The “swanky but impersonal” London outpost of superstar chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s US chain, Spice Market remains an annoyingly underperforming melting pot of unfulfilled expectations. The moodily lit first-floor dining room “feels like Dubai” with its caged lights, black lacquered tables and a huge wall of spices, while a smart ground-floor bar dispenses fusion cocktails including a cracking ginger Margarita. Meanwhile, the menu of stylised pan-Asian sharing plates runs from spicy chicken samosas with coriander yoghurt to tempura soft-shell crab with zesty Thai basil and lime sauce – although the results can range from “fantastic”’ to “forgettable”. From our experience, offbeat desserts such as Ovaltine kulfi with caramelised banana and spiced chocolate sauce are the highlight. Generous bento boxes are handy for a quick fix, and a new sushi bar has broadened the venue’s ‘raw’ appeal – think crispy shredded crab, BBQ eel and a signature Spice Market roll.
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