Curry Asia, Woolwich, SE18
(Review by @TOWI Woolwich)
Curry Asia in Woolwich is a modest off-Broadway place that doesn’t give much away to passersby. It hides behind ’80s-style vertical blinds that are always at least half-closed, shielding the diner from the shivering gaze of the crowd waiting for the 472 bus.
Inside, however, it’s warm, friendly, and aromatic. An Indian television channel hums quietly away in the corner and the Curry Asia delivery lads scuttle to and fro with takeaway orders. The lighting is mellow — the sort of illumination a lady appreciates after sunset. Comfortably padded timber chairs signal that this is a place for settling in with a few mates, and being on first-name terms with the waiter well before the end of the evening.
You will be asked if you want poppadoms. Say yes, but be warned—these are almost a meal in themselves. They come with four generous accompaniments, which, if you’re only human and as greedy as me, you’ll hoover up with reckless abandon while you watch the tide go down on your first bottle of 2008 Jacob’s Creek Shiraz Cabernet.
The menu offers more than enough choice for some serious dish-envy and fear-of-missing-out angst. To kick off, my partner and I settled on Onion Bhajees (£2.75) and Tandoori King Prawns (£4.95). The latter tantalised our taste buds like a troupe of well-rehearsed showgirls. Think plump and juicy morsels of prawn coated lavishly in a fragrant and smoky tandoori paste, carrying just a hint of citrus tang and served with a crisp, palate-cooling salad. The bhajees were light and crunchy on the outside, enveloping a ball of moist and fragrant oniony goodness. If you were a larger party you could add some tikka (salmon, duck, chicken, or lamb, £2.95 to £4.50) or garlic mushrooms, and really share the love.
For mains, Curry Asia offers a good range of curries with the usual choices of protein. Our King Prawn Dupiaza (£9.95) was well-rounded, aromatic, and mildly spiced, packed with fat king prawns and thick slices of onion and fresh green pepper. The Chicken Jalfrezi (£6.50) boasted more attitude in the heat department, while pulling up short of inducing a full sweat. We spooned raita over the soft pillows of chicken and let the spices mingle with the cooling yogurt. We talked so much we let both dishes go cold, and they were still good.
Little touches complete the experience in this 1962 established restaurant. There’s the Singapore Airlines moment at the end of the meal when the plastic-wrapped freshly-nuked face flannels comes out: perfect for wiping away any post-vindaloo perspiration or, indeed, actual vindaloo. If you become even a semi-regular, the owner will likely offer you a nightcap on the house, and will see you to the door and shake your hand when you leave. It’s that kind of place.
Dinner for two with a bottle of wine was £43.40.
Curry Asia, 40 Thomas Street, Woolwich Arsenal, SE18 6HT. Tel: 020 8855 2941/0144. E-mail: email@example.com. Open: Sun–Thurs noon-2.30pm, 5.30pm–11.30pm (midnight Fri–Sat).
Curry of Asia snapshot
Food ① ② ③ ④ ⑤
Decor ① ②
Value ① ② ③ ④
Atmosphere (Thursday night) ① ② ③
Service and friendliness ① ② ③ ④ ⑤