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SquareMeal Review of Spice Merchant

Contemporary Indian (part of a small Home Counties chain) that’s a welcome newcomer to the Henley dining scene. The appealing riverside location is certainly an attraction, as is the slick interior of soft lighting, leather, wood & granite, but the main draw is the high quality, sophisticated cooking which scores for both flavour & presentation. Imaginatively flavoured homemade chutneys, for example, include a stunning dry lentil & peanut chutney that practically explodes with flavour, while starters make for a slew of hits: grilled asparagus with cumin & caramelised onion, tinda (Indian squash) stuffed with spiced haloumi & pine nuts, & a gorgeous melt-in-the-mouth spinach tikki (a kind of spinach cake stuffed with figs). Mains are equally successful, especially Bilgrani chicken korma (rolled chicken fillets in a sauce of dill, spinach & coconut), a light & highly flavoursome dish. Other recommendations include succulent jumbo tiger prawns with lime & chilli & the Hyderabadi biryani served in a pot sealed with a deliciously flaky bread. A good wine list & an uplifting array of desserts – coconut brulee with tamarind & cinnamon or ginger bread & butter pudding – bring further kudos to the talented team of ex-Oberoi chefs beavering in the kitchen.

Good to know about Spice Merchant

Average Price
££££ - £30 - £49
Cuisines
Indian

Location for Spice Merchant

25 Thameside, Henley, Berkshire, RG9 2LJ

01491 636118

Website

Opening Times of Spice Merchant

Mon-Thurs 12N-2.30pm 5.30-11pm Fri-Sun 12N-11pm (Sun -10pm)

Reviews of Spice Merchant

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4 Reviews
Food/Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

Anon

Delicious food and friendly staff
19 March 2019
Have been here twice now and both times we had excellent service with the friendly and efficient staff. Prompt service and lovely food. I also really like the table setting with a pink rose petal - very nice touch. The food is great quality with lots of fresh spice and flavours.
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Anon

Stunning food
27 July 2016
A brilliant find by accident at the Henley Regatta. Amazing food and good ambience. We will be returning.
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Ms/Mrs. Christine C

08 May 2010
Having read the other review on this page I thought I must reverse the effect as I had a great time at this restaurant. The food was beautiful – good quality, fresh ingredients, finely cooked. Everytthing was pleasantly different and you could really taste the different spices . Can't wait to go again.
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Wendy M

24 May 2009
The prospect of being able to walk to a decent riverside restaurant from home gave me high hopes that at least Henley could now boast a good modern Indian, if little else. Refreshing sassy place for a town so steeped in tradition. Spice Merchant (as Square Meal describes) in its early days was much better than the type of place that doles out dishes of luminously oily curry. Following many impressive meals bordering on exotic, we invited friends along. Having highly recommended it, we were dismayed to be presented with embarrassingly measly offerings, tough meat which either hadn’t been marinated properly or cooked slowly enough. They had retreated from big portions to strict rations, even the rice. The last straw was a takeaway, so bad that I daren’t wonder what it comprised. I sent feedback – obviously starting with praise – to which I never had a response; most recently I got an e-mail marketing their restaurant – needless to say I have chosen to unsubscribe.
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