Thursday, 18 August 2011

Natural Spice Drumnadrochit, Loch Ness, Scotland

Please note this establishment has now closed. 

So, after our big day out visiting the Isle of Skye we were far too tired to go back to the cabin and cook. We decided to try one of the local restaurants near to where we were staying.. there wasn't much choice and many places looked very unappetising and expensive.

We stumbled across the Natural Spice a new Indian restaurant (so new it hadn't managed to get an alcohol licence yet- so it was bring your own). One of the previous guests at our cabin had wrote a recommendation in the guest book about this place too.

The place was almost empty when we walked in with only two other tables occupied at around 7pm. The d├ęcor was very simple, minimalistic, and airy. Not something you would normally find in an Indian restaurant.

The staff were very friendly and advised that unfortunately they were not licensed to sell alcohol yet but we could nip in to the shop next door (Co-op) and get some if we wished.. we thanked them but said we would be sticking to soft drinks and water throughout our meals.

We ordered two popadoms each which came with good sized pots of sauce and ate them whilst we mulled over the menu.

The menus were exhaustive, so much choice made it hard to decide what to have. After all the popadoms had been eaten we had finally made our choices.

We decided to share a starter between the four of us and chose the mix pakora. The mix Pakora included both chicken and vegetable pakoras with a huge plate of salad!

The pakora wasn't the best I have ever tasted but they were bad either. There was plenty of food for the four of us... perhaps a little too much! It was pretty cheap too at £4.50

For my main I order chicken biryani which came with a separate sauce and a salad. D ordered a chicken balti, F a Aloo Sag, T a chicken tikka tandoori.

Chicken Biryani

Sauce for mine and D's Balti

Aloo Sag and T's sauce 

T's chicken tikka tandoori

This is a new restaurant, obviously run by new inexperienced staff. They were a bundle of nerves and struggled to organise things on the table correctly. Our mains came at different times and we had to ask twice for our jug of water. The staff were really hospitable and were quite clearly trying their best they just lacked experience. 

The food noted by all was really fresh. I tried a bit of everyone's... and thought it all tasted pretty similar. The portion sizes were grossly oversized and we couldn't finish any of our dishes. 

Natural Spice reminded me of my student days, the cheap 'Indian' inspired eateries that line the streets of Hyde Park in Leeds. They use cheap fresh produce but it doesn't taste anything like it would in the curry houses of the city. The bring your own booze thing too also had striking resemblances to those places too. 

Overall it filled a hole that a long day had left in our tummies, it wasn't overly expensive and the staff were  charming.