy you!
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.
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.
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...
If you want to find out more about Elephant God - including the menu - take a look at their web site.
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...
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