You’ve got to love the name Jack Spice. Unfortunately not so the food. There was nothing really wrong with it, but there wasn’t much right with it. Plenty of jack, not much spice.
The attractive, cosy little restaurant was buzzing. This appears to be due to the Sunday to Thursday special where you can order paps, starter, a main, a side and rice or nan for £11.95. Everyone around us was making hay. It seems to be such the norm that the (first) waiter didn’t even bother giving us the option of anything else and was somewhat baffled when we turned down the paps (“but they come with your meal” he said, simply assuming we’d go for the special).
Jack Spice is one of those friendly places that thinks you want to meet all the waiters and owners within minutes of arriving, so one by one they all made their way to our table in quick succession, clearly not having a clue what we’d said to the previous waiter. Let’s be kind and say they were just making sure.
I wish they’d told us the Chicken Shally (normally £5.50) is not really like a Patia as it says on the menu. A well-cooked sweet and sour dish is always a delight when you get that first rush of sweetness then a kick to follow. It’s certainly not easy to balance such different tastes admittedly, but this was just a medium curry with absolutely no balance of spice. The shally bit, by the way, are fine potato crisps on top of the dish, which works remarkably well.
I can’t remember the other dishes because they all tasted like medium curry as well, although there was some sweetness in the end thanks to the Peshwari nan (£2.50). But by then we didn’t give a jack.
Jack Spice, 61 Fleet Street, Swindon, SN1 1RA. Tel: 01793 488098/613309. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Open: daily 5pm-midnight (later on Fri-Sat).