Elephant Royale

by the Munching Mariner (published East End Life, 10 April 2011)

My Thirst Mate and I were both on a day off so we set off for the business lunch at Elephant Royale. At £9.80 for three courses, it demanded an evaluation.

The restaurant is built into a residential block by the Thames, facing Greenwich across the water. The weather was warm and clear, with the sun shining through the south facing windows brightening up the whole restaurant.

The décor is plush and attractive with dark woods, lots of greenery and a water-feature. There is a good view of the busy kitchen near the entrance.

We took a table by the window to enjoy the view and soak up a few spring rays.

We both ordered dry white wine which was brought to us in mini-carafes. On request, a jug of tap water was also provided.

The business lunch is available in both vegetarian and meat selections. Both menus offer a reasonable choice.

To start, my Thirst Mate ordered spring rolls and satay chicken from a selection of appetisers. They were well presented and tasted good. I chose seafood soup which included calamari and mussels. It was quite sour, but very tasty.

My Thirst Mate has a penchant for green Thai curry, so she treated herself to this along with steamed rice. I managed to secure a micro-portion from her, in exchange for some of my Drunken Duck and Pad Thai noodles.

The curry was lovely, with rather tender chicken. I especially enjoyed my own vegetables, which were cooked to perfection. The drunken sauce was very sweet and both dishes went down a treat.

We were pleased to see the dessert dishes were quite small, just enough to cap off a satisfying meal. My Thirst Mate chose coconut flan and I ordered Jasmine cake, both of which came with a small dollop of cream sprinkled with ‘hundreds and thousands’.

My Thirst Mate and I are both fans of Thai food. We were especially happy with Elephant Royale. The food was excellent, and the venue itself is attractive and well-sited.

Our bill came to £31 including service. Take aways and deliveries are also catered for.

Elephant Royale is at Locke’s Wharf, off Westferry Road on the Isle of Dogs, E14 3WA. Telephone 020 7987 7999.

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Aniseed

By the Munching Mariner (published East End Life, 12 September 2010)

My Thirst Mate was convalescing at home after a nasty bug, so my Pool Buddy agreed to join me for a curry.

Aniseed is a small Indian restaurant based in a former public house on the north west of the Isle of Dogs. The interior design has a contemporary feel, well-lit and neatly furnished. There are just a few dining tables set apart from a small bar area.

Aniseed

Formerly Rogue Trader, and before that the Blacksmiths Arms

We ordered two large Cobra beers and pondered the extensive menu. While all the typical Indian dishes are catered, we were impressed with a generous choice of unusual dishes or house specialities.

I don’t normally take the trouble to remark on poppadoms, but we were both very impressed. Very thin, crisp and served with delicious accompaniments.

I started with reshmi roll: small chunks of marinated lamb wrapped in chappati. It was rich in flavour, innovative and delicious. My Pool Buddy chose the Aniseed spicy chicken which was thin strips of chicken in a pepper sauce, almost as sweet as it was spicy.

For our main course, we shared special fried rice, a seeded naan and saag aloo (spinach and potatoes). My Pool Buddy ordered a faultless king prawn jalfrezi and I chose chicken rangani. This is cooked in honey, ginger and a rich spicy sauce.

All our food was excellent.

Aniseed

Aniseed is a "Bar & Indian cuisine"

The service was friendly and generally helpful, with our waiter eager to check we were happy with our food. Later my tongue was tormented after I crunched into a chilli pepper. I asked for a glass of water, but it didn’t arrive and the bill was also slow to come.

However, our meal was delicious and we enjoyed our time at Aniseed. There were a few other diners there and the small bar area grew quite busy as the evening progressed. This just added to the atmosphere and our overall experience.

Our bill came to £48.40 excluding service.

Aniseed is about five minutes walk from Heron Quays DLR, at 25 Westferry Road, Isle of Dogs, E14 8JH. Telephone 020 7517 9233.