Matt and Cat\'s Isle of Wight Eating Out Guide
Cat and Matt have been off the scene for a week or so; confined to barracks with, respectively, a cold and Man Flu. Without...

Cat and Matt have been off the scene for a week or so; confined to barracks with, respectively, a cold and Man Flu. Without any sense of taste and likely to be felled by fits of coughing, M and C decided that they were not in any condition to eat out whilst the symptoms still raged within their contaminated bodies. However, an email from Matt & Cat reader Pinky perked them up out of their combined stupor – a new Indian takeaway has opened in Ryde.

Murgh sat kora

If there’s anything that will help relieve the snifflings of a cold, it’s a good curry. So Matt and Cat, much cheered by the thought, dragged their weary carcasses to the top end of Ryde’s impressively long High Street. The further south they went, the dimmer were the shops’ lights. They crossed the Rubicon at the junction of West Street and Green Street and staggered into the gloomy upper reaches, finally spotting the welcoming glow of Spice Express.

Entering the takeaway, Matt and Cat found themselves in a bright and cheery waiting room. Fellow customers paused to chat to the newcomers, a TV chuntered away to itself in the corner and the staff proffered menus. Your reviewers had obviously come at a busy time – the phone rang regularly, people turned up to collect their pre-ordered meals and several people were waiting. It seemed that it hadn’t taken Spice Express long to make its presence known.

There was a lot to chose from on the menu: restaurant-style starters prominently labelled as ‘Non-vegetarian dishes’, the usual range of main courses, and a big section of vegetarian fare – including, unusually, some veggie set meals. All dishes were well described, and most came with some accompaniment such as salad or rice.

The brightly-lit kitchen is immaculate and clean, and everything is on view

Matt, lured by the promise of wild Bangladeshi lemons, had a dish he recognised from the (very similar) menu of Cowes Tandoori: murgh sat kora. Cat played safe with her tried and tested favourite chicken passanda. Two portions of pilau rice and a side dish of spinach bhajee completed the order -all of which came to £18.15. Although the sofa and free copy of the Daily Mirror looked inviting, Cat could not drag herself away from the counter, for through its vast porthole was a view into the engine-room of the venue. The Spice Express bills itself as an ‘Indian Takeaway with Open Kitchen’ – and so it proved. The brightly-lit kitchen was immaculate and clean, and everything was on view. Chefs bustled about tossing mysterious ingredients into hot pans, cartons of sunset-coloured meat waited to be processed into curries and the World’s Longest Tandoori Skewers were wielded at perfectly formed chicken breasts. A fascinating insight into the workings of a takeaway as you watch your dinner being made.

Chicken passanda

Realising that she was clogging up the counter and flagging from the strain of suppressing a cough, Cat made her way to the comfy sofa where Matt had installed himself to watch some sport. Their dinner was brought to them by a cheery chap who waved them off.

Matt and Cat’s bill
Chicken passander £6.95
Murgh sat kora £7.25
Spinach bhajee £2.60
2 x pillau rice £4.50
Poppadums – free

Arriving back at the Cat Basket the goodies were unwrapped. Atop the bundle of food was an unexpected bag of poppadums which were pleasingly grease-free – perhaps cooked in an oven rather than fried. Also, to accompany the free wafer-thin bread, a carton of yoghurt-based dip plus a small bag of sliced raw onions and cucumber. Nice touch. The curries were very well presented – the passanda had a handful of flaked almonds and what may have been coriander under its lid, whilst Matt’s curry had big chunks of tomato and cucumber and slices of pepper slowly sinking into the sauce.

However well the food is presented, the test, of course, is in the tasting. Despite their taste buds being dulled by the cold virus, both Matt and Cat were very pleased with their dishes. Matt’s certainly was unusual – the wild lemons gave it a tang. There were both big and little pieces of chicken in the meal which gave the impression of the meat having been cooked in with the sauce; it was a good, tasty meal which Matt enjoyed.

Cat’s passanda was delightfully creamy; big pieces of chicken bobbed in the thick almondy sauce. The spinach bhajee was a very generous side dish – almost as much as a portion of curry in quantity. It was a bit sloppy but added a good visual contrast to the other dishes.

So, having eaten their meals Matt and Cat were pleased to detect that the takeaway had done the trick. Curry-therapy certainly did seem to be efficacious. They patted their full tummies and blew their noses, knowing that their colds were fading into memory. Spice Express gets top marks: another gem in Ryde’s very well-endowed takeaway crown.

  • D says:

    I know that Lemony and I don’t!
    As I said though; and this is a relevant comment as I have actually eaten there, they are the best curry house that delivers in Ryde!

  • Lemony Snicket says:

    Comment from: D

    “which were all delicious bar the Murgh Sat Kora. What I was expecting was a curry with a pleasant lemony tang like you get in a good Dhansak. What I got was a great curry ruined by huge amounts of lemon peel.”

    I know nothing about this restaurant D but that ‘lemon peel’ that ruined it for you was the Sat Kora. It’s a lime like fruit and only the skin (peel) is used in cooking. That’s the way it’s meant to be, like it or not!

  • D says:

    Spice Express is second only to Cinnamon in Ryde for quality Indian fare and therefore the best Indian offering delivery. I’ve tried 4/5 of their curries now which were all delicious bar the Murgh Sat Kora. What I was expecting was a curry with a pleasant lemony tang like you get in a good Dhansak. What I got was a great curry ruined by huge amounts of lemon peel. I must stress though all the non bangladeshi-lemon adorned curries I’ve had were great. One of the acid-tests for me for any Indian restaurant is the naan bread and that doesn’t disappoint either – moist and sweet – nice. The service is great too – they open the door for you and it’s nice to be able to see them at work in the kitchen. A great establishment.

  • Diane & Val says:

    Diane says – she likes to try different dishes each time she visits a place but she has found the Naaga Chicken is so delicious she orderes it every time.
    Val says – she is usually the opposite to Diane sticking to the same old Chicken Tikka Masala but Spice Express has tempted her to try other dishes with the owner/chef giving information and even a taste of one of his delicious sauces to help her choose.
    We highly recommend it.

  • rob says:

    Really good quality take away meal, particlarly impressed with the range on the menu and the chick pea dall is fantastic, also nice touch that their home delivery is via local taxi firm, very impressed

  • Mat says:

    The menu says 105 High Street, Ryde, PO33 2SZ. 615542

  • Caroline Groves says:

    I have read your reviews about this restaurant and would like to
    experience the food myself. Please can you supply me with the
    exact address in Ryde.

    M & C reply: not sure exactly but it is up the High Street on the west side, south of St John’s Hill traffic lights.

  • Mat says:

    Since moving back from living in Portsmouth for 8 years we’ve been struggling to find a curry house that compares with our Pompey favourites. However, having just sampled a veg dansak, sag aloo and samosas from here we’re ecstatic. This is miles better than any of the restaurant and takeaway curries we’ve had on the island. The samosas we’re spicy fresh and home-made, the dansak creamy, sweet, spicy and full of authentic vegetables including okra. Big portion of very buttery sag aloo and lots of poppadoms topped it all off. It’s such a relief to find a curry house that I won’t need to stray from!

    Service was great too. Very attentive, cooked in 15 minutes and even opened the door for me. Very glad to have these guys in Ryde.

    Great website, been reading it all day, and sampled Spice Express on your recommendation. Reckon we’ll be back there for NYE!


  • Pinky says:

    I recommended the Spice Express to Matt and Cat to review,and I’m pleased they did for the following reasons:-
    Tasty curry and reasonable portions.
    Superb cleanliness.
    Polite and friendly staff.
    Reasonable prices (15% reduction if you collect it).
    Handy for parking.
    What more could you want?
    This is definitely the BEST Indian takeaway in Ryde.

  • John (Ryde) says:

    10/10 – one of the best Currys I’ve had in Ryde – especially like the vegetarian dishes.

  • karen (ryde) says:

    i think this place is number one for curry in ryde, i have a fish and chipshop but every saturday after work my treat is a curry from this shop, it tastes so fresh and the service is great – we have now about 3/4 curry places now in ryde and this one in my opinion tops the lot.

  • Andrew says:

    Just about finished a curry from this location now.
    I would like to say I had passed it a few times on my way home and it had looked inviting.

    Decided tonight was a good night for a curry, Lamb Madras, Mixed Fried Rice and Pheswan Naan. A surprise of poppadom in the bag along with onions and a dip when opened at home.

    Makes a nice change to see somewhere that allows you to see the food being cooked, means you can see how everything is prepared and the state of it all.

    Once my order had been finished it was brought out to me and the door opened. Its funny how these little curtious things make the experience me appealing. I have no doubt I will be returning there especially as its just round the corner.

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